Misusing the word extinction is not always wise

Subject: Misusing the word extinction is not always wise
From: Ronda Green <>
Date: Mon, 26 Aug 2013 07:38:52 +1000
I agree we must be careful not to over-state, for reasons given by David.  I 
was trying to explain this to a lady who had developed an otherwise excellent 
presentation for schools and other groups  about koalas, but was saying they 
would be extinct in five years. Well, that was 4 years ago, I doubt they will 
be extinct by next year, and everything else she says in the video loses 
credibility accordingly. 
I feel there has also been too much in-your-face exultation about halting 
developments with the discovery of endangered species.  I'm all for halting 
developments that compromise biodiversity and threaten already-threatened 
species  (and have been personally responsible for instance  for diverting a 
council's plans when I found a green-thighed tree frog on the property in 
question) but I have been asked (a) by people who want to stop a development 
for reasons unrelated to wildlife to try and find something endangered so they 
can do so, and (b) by a developer who wanted me to do a preliminary survey and 
find such creatures so he could get rid of them before he applied for a permit 
(which of course I refused, but wonder how often this happens). 
Amongst ourselves, the concern for endangered species is very real and it is a 
complex issue that needs to be studied and acted on  properly -  in other 
quarters the concept of endangered species is often seen as a sort of a con 
trick designed to stop progress for political or philosophical reasons (and I 
think the first kind of request mentioned above adds fuel to this, especially 
when they make a lot of noise about it on Facebook etc.).  
There are many situations where projects really should be modified or 
cancelled, or management plans altered, but I'm afraid the truly important 
cases get lost in the noise, and an unfortunate impression is often given that 
detracts from solid, well-founded advice offered to developers and government.

Ronda Green, BSc(Hons) PhD
Araucaria Ecotours
(advanced eco-certification on all tours)

ph 61 7 5544 1283
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Chair Scenic Rim Wildlife: 
Adjunct research fellow, Environmental Futures Centre,  Griffith University


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