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Indigenous Knowledge Reveals Widespread Mammal Decline in Northern Australia


Environment  (tags: Aborigines, Australia, mammals, decline, indigenous knowledgs, sience, reserch, tree-rat, extinction )

Angelika
- 1616 days ago - news.mongabay.com
Over the course of four years, a team of elite Australian researchers journeyed through the remote landscapes of Northern Australia to tap a vanishing resource: the wealth of knowledge carried by the indigenous inhabitants.



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Angelika R (143)
Friday February 15, 2013, 11:58 am
Please view great photos at visit site!
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Over the course of four years, a team of elite Australian researchers journeyed through the remote landscapes of Northern Australia to tap a vanishing resource: the wealth of knowledge carried by the indigenous inhabitants. Their study, published this year in Biological Conservation concludes that there have been major declines in native Northern Australian mammals, and also suggests a relationship between the decline of Indigenous knowledge and the decline of biodiversity.

Information about Australian biodiversity and biota is surprisingly lacking, largely because of the remoteness of many parts of Australia and a low human population density.

"The aim of this project," Mark Ziembicki, adjunct senior research fellow with James Cook University's Centre for Tropical Environmental and Sustainability Science, commented, "was to help fill in some of these gaps in our knowledge by tapping into an information base that has existed for millennia, because if anyone is likely to have seen these animals it's the indigenous people that have been living on the land and using these species for countless generations."

Ziembicki led a research team comprised of leading mammal conservation researcher John Woinarski and Brendan Mackey, the Director of the Griffith Climate Change Response Program.

Equipped with stuffed specimens, skins, and photographs of around 50 different target mammals, the researchers traveled to the Northern Territory. They used these visual tools to facilitate discussions with locals, mostly elders, in 32 different locations. The locals spoke about when and where they had seen the animals, any changes they had noticed in population sizes, and their own changing relationship to the land in regards to hunting practices and land management.

The scientists found a pattern of widespread mammal decline in the monsoonal tropics of northern Australia, corroborating conclusions of more recent wildlife monitoring studies in the area.

Notable declines were recorded for the northern quoll (Dasyurus hallucatus), currently listed as Endangered; the northern brush-tailed phascogale (Phascogale pirata) listed as Vulnerable; the black-footed tree-rat (Mesembriomys gouldii) listed as Near Threatened; the northern brown bandicoot (Isoodon macrourus), and common brush-tailed possum (Trichosurus vulpecula) both listed as Least Concern. Few species increased, and such increases were relatively limited: the most pronounced increase was for agile wallaby (Macropus agilis).

"I would argue that the extinction and decline of Australia's native mammals is our nation's greatest biodiversity conservation shame and biggest challenge," Ziembicki stated. "At a time when we are losing so much of both our biological and cultural heritage the challenge for us all is to find ways to use science and Indigenous knowledge together to more effectively address these dual, and inter-related, problems. I think in this case we've been successful in demonstrating the value of Indigenous knowledge and the study argues for its greater recognition. I hope such studies can also play a part in highlighting to young indigenous people the value of their rich and unique heritage, and inspire them to learn further from their elders."


 

Sue Matheson (79)
Friday February 15, 2013, 12:30 pm
thanks
 

Angelika R (143)
Friday February 15, 2013, 1:47 pm
Take to heart what he last paragraph says!
 

SuSanne P (195)
Friday February 15, 2013, 3:08 pm
Thank you...just to repeat...

"I would argue that the extinction and decline of Australia's native mammals is our nation's greatest biodiversity conservation shame and biggest challenge," Ziembicki stated. "At a time when we are losing so much of both our biological and cultural heritage the challenge for us all is to find ways to use science and Indigenous knowledge together to more effectively address these dual, and inter-related, problems. I think in this case we've been successful in demonstrating the value of Indigenous knowledge and the study argues for its greater recognition. I hope such studies can also play a part in highlighting to young indigenous people the value of their rich and unique heritage, and inspire them to learn further from their elders."
 

Rose Becke (141)
Saturday February 16, 2013, 2:56 pm
we are also losing Indigenous people
 

Angelika R (143)
Saturday February 16, 2013, 3:00 pm
Rose, yes, what a shame, and with them goes the treasure of knowledge!
 

Angelika R (143)
Saturday February 16, 2013, 5:45 pm
So good to hear this, Ros! wish I had another star for you.. That "magic berry" is in your minds and in your hearts, just spread it. Thank god the IDLE NO MORE movement is also spreading.
 

Angelika R (143)
Saturday February 16, 2013, 7:40 pm
They must do something and have little to no choice. Bottom of the pile, yeah, we know that..wish all those animals for live export also could create their own voice. As I commented elsewhere, Ms gillard needs to be "live exported", preferably straight to US military solitary confinement..
 

Angelika R (143)
Saturday February 16, 2013, 9:42 pm
well, sure looks as though the place I suggested would be just perfect for the whole gang!-Conservative enough for them?
 

Tal H (10)
Saturday February 16, 2013, 11:22 pm
Noted! thanks!
 

Angelika R (143)
Sunday February 17, 2013, 11:23 am
I am glad this story got so much attention, hope people did read it as there's so much more in it than the title suggests!
 

Sonia M (61)
Monday February 18, 2013, 2:35 am
Noted.Thanks for sharing
 

Daniel Partlow (179)
Monday February 18, 2013, 8:44 am
This says it all. "I would argue that the extinction and decline of Australia's native mammals is our nation's greatest biodiversity conservation shame and biggest challenge,"
Read more at http://news.mongabay.com/2013/0214-kimbrough-mammal-australia.html#YxGAqaduHjAtzrWg.99
 

Angelika R (143)
Tuesday February 19, 2013, 8:40 am
wow, how awesome! There you have it again-nothing compares to indigenous and elders' knowledge!
Thanks Ros for this.
 

Süheyla C (234)
Thursday February 28, 2013, 11:23 am
Thank you Angelika
 
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