George Wilson is presenting a paper at the Australian Veterinary Conference in Canberra on 24th May 2012 at 0900 hr in the Convention Centre.
It asserts that current Australian policies and programs to support wildlife have not rectified the conservation status of many species which continues to get worse. Endangered species management is too dependent on limited Government funding. He suggests Australia should draw more on overseas experience that the private sector can play a major role in species and habitat conservation.
The key is to enable population increases on private lands by creating incentives for landholders to manage existing habitats, permit translocation of overabundant populations and encourage the expansion of suitable habitat. If Australian Governments encouraged such innovation wildlife populations would increase and widen their distribution.
Government agencies would still have a role in authorising transfers of animals to ensure improvements in the genetic status of populations, and enforcing animal welfare regulations and codes of practice.
Koalas for example are under threat; evidenced by their patchy distribution and apparent incapacity to recolonise suitable habitat. Involvement of the private sector in koala management and in effect 'ownership' of koalas would mirror that which already occurs through the activities of private zoos and animal parks. A wider ‘koala market’ would enable private landholders to also be involved in conservation projects and expand the distribution, health and security of Australia’s koala population.
The challenge is to enable today’s landholders to contribute to conservation through sustainable wildlife use. Veterinarians can assist achieve this outcome.
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