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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
- 677 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. (144)
Friday February 15, 2013, 11:58 am
Please view great photos at visit site!
***************
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 (76)
Friday February 15, 2013, 12:30 pm
thanks
 

Angelika R. (144)
Friday February 15, 2013, 1:47 pm
Take to heart what he last paragraph says!
 

SuSanne P. (186)
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 NoFWDSPLZ (283)
Saturday February 16, 2013, 2:56 pm
we are also losing Indigenous people
 

Angelika R. (144)
Saturday February 16, 2013, 3:00 pm
Rose, yes, what a shame, and with them goes the treasure of knowledge!
 

Ros G. (84)
Saturday February 16, 2013, 4:04 pm
All is not totally lost - I live in the midst of two Great Nations - they are striving to bring us "white fellas" into the 21st century with their knowledge and culture. It's been a struggle for them, on so many levels and still is - but they are starting to reclaim their identity and lead the way in many areas and our valley has benefitted from that. Here all our National Park rangers and workers are indigenous. They have just turned a vast area which they fought for and won into a National Park - no more four wheel drives on that beach destroying endangered little terns and other fauna/flora. The young kids are still taught their own language, customs, art and dances We've learnt about bush tucker and are using it. I just wish there was a "magic berry" we could eat to get rid of the prejudice in our Society and see these "First People" of our land as helping us to secure a future.
 

Angelika R. (144)
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.
 

Ros G. (84)
Saturday February 16, 2013, 6:59 pm
Thanks Angelika, The peoples mindset is changing, but our Conservative Governments aren't. Still no recognition for the "First People" in our Consituation - keeps getting pushed to the bottom of the pile. So like IDLE NO MORE they are creating their own voice.
 

Angelika R. (144)
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..
 

Ros G. (84)
Saturday February 16, 2013, 9:30 pm
Laughing now, Angelika, Our Ms gillard loves everything American, was even talking about bringing in American Style Presidential elections. She is only hanging onto her job by the skin of her teeth - a far right wing faction of the Labor Party is her main support base. We have an election coming up in September and I think Labor will have massive loses. Many of the sitting members are already resigning or saying they won't contest the next election, big clue there. That being said if the Coalition makes it in things won't be any different either - for Marriage Equality, Indigenous People, Live Exports - they are a conservative party as well.
 

Angelika R. (144)
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. (8)
Saturday February 16, 2013, 11:22 pm
Noted! thanks!
 

Ros G. (84)
Saturday February 16, 2013, 11:51 pm
**********GREEN STARS**********Angelika Then all we need is for Cardinal George Pell to be sent off to Rome. LOL
 

Angelika R. (144)
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 Minwer Barakat Reque (55)
Monday February 18, 2013, 2:35 am
Noted.Thanks for sharing
 

Daniel Partlow (189)
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
 

Ros G. (84)
Monday February 18, 2013, 9:08 pm
Hi Angelika - I saw another interesting news item last night where our Indigenous rangers were called in to help track and identify a group of dolphins. The "marine experts" that came across this pod of "stumpy dorsal fin" dolphins believed that they were from an Asian Continent and strayed further South for whatever reason. The local Indigenous rangers said they were only found in this part of our Ocean and would not be found any where else in the World. After 4 weeks of research this turned out to a fact. Indigenous knowledge versus a University Degree
 

Angelika R. (144)
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.
 

Suheyla C. (228)
Thursday February 28, 2013, 11:23 am
Thank you Angelika
 
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