The work of two Charles Darwin University researchers was written into legislative changes announced by the Western Australian Government this week.
Recommendations made by the pair from CDU’s Research Institute for the Environment and Livelihoods (RIEL) on the conservation status of Australian birds were signed into law in WA on 6 November 2012.
The suggestions were published by Professor Stephen Garnett and Dr Judit Szabo in their book “The Action Plan for Australian Birds 2010”. Their recommendations are also being considered by several other jurisdictions.
“This is an important development,” Professor Garnett said.
“We found that many species were missing from threatened species lists and were getting no protection. Now they are covered by the law.”
Some species have also been removed from the list, either because their numbers have recovered or research has shown that they were less threatened than previously thought.
“For society to have confidence in threatened species lists, we must be sure they are accurate,” Professor Garnett said.
“We can easily waste effort protecting common species when it should be spent on those in real trouble.”
Both Professor Garnett and Dr Szabo said the removal of species from threatened species lists was also good news.
“There are some great success stories,” Professor Garnett said.
“Muir’s Corella was reduced to about 100 birds by poisoning and shooting, but laws to protect them were effectively enforced, and now there are over 10,000.”
Professor Garnett and Dr Szabo are also hoping that other conservation actions they have recommended will be followed.
“While changing the law is important, this needs to be followed up by action on the ground,” Dr Szabo said.
“Laws protect threatened birds from people. They also need protection from feral animals, fire and other threats in the bush.”