Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sustainability of indigenous hunting

In an opinion piece on the Australasian science website ScienceAlert, Dr George Wilson, a Senior Fellow at University of New South Wales Institute for Environmental Studies, examines the question of whether current Indigenous hunting practices are sustainable, and argues for greater science support for Aboriginal practice:

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.  Redressing 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 – Wildlife Research, examine the opportunity for greater science support for traditional Aboriginal practice.

In pre-colonial Australia, adherence to customary law maintained wildlife species Indigenous Australians wanted. Today the long-term sustainability of Indigenous wildlife harvesting is threatened. Where Indigenous communities lack leadership and other social problems exist, the capacity to apply customary land-and sea-management practices and to operate cultural constraints on wildlife use is reduced. In addition, increased hunting pressure follows human population increases and modern technology such as vehicles and guns.

Read Dr Wilson’s full opinion piece here.

The full paper published by Dr Wilson and his colleagues from Australian Wildlife Services may be found in CSIRO Wildlife Research; Volume: 37; Issue: 3; 10-17.

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