Australian Bustard Conservation

Subject: Australian Bustard Conservation
From: "Matthew Herring" <>
Date: Mon, 12 Mar 2001 12:22:59 +1100

Philip has summarized the debate well. Making people aware that the Bustard is in big trouble right across the country will go a long way. We (birdwatchers) can play a huge role in this.   This fellow I?ve been talking to is doing a great thing. He is encouraging people to take a fraction of what they currently take because he has seen the dramatic decline and is concerned for the species. On top of guns and cars, he explained the increased use of freezers was enabling people to take more and stock-up. There are less, so take less; fairly logical. It is not just the size of the Bustard that is attractive, they are beautiful to eat as well. Both indigenous and non-indigenous Australians could be taking too many, at the current reduced population size. This is why we need to quantify how many are taken and how many there are, as well as other info like recruitment. This is also why sightings of Australian Bustard are so special and should be recorded and passed on to the various atlases available. Serendip Sanctuary (Lara, Geelong) has had major troubles with breeding their bustards in recent years and after speaking to Mike Helman at the Sanctuary a few weeks ago, I?m pretty sure they no longer have any females so the program is over after about 25 years (six brolga chicks last season though!) Farming bustards for commercial sale, not release back into the wild, could be a great move. Obviously better than grazing sheep or cattle but may actually increase the number of people taking them from the wild because they are more aware of the meat as a good feed. Who knows.

 Long live the Australian Bustard

Matthew Herring, Albury - NSW

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