Australian Bustard Decline (Kimberley)

To: "Philip A. Veerman" <>, "Matthew Herring" <>, "birding aus" <>
Subject: Australian Bustard Decline (Kimberley)
From: "Lawrie Conole" <>
Date: Sun, 11 Mar 2001 17:02:10 +1100
Philip Veerman wrote:

>I suppose it could be pedantic but Matthew Herring wrote, in relation to
the Australian Bustard decline in the Kimberley, about an >aboriginal
>"but now only takes a few a year and encourages others to do the same."
>Surely it depends how many people he encourages to do this. I would not
like it if someone encouraged me to do this! There very >likely are more
people there than long ago. Also rifles and cars makes the hunting easier
than walking and spears.


Don't you think it's a bit rich casting aspersions on Aboriginal people
wishing to follow semi-traditional practices?  The reasons why bustards
might be in short supply are surely not due to the efforts of Aboriginal
hunting practices, even if they have gone beyond what might be called
subsistence hunting.  The real problems for bustards (and other animals) are
the endangering processes unleashed by European land (mis)management, feral
animals, climate change, etc.....  Why are people so averse to traditional
wildlife harvesting in Australia?  The main species harvested (Short-tailed
Shearwaters, kangaroos, Emus, etc.) are not declining as a consequence of
traditional harvesting, and I can't think of any other species that have
been brought to the status of 'endangered' by Aboriginal people in Australia
since 1788.  Maybe we should be applying pressure to the state and federal
conservation bureaucracies to better manage fauna and flora so that, amongst
other things, fauna populations should be able to be sustainably harvested
by indigenous Australians.


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