Threatened species and the OBP

To: "R. Bruce Richardson" <>,
Subject: Threatened species and the OBP
From: Andrew Thelander <>
Date: Wed, 5 Dec 2012 10:13:18 +1100
Hi folks

I'm not sure that "Australia/Australians don't care" is a worthy summary of 
Flannery's thesis. We have a looming extinction crisis. Governments in 
Australia have legislated to say that they own all wildlife. They have then 
surrounded their animate-chattels with regulation and bureaucracy administered 
on minimal budgets and sometimes even by frontline staff who are not 
knowledgeable or passionate about wildlife. The looming crisis shows that the 
mechanisms put in place to avoid extinctions aren't working. We can't avoid 
that logic.  Flannery also points to the lack of accountability for this - 
where have we gone wrong and where do we need to improve? As my old tennis 
coach used to say, if you don't change losing tactics, you lose!
In a democracy, what the people want and what governments do don't always 
correlate. For example, if the polling is correct, most Australians want an end 
to the live exporting of animals (like in NZ) and yet both sides of politics 
refuse to bow to that. I am confident that, if a referendum were held, most 
Australians would vote to save their wildlife. But the politicians won't listen 
until there is a cost to their inaction.
That is my one criticism of the birding community - I don't think we've been 
political enough. The koala conservation cause took to the streets in Brisbane 
and got some immediate results and a heap of publicity. Why don't birders take 
to the streets? Too timid? Too conservative? Too obsessed with ticks to look at 
the full story behind them?
I think we need to get behind Flannery's argument that we urgently NEED to 
change tactics and replace the current failed mechanisms with a new one that 
has built in accountability. The politicians won't initiate change unless they 
feel politically at risk. We need to add our voices to this call.

On 04/12/2012, at 10:53 PM, R. Bruce Richardson wrote:

> Simon,
> Well said and I agree. Although it is a complex issue and often needs to be 
> looked at case by case and situation by situation. But yes, in general the 
> almost elitist attitudes of conservationists have put more of the general 
> public off than have led them toward understanding the various plights of 
> various endangered species. Although sometimes certainly drastic measures are 
> needed. But as I said, I agree with you. If we don't engage the general 
> public, if they don't find a genuine caring within themselves, they will not 
> support even the basic the programs that need to be in place for our wildlife.
> If I pick up a particularly interesting shell on a beach, it goes in my 
> pocket. Walking along the beach as a child and collecting shells, looking 
> into tidal pools, marveling at whatever might have washed-up were the 
> beginnings of my interest in, and love for, as well as my willingness to 
> defend, our natural world.
> Cheers,
> R. Bruce Richardson
> On Dec 4, 2012, at 10:16 AM, Simon Mustoe wrote:
>> Debbie,
>> I disagree with Flannery and others. Australia does care. 


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