FW: Simon Mustoe Fig / Night parrot

To: <>
Subject: FW: Simon Mustoe Fig / Night parrot
From: "Andrew Thelander" <>
Date: Fri, 16 Feb 2007 16:00:31 +1000
Dear Simon
I'm sure nearly all of us share many of your concerns about this fig-parrot
melee.  I just want to comment on a couple of points:

You wrote:
" It is the widely held belief that the lowland rainforest
habitat for Coxen's Fig Parrot is all but gone. Nevertheless, the domain
is huge and it is always possible that somewhere, tucked into an
isolated forest remnant, exists a few birds."

I count among those (like Ian Gynther) who believe that the Coxens is not
extinct.  I believe a more likely scenario to be that the remaining birds
are not hemmed into forest remnants but move around using scrubby creeklines
that wind through private property.  I live in the area once known as the
Kin Kin Scrub.  Most of the rainforest has gone, but there is still plenty
of food scattered about along the creeks and in patches.  That the Coxens
has proved so elusive in this area is no surprise to me at all.  The number
of competent birders out there actively trying to find the species is next
to nil.

You also wrote:
"Where the discovery / rediscovery
of thought-to-be-extinct species is concerned, there is a need to
exercise caution. Hanging hopes on the continued presence of an extinct
species lulls us into a false reality in terms of conservation, stifling
funding for recovery plans, and simultaneously detracting existing
attention and funds from more tangible issues.

Here we have an example of where a huge amount of our money - tax payers
money - is earmarked for work on a bird, for which there is absolutely
no firm evidence in the public domain. Whatever we may think, the
available evidence available is seriously compromised and largely
circumstantial. At the same moment in time, another species that is 'on
the brink' of extinction (night parrot) has been found and a reliable
specimen lodged. Why on earth isn't the money used for this?"

I agree with the thrust of your comments above.  However, looking at "the
big picture", I would question whether much government money is being spent
at all on the Coxens.  I have done lots of volunteer revegetation work aimed
at the Coxens - and this revegetation work assists a whole range of
declining species, plant and animal.  To my way of thinking, the government
should be spending more and not less on this revegetation work.
Wouldn't it be a terrible shame if the result of this fig-parrot melee and
its associated politicking was that rainforest habitat revegetation work in
SE Qld and northern NSW received less funding attention than it currently

Best wishes


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