Some years ago my Aboriginal relatives in western Arnhem Land reserved their
best hunting lagoon for birdwatchers. The elders forbade anyone to shoot
there. Unfortunately they received little encouragement.
For example a Scandinavian bird tour operator offered to donate $2000
towards training them as guides. But I couldn't find an organisation,
including Birds Australia, who thought it worth their while to handle
"such a small amount of money" for us.
Denise Lawungkurr Goodfellow B.A. Grad.Dip.Arts
1/7 Songlark Street, Bakewell NT 0832, AUSTRALIA
Ph. 61 08 89 328306
Mobile: 04 386 50 835
Birdwatching and Indigenous tourism consultant
PhD Candidate (Southern Cross University, NSW)
Interpreter/transcriber, Lonely Planet Guide to Aboriginal Australia
Vice-chair, Wildlife Tourism Australia
For copies of Birds of Australia¹s Top End or Quiet Snake Dreaming, visit
"The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him
to hold in higher regard those who think alike
than those who think differently."
on 5/8/11 5:39 PM, Bob and Trish at wrote:
> Another example where ex-hunters have been hired for conservation work is at
> REGUA in Brasil.
> Around 94% of the Mata Atlantica forest in Brasil (a wonderful bio-diverse
> area) has been cleared and REGUA is helping to protect what is left. I have
> visited REGUA several times and am very impressed with what they are doing.
> Apart from buying up land, undertaking conservation work, reforestation,
> research and education they have recruited ex-local hunters as
> wardens/rangers specifically to successfully prevent illegal hunting. The
> ex-hunters also act as bird guides and one of them, Adielei, is fantastic at
> imitating bird calls - you definitely don't need an mp3 player containing
> the local bird calls when you are with him.
> You can read more at www.regua.co.uk or www.regua.org.br if your Portuguese
> is OK. If anyone is interested I can send them the latest REGUA newsletter,
> in English, which I recently received.
> Bob Sothman, Adelaide
> -----Original Message-----
> On Behalf Of Adrian Boyle
> Sent: Friday, 5 August 2011 12:36 PM
> To: Peter Shute
> Cc: Heather Gibbs;
> Subject: [Birding-Aus] Re question of hunters in China
> Hi Peter
> Yes you were correct in your interpretation. Hunters that once caught birds
> to sell in the markets now conduct research on a local reserve.
> In the late 80,s early 90's there was little research conducted in parts of
> Asia in regards to banding of Shorebirds. Hence the starting of leg flagging
> in the 90's meaning that researchers like myself could go into areas and
> look for these colour flags and get an insight into what populations use
> particular areas at certain times of the year, identify important areas and
> also obtain turn over rates for the birds.
> In the 90's Chongming Dao (Island) off Shanghai was thought to be a very
> important area for migratory birds as thats where we were getting lots of
> band recoveries from. These were from birds at the markets that had been
> captured by the hunters on the mudflats.
> Numbers of hunters and birds caught varied from year to year but during
> March and April in 1991 it was estimated that between 23,800 and 37,900
> birds were caught and sold. The 2 common species were Great Knot and
> Bar-tailed Godwits.
> Once the reserve was set up due to researchers providing pressure on the
> government and statistics of how important this area is for migratory birds
> the catching was banned.
> Thanks to counts, and being able to identify individuals in the area we
> learnt that Chongming is a very important area for birds in bad weather eg
> when there is a head wind or thick fog.
> If the weather is clear or birds are getting a tail wind then they keep
> flying further north to their main feeding areas.
> Birds would land and stay for only a few days until the weather had cleared
> and then move onto better feeding grounds such as Bohai Bay and Yalu Jiang
> near the North Korean Border.
> To obtain this data ex hunters were employed by the reserve to use
> traditional methods for catching the birds. The birds were then handed over
> to the researchers.
> I was working at the reserve in 2006 and we were keen to get weight data on
> the arrivals of the shorebirds. We employed 2 ex hunters and back then the
> hunters were actually paid by the weight of the birds. This was inline with
> what they would have been paid a few years before at the markets.
> After the hunting season (March and April) the hunters would go back to the
> farms and mainly grow rice and water melons.
> Now days the hunters are employed full time by the reserve and are given a
> wage. Their time is also spent fixing board walks, erecting signs for the
> thousands of tourists that now visit (It is very popular for weddings), weed
> eradication, and enforcing the law.
> In 2006 a hunter was caught with 20 dead Great Knot . I asked what would
> happen to him and they told me that because he had taken more than 12 birds
> that he would be given 6 months in jail.
> I said six months!!!!!!!!!!!!! They replied YOU THINK NOT HARSH
> ENOUGH!!!!!!!!!!! I then said no no that should be fine.
> So Peter I hope that does answer you question.
> It really is a great example of what conservation in some areas can achieve
> and I like Heather am reminded of this when I see the Black and White flags
> on Shorebirds and think if bands were not put on in the first place and
> researchers had not put in the effort to study the hunting pressure leading
> to a reserve being created we could easily now be seeing nearly 38,000
> Shorebirds vanishing into a pot.
> Cheers Adrian Boyle
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