You are here

Authorities brace for Gouldian Finch Protest

Authorities are bracing in northern Australia for an influx of protesters representing Gouldian finch societies and breeders throughout the globe. Police fear a repeat of last years bloodbath when Mitchell hopping mouse advocates protested against further degradation of the marsupials habitat in South Australia.

Lovers of the popular aviary finch are incensed at the inaction of Australian governments in protecting what little habitat remains for the endangered bird. Gouldian finch societies from Australia, the USA, South Africa and many European countries have banded together to raise awareness of the damage that pastoral activities and modern fire regimes are doing to the birds habitat.

Australian Gouldian Finch Society spokesperson Terry Anderson has made an emotional plee to the Australian public to help fight for the remaining Gouldian finch habitat:

“there are only 2500 of these beautiful birds left in the wild…. All Australians have a responsibility to prevent this species from becoming extinct in its natural environment and we are here to remind them of that responsibility”

Police in Katherine, NT are expecting hundreds of protestors and are expected to use a zero tolerance policy after similar protests in South Australia last year resulted in 15 arrests and several police officers injured. Sgt Mackey of NT police states:

“whilst the 2009 confrontations with South Australian police were instigated by breeders and owners of Mitchell’s hopping mice fighting for habitat protection… we must anticipate that the Gouldian Finch people are capable of the same emotionally driven violence that have made the hopping mouse advocates a household name”

Wildlife advocacy groups and other critics of Gouldian finch breeders claim that dwindling finch numbers are due in no small part to the aviary trade and poaching continues to be a problem as demand for the finch increases. Furthermore they claim that breeding of the finch involves colour and behaviour selection that does not mimic wild Gouldian finch populations. Terry Anderson refutes these claims:

“they’re just nit picking. If the Gouldian becomes extinct in the wild, we are the ones they will come running to”

Outspoken supporter of keeping native animals as pets Prof Mike Archer was (unusually) unavailable for comment.

AttachmentSize
Image icon Gouldian_Finches.jpg20.51 KB
Image icon img56.jpg23.3 KB

Comments

These little birds are living gems, more precious and beautiful than jewels! With the sixth extinction on the way, the world are could lose 5 million species, including these. With burgeoning human populations, there is little space on diminishing areas left for birds such as these, considering the consumption levels needed to maintain human population and their drive for economic growth!
While most birds, like humans, form partnerships to rear their offspring, researchers have long known they have the occasional fling of infidelity. A male who feels he has been cheated on can reduce the care of offspring that he gives or even desert an unfaithful female.
The female is apparently able to select out genetically good sperm from bad sperm very effectively. This means that by occasionally cheating, she is maximizing her chances of having healthy offspring because one copulation with good male sperm is better than 30 copulations with bad sperm. So even a little cheating can have big benefits.
The greatest threats to Gouldian finches and other grass-eating birds are changes to habitat resulting from "altered fire patterns and grazing pressure".
This is the polite way of saying "human interference and livestock causing environmental degradation"!

Scott,
This is a wonderful article. If only it were true that Australians were sufficiently on the ball to go to battle like this for Gouldian finches and Mitchell Hopping Mice. Then we could all breath a huge sigh of relief and go out and enjoy the rest of our lives. These little birds are so perfect that it make sense to protect them with our lives. I remember looking at a newly dead rainbow lorrikeet recently and not being able to take in that it was dead, so remarkable were its irridescent colours and the detail of its eyes and feathers. Those who don't know nature don't have any idea of how the real wealth is going, going gone. Someone famous whose name I have forgotten, said that Australia is a land of birds, which, like the kangaroo, can quickly move in search of water in our difficult climates. A land of wonderful birds. A wonderful land, too little appreciated by its recent human influx.

I loved this article.

Bravo!

Sheila Newman, population sociologist
home page
Articles Copyright to the author. Please contact sheila [AT] candobetter org or the editor if you wish to make substantial reproduction or repu

Protesters from an unknown aboriginal society, wearing bizarre nose-pieces and claws, and acting blind, invaded Alice Springs Parliament today and took Jack Evans, a leading white elder, hostage. Jack Evans was the speaker for the opposition. A shaken Alice Springs parliamentary secretary later revealed that a note written on Jake Evans's underpants in yellow ochre had been found in the male toilets, with a demand that the multi-million dollar pipeline project to bring water from Darwin to Alice must be stopped. The note said that any digging between Darwin and Alice Springs would bring the wrath of the marsupial mole down upon industrial society and the seas would flow into the interior of Australia and drown all those who failed to recognise and respect the Great Marsupial Mole. Police are taking the matter very seriously. It is believed that the kidnappers have gone underground

For years, locals had not taken seriously tales of a vast underground society of aboriginals, said to live for hundreds of years on a diet of the roots of desert plants and catching blind white fish that live in the Great Artesian Basin.

Now Alice Springs citizens are demanding that the local government make formal contact and appease these ancient desert denizens before it is too late.

Thanks, Alice.

Upon closer reading, I could see that this comment was intended to be tongue-in-cheek. This may be less clear to people from outside Australia who may not know that there is no "Alice Springs Parliament" and no plans to pipe water from Darwin to Alice Springs

Subject was: "Well Duh!".

To Geoff on September 22nd, 2010

Beware the satirical humour, rampant in this great nation of ours.

Only the Gullible reticent to look deeper would be lead astray.

They probably deserve to be sucked in.

Writing from a small country called Maldives, I've bred gouldians for some time and am madly in love with this beautiful bird, I hope the Australian authorities take the plight of this species seriously. I support the cause 100 percent.

Editorial comment: Thanks for your expression of support. I hope it is OK that we have added the words "to support Gouldian Finch" to the end of your subject heading to make it more descriptive. - Editor

I am from India have been keeping exotic birds for some time now - coincidentally I am expecting my first batch of 'captive-bred' Gouldians this week.

It is a shock to learn that there are only about 2500 Gouldians in the wild and more shocking to know that the Australian authorities are turning a blind eye to this impending crisis. I pray that good sense prevails and they take all possible measures to protect these living jewels.

Better late than never . .

Rahul

Sadly they won't do anything to protect these beautiful birds, because they don't care about our beautiful wildlife ... If it doesn't involve money and growth they are not interested ... It's very sad ...