, examine the opportunity for greater science support for traditional Aboriginal practice. They are summarised in an Opinion Editorial on 'Sciencealert
' and in story by Australian Geographic
In Australia, wildlife managers could be more engaged in supporting Indigenous Australians in activities such as surveying populations and estimating sustainable yields, improving harvesting techniques that reduce waste and are humane, identifying refuge areas, maximising habitat diversity, controlling weeds and feral animals, and exchanging information across regions. The opportunity and need is large. The Indigenous estate is already more than 20% of the Australian land mass and expanding. Indigenous ownership and responsibility for coastal and marine wildlife resources includes vast areas of intact ecosystems.
Western science can support Indigenous passion for caring for the land. It can draw on traditional Indigenous practice and, through reciprocal learning; help reinstate Indigenous law and culture in communities. In Australia and throughout the world, hunting and gathering remain important elements of Indigenous culture and connection with the land and sea. Indigenous people say they want increased bush tucker and game from their country to supplement their diet. They want security for totemic species so as to maintain culture. Doing so will deliver both important environmental and social outcomes.
Despite the importance placed on it by Indigenous people, land and wildlife management is a minor component of current Australian Government resource allocation for addressing Indigenous need. Readdressing this situation is urgent because Indigenous wildlife use and hunting in Australia, as it currently practiced, is often unsustainable. Our investigations which have been published in the CSIRO journal –
Australian Wildlife Services successfully completed aerial surveys of the Angas Downs Indigenous Protected Area and surrounding lands in June 2010 and August 2011. The surveys were flown by Dr George Wilson using standard procedures. IPA Rangers and Jennifer Smits (AWS) counted animals seen at low level and 200m on either side of the aircraft. Species targeted /observed included camels, kangaroos, horses and cattle.
These studies are vital to understanding populations of kangaroos and pressures from camel and horse populations on the property and hence native wildlife. In 2010, we found there are about 3000 red kangaroos on the station, plus 500 camels and 150 horses. Using mapping program ArcGis, observations were interpolated to form maps showing spatial variability (animals/km2).
Angas Downs Aerial Survey Report (811 downloads)