Australian Bustard Decline (Kimberley)

To: birding aus <>
Subject: Australian Bustard Decline (Kimberley)
From: Laurie & Leanne Knight <>
Date: Mon, 12 Mar 2001 18:56:52 +1000
Lawrie Conole wrote:
.  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.

1. Hunting with guns is not traditional wildlife harvesting.

2. The species of kangaroos that are harvested are not comparable to
The alterations we whitefellas have made to the bush have been to the
advantage of kangaroos - we have increased the amount of pasture and
provided numerous watering points [these are also very handy for goats
and pigs etc].

3. I'm not sure that the status of wild emus is sound.  Sure farmed emus
do OK, but it may be a different status for their wild relatives.

4. The bottom line is that there are a number of factors that hammer
native species.  Once a species approaches the edge - eg dugongs,
turtles, bustards - every little pressure adds up, unless there is a
conscious effort at mitigation.  A bit of harvesting might not be a
problem if the people doing the harvesting put back more than they take
- ie they ensure that more turtles / bustards make it to breeding age -
by whatever means [eg controlling ferals, hand rearing - whatever].

It may be a sensitive topic, but there are places where by purchasing
and protecting the wetlands that waterfowl need to live an breed, duck
hunters could contribute to an increase in duck numbers.

Whether or not duck hunters [not an homogenous group I suspect] can make
better wildlife managers than indigenous people is undoubtedly a for
endless argument.

The bottom line for anyone who harvests wildlife - roos, fowl, fish - is
whether they put in more than they take.  People who take more than they
put in are probably more of a problem than a solution.

So far from what I've seen, we are all part of the problem.  Whether we
are part of the solution is not determined by whether we are whitefellas
or blackfellas, but by what we do.

Whether that is creating/protecting habitat or conducting scientific
research, we can be part of the solution.

Regards, Laurie.
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