Bristlebird politics

To: Birding Aus <>
Subject: Bristlebird politics
From: L&L Knight <>
Date: Sat, 23 Jun 2007 11:40:00 +1000
I've just come across this item - published a week ago. < It's a bit old, but I don't recall this issue being discussed on B-Aus>

Regards, Laurie.,23739,21912686-3102,00.html

Bristlebirds face euthanasia
By Phil Hammond

June 16, 2007 12:00am

THE organisation charged with protecting one of the state's most endangered birds is believed to have considered killing off two-thirds of them.

The Environmental Protection Agency has reportedly discussed euthanasing the 12 eastern bristlebirds carefully bred in captivity on the Gold Coast.

There are believed to be only six pairs in the wild. National park rangers in NSW and EPA sources told The Courier-Mail that the EPA had ``gone cold'' on its threatened species program and now believed there was no point trying to save the shy bird, which lives in grass tussocks on the Queensland-NSW border.

This was because of the small numbers remaining and concerns that the captive birds were too inbred to survive in the wild.

Queensland Environment Minister Lindy Nelson-Carr denied the EPA had turned its back on the bristlebird and would ``continue to invest in its recovery'', but said an EPA recovery plan for the state's bristlebirds had ``not yet been adopted by the Commonwealth''.

Queensland has received $45,100 from the Federal Government to save eastern bristlebirds from extinction and volunteers and farmers have spent tens of thousands of dollars more and much time trying to identify wild specimens and preserve their habitat.

Almost $440,000 has been spent under the Endangered Species Program and the Natural Heritage Trust since 1998 to save the species.

Leading bird expert John Young, who was asked to find baby bristlebirds for captive breeding, estimated there were possibly six pairs left in the wild in Queensland and 15 or more south of the border.

``Queensland is umming and ahhing about future funding of the bristlebird program and I have problems with that,'' Mr Young said.

``I'm told that within the EPA there's a view that with the population so low, why bother trying to save it.

``We have some of the best people in the country working on bristlebirds and a lot of the public will be very angry if the EPA does the wrong thing.''

Federal Environment Department threatened species officer Damon Oliver said he wanted an explanation from the EPA.

``These birds were sourced from NSW as chicks with the understanding that breeding them up in a Queensland facility, then releasing them,'' Mr Oliver said.

``A lot of effort has been put in on both sides of the border in terms of habitat management.''


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