I think I agree with your viewpoint here, mostly.
I would add the small caveat that perhaps a small investigation into the
possible fraud ought to be launched if the preliminary facts show sufficient
law enforcement reason to proceed further. That strikes a balance between being
cautious on invasives, but also being sure that scarce environmental dollars
actually are shown to be effective where possible.
If the known facts don’t merit further investigation, then there is no reason
to proceed further—but let law enforcement make that decision.
> On 11 Dec 2015, at 11:25 am, Andrew Hobbs <> wrote:
> If someone fabricated evidence then sure perhaps they should be prosecuted.
> But I strongly disagree with the idea that the effort as wasted. Reading the
> reports in the articles at the links it sounds more like polititions jumping
> on the bandwagon and using hindsight since this review was conducted on the
> evidence gained over the previous 10 years or more.
> For example 'Another review member, veterinary pathologist David Oberndorf,
> says the program failed the first test of proof. "People need to know that
> this has been independently, repeatedly demonstrated that you have got
> evidence that shows that the fox is in the landscape," he said.'
> He is implying that everyone has to wait around until the fox has become
> sufficiently common that they have independent, repeated proof that foxes are
> present. By that criteria if there really was a problem it could cost 10 or
> 100 times more or even become impossible to eradicate.
> Another is 'Fox ecologist Clive Marks, who led the review team, disputes much
> of the evidence used to justify millions of dollars being poured into the
> In fact he might dispute the evidence but it is still the evidence collected
> in those years. Could he have been sure that foxes weren't present 14 years
> ago without that evidence.
> Another report had a quote "But hunter and gamekeeper Ian Rist says if foxes
> were widespread in the state, he and other hunters would have seem them."
> What a stupid irrelevant comment. No one ever claimed that foxes were
> widespread. All it would have taken would have been one female and one male.
> And perhaps we do know now there are no foxes in Tasmania, but that is after
> 10 years of intense searching.
> So what should they have done. Wait around until some hunter or farmer had
> shot a fox and they had absolutely proven to be present and breeding like
> Australia has so many instances of the consequences of letting a handful of
> an exotic species loose that I would have thought that we should be cheering
> the politicians who had the understanding and foresight to allow such a
> campaign to go ahead. We should also be thoroughly criticizing the reporters
> who are slanting their news stories as if it was a waste of money, when what
> they are relying on are the results of 10 years of work they are criticizing.
> What fantastic hindsight.
> I would like to see how those same people would react if someone came back
> with a false positive for foot and mouth disease say, and the current plan
> for its control was put into place before they could absolutely prove that it
> wasn't foot and mouth.
> And keep in mind the reaction of the various Agriculture boards to reports of
> possible exotic species, even though most of those turn out to be negative.
> They know that it is better to be safe than sorry.
> On 10/12/2015 6:46 PM, Ian May wrote:
>> <>A recent review into the Tasmanian Fox eradication program has found no
>> evidence of foxes in Tasmania. There are calls for a thorough Police
>> investigation into this whole sorry saga.
>> See also
>> This disgraceful episode has irreparably damaged the credibility of the
>> environmental movement in Tasmania. There are many questions that need
>> answers before this one is put to bed. We should all feel cheated that more
>> than 45 million dollars has been wasted, probably at the expense of genuine
>> needs such as conservation and protection of Orange-bellied Parrot etc.
>> It is interesting to note that birding-aus probably got the first scoop on
>> this back in October 2002. At that time, it was interesting to observe that
>> Mr. Camby, the author of the report
>> was howled down by some birding aus subscribers for suggesting that there
>> could be fraud at the heart of the Tasmanian Fox eradication program.
>> This saga places a cloud of shame over the entire Tasmanian environmental
>> movement. It is very sad to see.
>> Ian May
>> St Helens, Tasmania
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> Andrew Hobbs
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