Australian Bustard Decline (Kimberley)

To: <>
Subject: Australian Bustard Decline (Kimberley)
From: "Lawrie Conole" <>
Date: Wed, 14 Mar 2001 22:27:08 +1100
> I'll accept that hunting with guns and cars is traditional when
> McDonalds is regarded as traditional food, when rock and roll is
> regarded as traditional music, and graffiti is regarded as traditional
> art.


> Seriously, I think there is a distinction between "traditional hunting"
> and hunting on traditional lands or hunting for traditional purposes.

Well maybe, but it's a fine semantic point.  I think it was Richard
Johnstone who said that a dead bustard is still dead, however it's killed.
He has a point.

> The species that can sustain harvesting are highly fertile and
> adaptable.  As the kiwis will tell you, possums are an invasive species
> [like carp] so they can easily sustain harvesting.  You are drawing a
> long bow if you say that because you can hunt species like possums and
> shearwaters that the current shooting of bustards is sustainable.

I haven't ever claimed that the current bustard shooting is sustainable.
I've been calling for a new approach that includes investigating whether
bustard shooting can be made sustainable if managed.

> Whether you give the nod to the hunting/harvesting of a species should
> depend on how that species is faring.

I disagree.  It may be that hunting/harvesting might provide the impetus to
set aside more resources for managing populations upwards.  It might not
either, but I'm prepared to consider it.

> The issue for we birdwatchers is how our actions are affecting
> threatened birds.  For example, twitchers who play tapes and disturb
> sensitive species [such as bristlebirds] or people who scare wildlife
> away from waterholes or nests are little better than people who go out
> and shoot birds.

Is this an oblique shot at my "sitting in the middle of the swamp" remark?
A pretty lame one if so.  I didn't frighten anything.  The birds are
habituated there, and since the water has dried up, I simply wandered in
closer to the waters edge and sat quietly.  I had Spotless Crakes and
Latham's Snipe approach to within 10-15m, and the napping Chestnut Teal
ignored me.

I've avoided the moral dimension in my postings.  Whether or not it is
"right" to shoot bustards is something I don't really have an opinion about.
Whether or not it can be done sustainably is much more interesting and
important.  To hope it will go away as an issue is naive and unrealistic.
People (blackfellas and whitefellas) shoot bustards (and run over them,
etc.), and will do so for at least the forseeable future.  What can be done
about it?  We can't stop it by policing, but we might be able to get people
involved in producing more bustards.

Cheers -- Lawrie

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.
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