IT IS imperative we feed wild animals

To: Penn Gwynne <>
Subject: IT IS imperative we feed wild animals
From: Hugo Phillipps <>
Date: Tue, 24 Jun 2003 15:48:06 +1000
Dear John -

At 06:14 PM 23/06/03 -0700, you wrote:
>Thee wholesale slaughter/change of the native lands is the number one
factor why ALL species worldwide are in decline, except one, humans.

Not true.  Many species are thriving because of humans.  Of native birds,
Australian Magpies, Silver Gulls and Rainbow Lorikeets ate just three
obvious examples - and there are many more.  If you want evidence for this,
see the Atlas of Australian Birds data. There are also many native species
in decline because of human activities, but I suspect that most of the
species you feed and care for fall into the first category.

I have no strong objection to you feeding and caring for birds and other
animals, assuming you are doing it responsibly and monitoring the effects.
I do not doubt that it is fulfilling for you and educational for others.  I
know that people, especially children, can be inspired by positive close
encounters with wild birds.

However, your statement above (and others previously) suggest that you
believe that feeding wild birds is important for conservation (rather than
just for the welfare of individuals).  I fail to see that feeding common
birds has any direct conservation benefit at all, whatever other benefits
it may have.  Are any of the species of birds you feed regularly listed as
threatened on state, national and international lists?  If they are, then
is supplementary feeding recommended as part of their recovery or
management plans?

I commend to you The Action Plan for Australian Birds 2000, by Garnett &
Crowley, published by Environment Australia in 2000, which makes informed
recommendations about what we should do to conserve the diversity of our
birdlife and their habitats.  To me these recommendations are far more
'imperative' than artificially inflating the numbers of already common and
increasing species.


Hugo Phillipps
Communications Coordinator
Birds Australia
415 Riversdale Road
Hawthorn East 3123, Australia
Tel: (03) 9882 2622, fax: (03) 9882 2677
Email: <>
Website: <>

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