Improving kangaroo management

By , May 4, 2018 12:42 pm

Lecture at University of Canberra on improving kangaroo management  Friday 11 May, 11:30am – 12:30pm
1A21 (UC Theatre, next to Mizzuna Cafe)
More details and a synopsis of talk at link

Carbon Summit 2018

By , May 3, 2018 11:28 am

The fifth Australasian Emissions Reduction Summit 2018 was attended by George Wilson in Melbourne on the 1-2 May. The Summit brought together 550 delegates, MPs, corporate sponsors 

and project developers active in the carbon market. While there was a particular focus on energy efficiency and alternative energy generation, carbon farming activities were recognised as playing a critical role in contributing to Australia’s efforts to achieve 2030 emissions reduction target of 26-28% on 2005 levels.
After the first five Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) auctions, most contracts are land sector projects delivering 153 million tonnes (MtCO2e) of abatement (out of 189 MtCO2e) or $1.8 billion.
The Summit heard that demand from international voluntary and compliance carbon and environmental markets is expected to grow and so provide new opportunities for Australian land managers and project developers to supply carbon credits.

Improving production from the Maranoa Kangaroo Harvesters and Growers Cooperative

By , April 25, 2018 12:23 pm

AWS prepared papers for a workshop on 15th March 2018 convened by the Maranoa Kangaroo Harvesters and Growers Cooperative (MKHGC) at Mitchell in Qld. The Cooperative, which was established in 2007 with financial support from the National Landcare Program and the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation, in 2017 MKHGC received further support from the Australian Government Farming Together Program. 

The Cooperative exists because kangaroos, and some other native wildlife, have long competed with agricultural production and grazing systems. Through regional cooperation across property boundaries, landholders have an opportunity to manage kangaroos more efficiently. The Cooperative seeks to convert a liability into an asset, while contributing to more sustainable land management, conservation of biodiversity and earning carbon and stewardship credits. It aims to increase the capacity for landholders, including Indigenous landholders, to benefit from kangaroo management on their lands. Membership is comprised of landholders, kangaroo harvesters, chiller box operators, scientists. 

The Co-operative sells kangaroos to processors, gaining an additional margin over standard price/kg for the additional services it provides. A stronger Cooperative would be a model for the kangaroo industry more generally.
Increasing value of kangaroo products.

In 2017 an average kangaroo is worth $13. If it were as valuable as a feral goat or even a wild deer, landholders would have an incentive to co-produce kangaroos alongside conventional livestock and make greater use of commercial harvesting. Doing so would also help address the falling sustainability of many rangeland production systems and strengthen economic activity in rural towns.

Raising the market value of kangaroo products means increasing the demand, emphasising their positive attributes, including high-protein, low-fat, low greenhouse gas emission efficiently produced meat, high boning-out percentage and lower water use compared to cattle and sheep.

The papers produced by AWS covered business options, feasibility studies into innovations and  
sustainable pastoral production across the region. 

 

The Failure of Kangaroo Harvesting Fails Animal Welfare

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By , January 17, 2018 11:11 am

Kangaroo harvesting is not a commercial option for landholders,
resulting in greater animal rights issues for the kangaroos that are culled on private land

In an article in Australasian Science, George Wilson argues that because animal rights campaigners are achieving their aim of reducing the demand for kangaroo products, there is an increase in animal suffering. Populations rise higher than the environment can support, and then crash. 

In recent years a lack of demand has meant that less than half the annual kangaroo quota for commercial use has been taken. Therefore, many graziers have sought other means to lower numbers of valueless kangaroos so that more income earning stock can be carried. Unregulated inhumane control mechanisms ensue.

National Geographic – drafting story on kangaroos

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By , September 16, 2017 4:11 pm

A National Geographic journalist from Washington who is writing a story on kangaroos was flown by George Wilson on a trip through outback New South Wales and Queensland. They visited properties near White Cliffs, Quilpie and Coonamble and a professional kangaroo shooter. They heard of concerns of landholders who are having difficulties adjusting their total grazing pressure to deteriorating seasonal conditions and pasture shortages. Reduced demand for kangaroo products from the commercial harvesting industry is leading to alternative kangaroo control measures which have very low animal welfare attributes.

Food unwrapped – UK Channel 4 – kangaroo meat

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By , July 25, 2017 12:59 pm

On UK Channel 4 program ‘Food Unwrapped’, George Wilson presented perspectives on kangaroo meat and its attributes, plus the complexities of kangaroo management. The program featured kangaroos on the Federal Golf Course, interviews with local graziers and a scene at Bondi Beach of a barbeque featuring kangaroo meat.  Channel 4 is a publicly-owned and commercially-funded UK Public Service Broadcaster, with a statutory remit to deliver high-quality, innovative, alternative content that challenges the status quo. The video is at the link.

European Wildlife Bank

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By , July 20, 2017 5:16 pm

The European Wildlife Bank (EWB) is a commercial and legal framework that could be a model for enabling finance and investment in conservation of threatened species.
George Wilson met EWB in Amsterdam recently and learnt more about EWB. It is supported by the European Commission and other partners, especially the Dutch Postcode Lottery. It facilitates reintroduction of original native herbivores to rewilding areas. It keeps control over its reintroduction herds by making contracts with third parties, mostly local land managers/land owners. At the expiry of the contract, a proportion of the animals reintroduced are returned to the Bank to found new populations elsewhere or supplement existing populations at the same site. Species such as wild horses, European bison, chamois and ibex have been used in this way. It is early days but the intention is for surplus animals to be available on the market and for investors to receive returns based on the animal’s reproductive rate. The EWB could be regarded as a wildlife version of the rebranded NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust.

Maranoa Kangaroo Cooperative – financial support

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By , June 16, 2017 5:00 pm

Financial support for the Maranoa Kangaroo Growers and Harvesters Cooperative, one of George Wilson’s projects, has been announced by the Minister. Funding from the Farming Together program will enable regional cooperative kangaroo management to enhance the sustainability of grazing systems. It will enable employment of staff, identification of procedures for value-adding product, and verification of the contribution the project makes to biodiversity and carbon improvement. By improving the accuracy of description, quality and value of kangaroo products in central Qld, the Cooperative aims to enable the kangaroo industry to grow to be what it should be – a grass fed protein producer of low emission meat complementing the livestock industries and contributing to rural incomes.

Vulnerable animals and private land

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By , May 31, 2017 8:45 am

On 28 May 2017, ABC Radio National broadcast a segment by George Wilson on its Occam’s Razor segment.  The program presents ideas that adhere to the notion  that if there are several possible solutions to a problem, the simplest alternative is probably the truth. George’s outlined a way to address the rate at which vulnerable animals are disappearing from the landscape. His talk proposed trials in which market forces could have a role to play in conservation. If private landholders could take up wildlife property rights and responsibilities, would that make up for shortfalls in government funding?

Link to ABC RN sound and transcript.

The following diagrams depict before and after the adoption of the proposed changes.

The location of Conservation Letters are at paper and supplementary information.

Why do we do scientific research ? What’s working and what needs work?

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By , May 10, 2017 10:44 am

ANU Vice Chancellor, Professor Brian Schmidt, a Nobel Prize winning astronomer and physicist, addresses a number of key issues confronting Australian scientists and researchers in an excellent broadcast on ABC Radio National.

To what extent should science be directed and the outcomes tailored to meet the commercial needs of industry and business or are there better returns to be made from basic science where sometimes the greatest advances have been serendipitous? What should science be doing to better inform the development of public policy?