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Australia's Most Endangered Snake Might Need Burning

Discussion in 'The Library' started by Rich, Mar 24, 2009.

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  1. Rich

    Rich Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    The last remaining populations of broad-headed snakes are being threatened by encroaching woodland that is destroying their habitat, a study by scientists.

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    Use this thread to discuss the article above. What are your thoughts about Australia's Most Endangered Snake Might Need Burning?
  2. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    We have to remember, that even though humans have caused many extinctions, it is still a natural process. 95% of all life that ever lived on this planet is now extinct, and humans can account for only a fraction of it, the most recent ones.

    Controlled burns might save the broad-headed snake, or they might not. We would also have to consider the ecological status of the animals that need those forests to survive.
  3. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    Extinction is a natural process, but what Homo sapiens is doing is completely unnatural, and threatens the whole planet!! More than 60% of fauna has become extict in Australia in the 200 years since white settlement!!
  4. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    The Aboriginal peoples have always had controlled burning of bushland, but again, since white men " discovered"? Australia, this doesn`t normally now take place, and just one result is the article Rich cites.
  5. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    humans are directly or indirectly responsible for almost all recent extinctions - no doubt about that, and it may be that human interference (controlled burning by aborigines) may be what kept the snake from going extinct of natural causes much sooner.

    Almost a reverse from our usual routine of wiping things out, we inadvertently make room for one to thrive.
  6. wgnelson

    wgnelson Elite Member

    I doubt that the Aborigines knew that their burns were helping one particular snake. More that likely, they were doing it for a completely different reason. ie; maybe to drive something out of the bush easier, to capture and eat it. The vegetation growth is a natural process. Leave it be.
  7. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    Bushfires are (mainly) a natural process in Australia, and of course other parts of the world!! The Flora and fauna have evolved to try and cope with these things. Also, the Aboriginal people have been doing this for 40,000 years! Although leaving the rainforests be, now that`s a great idea!!
  8. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    well many things happen as an unintended side effect. I do not believe that the aborigines were trying to save the snake. Nor do I believe that anyone intended fore the cane toad to become such a problem - but we all know the phrase about the road... paved with good intentions.
  9. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    Who said anything about the aborigines trying to save the snakes by lighting bushfires?? The question was whether to have a controlled burning of a (relatively) small area of bush, in order to save an animal species!! The plant and animal species in that area are mostly common ones, so in order to save this particular rare animal from extinction, it was suggested burning the thick bush to provide these snakes with a suitable habitat. In this case, burning seems one possible answer. Once the decision has been taken to use this method (burning) I`m sure that where possible, most (but of course not all) of the other animals will be translocated, or many will leave the area themselves when the strictly controlled fires are started. The Australian governments over the last 20 or 30 years have made some great strides in protecting the flora and fauna, although much has still to be done!! This is not an easy decision! Once extinct, the animal is gone forever!!! Sometimes it`s necessary to destroy something in order to save something else! Unfortunate,but true! The plants will grow again anyway, the snakes will NOT! My opiniopn is that the fires may well turn out to be one of the few viable options!!
    P.S. I know that area quite well!! ( I`m an Aussie!) But living in the U.K. But thanks for your comments!
  10. Kendalle

    Kendalle Elite Member

    You also have to take in the account of how many wildfires humans have stopped, they are a natural occurrence but an inconvenience and people stop them. As well as people start them, on purpose or on accident.
  11. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    More than just an inconvenience, Kendalle, over 200 people and one million animals were destroyed one month ago in my home state of Victoria! Some fires were started deliberately, many of these areas which I know so well will take many years to recover, and of course the human population who lost family and friends will NEVER get over it! That`s the price we pay for living in these areas of thick bushland, sometimes being so close to nature just isn`t worth the risk!
    In one particular area, ( Murrindindi) We could see wallabies,kangaroos, wombats, possums etc., many types of snakes and lizards, all kinds of parrots and other birds, so many have been destroyed, the trees and other plants will recover quite quickly, ( they`ve evolved to cope with bushfires) but many animals will take much longer, some small populations may never return. 250,000 acres destroyed just in this one place! My own family are safe, so I have to be thankful for that, at least; they are living approx.. 15 miles from the worst fires.
    Stefan (Murrindindi)
  12. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    I'm not saying the snake shouldn't be saved. We need to remember that most other actions people have taken to control animal populations have backfired (no pun intended), sometimes disastrously. Brush fires, intended or not, can have disastrous results, as we have recently seen. This is one more case of mother nature taking it's own course, and people having different ideas about what that course should be. Most times, when people interfere, it doesn't work out as well as planned - so though we may do something that seems small and harmless, we have no way of guaranteeing what the end result will be. We never do.
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