Saving from extinction - Why it matters
Why it matters?
Every now and then you come across a person who asks what does it really matter if we lose a bird species or two? On these occasions, the right words often fail me. I become about as articulate as a drunken lorikeet.
Recently I read an article by Samantha Vine titled "Orange-bellied Parrot - On a Wing and a Prayer". It was published in the June 2010 edition of Wingspan (now called "Australian Birdlife"). She said (at pages 12-13):
"We are in the midst of a biodiversity crisis, and the available funds will do little to stem the flow of extinctions of species currently teetering on the brink. It is disappointing that in a developed, prosperous country such as Australia we should even have to contemplate abandoning a species to extinction when it is usually development for economic growth that has caused their decline in the first place...
Extinction is forever; there are no second chances. The disappearance of any species ... leaves us all the poorer and undermines our own survival. All species have their own unique role in maintaining ecosystems, and the diversity of the natural world is being damaged as a result of our activities. Giving up on our natural heritage because of cost would be tragic."
I would add to this that saving one species invariably will have a positive flow on effect for the survival of other species too. For instance, the cat baiting program currently being run in the Fitzgerald River and Cape Arid National Parks, whilst assisting the Western Ground Parrot, will also go to ensuring the survival of the 22 mammal (including 7 declared rare), 41 reptile and 12 frog species that share its habitat.
The Western Ground Parrot is a beautiful, iconic bird and a precious natural resource. Recently Tourism Australian launched a campaign to promote the "'Great South West Edge", an area stretching from Busselton to Cape Arid National Park which it describes as follows:
"Nature has been flaunting her beauty here for millions of years with white beaches, wildflowers, wetlands, towering forests, limestone caves and the meeting of two oceans at one river. A wet winter and dry summer Mediterranean style climate, a dazzling array of flora and fauna and captivating contrasts between land and sea, make the Great South West a truly unique national landscape offering diversity at its finest."
The Western Ground Parrot is an integral part of the diversity found in the Great South West Edge. Biodiversity is our nation's natural wealth. That wealth is there for us, for our children and for their children. We have no right to squander it. Having created the problems that led to the threat of extinction, surely we have a duty to fix them.
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