Australian Bustard Decline (Kimberley)

To: <>, "birding aus" <>
Subject: Australian Bustard Decline (Kimberley)
From: "Lawrie Conole" <>
Date: Mon, 12 Mar 2001 22:58:41 +1100
From: Laurie & Leanne Knight <>

> 1. Hunting with guns is not traditional wildlife harvesting.

Hunting is traditional though; just not part of my tradition.  Firearms have
been part of the scene in Australia now for 200 years.  When will they
become 'traditional'?

> 2. The species of kangaroos that are harvested are not comparable to
> 3. I'm not sure that the status of wild emus is sound.  Sure farmed emus

What about shearwaters then? ... or Tasmanian Pademelons, or Brushtail
Possums, or .........?  Some native species *are* hunted and can sustain
hunting/harvesting, even in the dysfunctional post-1788 conditions, and are
managed with that fact explicit.  I don't think it helps bustards for us to
say "They're rare & it's illegal to kill them, therefore we'll exclude any
consideration of that in our management plans".

> 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.

I have little doubt that many of the existing premium wetlands would have
been drained if it hadn't been for the lobbying and actions of duck hunters.
It's mildly ironical then to see anti-shooting activists chasing shooters
out of the swamps.

> 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.

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

The Northern Territory University has a CRC which is looking at
management/harvesting of a wide range of flora & fauna, and Aboriginal
management of some of these resources.  It seems a valuable contribution to
the conservation of vulnerable biota, as well as an enlightened initiative.
Conservatism in conservation will probably not serve some of the
disappearing fauna well - innovation and lateral thought might.

My point was not that anyone should feel free to hang a shotgun out the car
window as soon as bustards come into view.  Rather that any serious
conservation program in an area where bustards are still traditionally
hunted (hardware notwithstanding, bustard hunting is traditional) should
take hunting into consideration.  There should be no-go areas, of course.
Maybe a management plan that accepted sustainable harvesting as a given
would stand a chance of gaining community acceptance and cooperation.

L A W R I E   C O N O L E
2/37 Myrnong Crescent, Ascot Vale, Victoria 3032 AUSTRALIA.
Phone AH (03) 9370 3928; BH (03) 9510 5750; Mobile (0419) 588 993.
E-mail: <>

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