Hunting in NSW National Parks

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Subject: Hunting in NSW National Parks
From: "Stephen Ambrose" <>
Date: Thu, 14 Jun 2012 12:13:54 +1000
Having originally come from a research background in animal ecophysiology, I am 
also concerned about the increased physiological stress that hunting would have 
on the native wildlife in our national parks.  I realise that habitat 
degradation, predation by feral animals and current feral animal control 
programs would cause a degree of physiological stress already, but how would 
that fare with the sound of nearby gunshots, and other disturbances by hunters 
and their vehicles?


There's been quite a bit of research into the effects of climate change on 
background cortisol levels (a stress hormone) in a range of vertebrates, 
especially birds, in the northern hemisphere (mostly in the US) in recent 
years.  The results have been quite compelling - cortisol levels are raised 
significantly in migratory bird species whose migration times are out of synch 
with the peak abundance of food sources (e.g. nectar, insects) at the end of 
their migratory journey.  The lack of synchrony is due to warmer climates 
causing insects to emerge and plants to flower earlier than the peak arrival 
times of migratory birds.  The birds are stressed because their food supplies 
are in shorter supply after completing their migration.  
Physiologically-stressed animals are known to have lower reproductive success 
and are more vulnerable to disease and parasite-loading.


Therefore, it would be informative to measure background cortisol levels of a 
range animal species (or even one just one species) that is/are found in both 
national parks/nature reserves that are open to hunting and not open to hunting 
to see if there is any difference.  I realise that it would be difficult for 
all environmental variables to be controlled in such a study, but I still think 
it is worthwhile pursuing.  It would certainly help provide some scientific 
basis to the debate about the effects of hunting in our national parks. I’m 
sure the results would be equally as informative for the duck-shooting debate 
too. Perhaps someone out there has the interest and resources to conduct such a 


Stephen Ambrose

Ryde NSW



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