Threatened species and the OBP

To: <>
Subject: Threatened species and the OBP
From: "Stephen Ambrose" <>
Date: Fri, 7 Dec 2012 11:14:57 +1100
I'm sure that there will be an environment bureaucrat from an Australian
government department will answer Peter's question.  But Denise's comments
about picking up dead snakes reminds me of another anecdote that I read a
few weeks ago.

The University of Western Australia celebrates its 100th anniversary in
February 2013.  As part of the celebrations leading up to that event,
anecdotes from past and present staff and students of the university have
been published on UWA's centenary website.  

One anecdote, written by one of the late Professor Bert Main's Ph.D
graduates from the 1950s, relates to Bert's dead snake experience. Bert Main
was a Professor of Zoology at UWA and was legendary for his contributions to
Australian zoology and conservation, particularly in the 1950s, 60s & 70s.
I was fortunate to be a zoology student at UWA towards the end of Bert's
career in the late 1970s to the mid 1980s.  The anecdote relates to a
zoology class excursion to Rottnest Island, off the coast of Perth.  Bert
and his class of students were walking along a track when they came across a
dead Western Dugite (a venomous snake).  Always keen to seize an
opportunity, Bert picked up the dead snake to show the students the
locations and structure of the snake's fangs.  Yes, the snake was dead, but
when Bert prised opened the jaws of the snake with his hands, the jaws
snapped shut, purely as a reflex action, the fangs sinking into one of
Bert's fingers.  According to the anecdote, the venom made Bert seriously
ill and he had to be hospitalised.    

So, I suspect that Peter is right about government policies that restrict
the collection of dead animals and animal materials. But there are also
occasions when handling dead animals might be dangerous. The dugite that
Bert Main handled had probably not been dead long if the jaw muscles and
ligaments were still reflexive and the venom was still potent. But a lot of
road kills that members of the public might find are usually quite fresh


Dr Stephen Ambrose
Ambrose Ecological Services Pty Ltd 

-----Original Message-----
 On Behalf Of Peter Shute
Sent: Thursday, 6 December 2012 1:13 PM
To: 'Denise Goodfellow'; 'Simon Mustoe'; ;
'Birding Aus'
Subject: Threatened species and the OBP

I assume that this policy that you can't even pick up a shell or feather is
intended to simplify prosecution of those who kill animals for their
feathers, skins, teeth, etc. Can anyone please verify that?

I've often heard stories (mainly here) of people being threatened like this,
but are the threats ever carried out when it's obvious there's not really
anything untoward going on?

Peter Shute

> -----Original Message-----
> From:  
>  On Behalf Of 
> Denise Goodfellow
> Sent: Thursday, 6 December 2012 12:06 PM
> To: Simon Mustoe; ; Birding Aus
> Subject: Re: [Birding-Aus] Threatened species and the OBP

> The next day a senior ranger, whose son happened to be in 
> Rowan's class, rang.  He had two messages for me: a)  It was 
> the Conservation Commission's job to teach kids about snakes, 
> and b) I had broken the law in handling the dead animals, and 
> I could be prosecuted.

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