Pacific Highway vs Eastern Coastal Emu

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Subject: Pacific Highway vs Eastern Coastal Emu
From: "Greg" <>
Date: Mon, 15 May 2006 22:16:41 +1000
Hi Andrew,

As a north coast local I have a little knowledge of the Coastal Emu that may make the situation clearer. As Peter stated the Emu on the NSW north coast is listed as an endangered population under the provisions of the Threatened Species Conservation Act, hence people refer to it as threatened. The species now occurs between Red Rock, near Coffs Harbour in the south and Evans Head in the north and west to the Pacific Highway between Tyndale and Maclean. There is a small, isolated population to the north-west at Bungawalbin, south of Casino. The largest number of individuals (estimated to be about 100 birds) occurs in Yuraygir National Park and areas immediately to the west of the Park. Seasonal movements are made from the Park to these western areas. Three of the four proposed highway routes bisect the local distribution of this species.

Whether we should worry about isolated populations of a widespread species is an interesting issue. If we don't protect birds throughout their range and allow isolated populations to become extinct aren't we assisting the species to decline? What if the isolated population was indeed distinct enough to be considered a good sub-species or even a species? The coastal Emu is a smaller darker form of the Emu. Tissue samples are being collected by Walter Boles at the Australian Museum with the eventual aim of having the genetics investigated.The Coastal Emu may just be a smaller,darker form of the more widespread Emu, but maybe it is a separate taxa. The Emu declined between the old and new Birds Australia Atlasses. Is it really secure?

By protecting the Emu's habitat a whole range of plants and animals will also be protected, some of which may be more threatened than the Coastal Emu.

So I don't think that the situation with respect to the Coastal Emu has been overexaggerated.


Greg Clancy

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