The Australian government will do anything to save this little fellow except stopping developers from building over his habitat.
You would think that the Federal and ACT government really cared that his species is nearly extinct to read how far they are prepared to go to make other species pay for what some leaders of our species are responsible for doing.
In the wake of the Belconnen kangaroo massacre, some of us thought that the government was drawing a very long bow to expect the public to take seriously the implication that 400 odd Belconnen kangaroos were mercilessly purged from nature in order to protect the earless dragon, charming though he is. Just between friends, we still aren't convinced.
Yet, in Peter Robertson & Murray Evanshttp, "Draft National Recovery Plan for the Grassland Earless Dragon Tympanocryptis pinguicoll, "native grazers" as well as "introduced grazers" have been newly included as threats to Tympanocryptis pinquicoll. "Native grazers" is zoo-speak for kangaroos and any other indigenous wildlife that eats grasses.
In fact, the draft paper reveals an absurd situation and we need someone like Alice to tell the government it is nothing but a pack of cards. How wildlife officers and zoologists can stand working in these arcane conditions is beyond me. According to the government's own sources, in the paper,
"The main factors involved in the decline of the Grassland Earless Dragon are thought to be loss and fragmentation of habitat due to urban, industrial or agricultural development, and these processes still threaten extant populations."
"... development at the Canberra Airport does not require the approval of the Minister for the Environment (under Section 160 of the EPBC Act) and proposals both underway and in planning at that site have resulted in the loss of known habitat and threaten further areas of occupied habitat."
Yet kangaroos have to wear all the blame! We also know that the Belconnen site is to be surrounded by new developments and there are rumours that the site itself is to be developed. So, between the airport and the developments at Belconnen, what hope is there for the earless dragon? What hope is there for kangaroos?
The problem is clearly not kangaroos, but the government's obdurate, undemocratic and unsafe insistence on growing Australia's population at the behest of developers. (See "Scanlon report underpins threat to Australian democracy"). This in the face of an expected indefinite world wide depression associated with oil decline. And they are building a new airport when the future of cheap air-travel is doomed by the lack of replacements for petroleum-based jet-fuel. It's not just kangaroos and dragons who should fear our government; it's us!
Actually, this situation where humans are blaming kangaroos for their own actions reminds me of the case that biologist, Farley Mowatt made for wolves in his 1963 book, Never Cry Wolf. He went to work as a government biologist in the Arctic on a project to find out why caribou herds were diminishing. The government thought they were probably being eaten by wolves (although both species had co-existed for millenia). After living adjacent to the wolves for months, Mowat reported that the wolves lived on a diet of field mice supplemented by the occasional elderly or sick caribou. The local trappers in the area were killing all the caribou to eat and to feed to their dogs. Mowatt's book, Never Cry Wolf, is a classic and it is said that it led to the Soviet Union banning the killing of wolves.