Environmental experts have backflipped on whether grazing is detrimental for the endangered Plains Wanderer bird.November 23, 2012 4:11am
Local landholders who say their advice on the endangered Plains Wanderer bird was ignored have been vindicated.
Environmental experts have done a major backflip, after a decade of declaring that grazing was bad for the endangered bird.
In Victoria, sheep are now being released into National Parks to try and eat down overgrown Plains Wanderer habitat, which has been abandoned by the tiny bird.
North Conargo Land Management Group chair Colin Bull said farmers were ‘‘treated like fools’’ when ecologists began implementing conservation efforts.
‘‘Landholders knew nothing, according to the scientific ‘experts’, however now we have proven we are not as silly as they believed,’’ he said.
‘‘In the future, government departments should make sure they respect landholder knowledge and local experience.’’
A large amount of local land has been identified as Plains Wanderer habitat, particularly in north Conargo, and different conservation efforts have affected local properties since the late 1990s.
Among them was the purchase and de-stocking of Carrathool property ‘Oolambeyan’, and restrictions on development and locust spraying.
Conargo Mayor Norm Brennan believes NSW paid about $4 million to purchase ‘Oolambeyan’, which was de-stocked and converted to a National Park.
Mr Bull said National Parks and Wildlife Service is now having ‘‘great difficulty’’ finding Plains Wanderers in Oolambeyan, due to its management policy.
‘‘Although some grazing is now allowed it is too little too late,’’ he said.
Experts say the Plains Wanderers have left the areas where grazing has been stopped, because the vegetation is overgrown and does not suit them.
It is the very thing that local landholders said would happen years ago.
In fact, the ecologist they told was Dr David Baker-Gabb.
He is now Victoria’s ‘leading expert on Plains Wanderers’ - and the very man who has admitted he cannot find Plains-Wanderers on de-stocked Victorian land.
Mr Bull said at the time, Dr Baker-Gabb ‘‘wouldn’t listen to landholders’’.
‘‘The situation was handled very, very badly. NPWS used the big stick approach rather than working with landholders,’’ he said.
‘‘They put everyone off-side - to the detriment of the Plains Wanderer.
‘‘Landholders are more than happy to look out for the Plains Wanderer and enhance their survival and numbers.
‘‘It is a sad situation when the scientific community believe they have all the answers for species such as the Plains Wanderer.’’
However, Mr Bull said recent consultations with the NPWS were encouraging and suggested a common sense outcome can be achieved.
Farmers have also been restricted on where and how they spray locusts due to the Plains Wanderer, according to Cr Brennan.
He said during locust plagues, crops were lost because of the restrictions.
Some Plains Wanderers were sent to the University of Wollongong, to be bred and tested to see how locust sprays affect them.
However, Cr Brennan said six years later, their questions are still unanswered.
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Beautiful weather greeted Tungamah residents for the 18th running of the Tungamah Lions Ten Thousand on Sunday.
When Keith and Marion Grumley and their growing family moved to Tatura on January 18, 1968, little did they know that it would be the start of a long and lasting connection to the town.
Mary and Molly Byrne are urging others to support National Bandanna Day today.
Rochester Rotary Club has celebrated its 50th birthday in style.
Sorting future of Campaspe pools
A theatre production with a difference is coming to Seymour.
Local athletes will go head-to-head with some of the best competitors from around the world in swimming and athletics in December.
District residents and visitors will be able to enjoy some of the region’s most beautiful private gardens on Sunday.
The 116th annual Cobram Show went off with a bang at the weekend, drawing in crowds from far and wide for two days of fun.
The annual Deniliquin Garage and Town Sale event is being held tomorrow, and more than 16 homes are registered for the bargain day.
Fifty new full-time jobs will be created at Tatura with a multimillion-dollar expansion of the abattoirs expected to be announced today.
Remembering Australian political giant Gough Whitlam who once called on Benalla police to stop then Treasurer Frank Crean on his journey up the Hume to phone the PM.
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