Conservation AND Development: Orangutan, Tiger, Invasive & Endangered Birds
Stealing from our children: how the current biodiversity crisis will deprive future generations of the joy of nature.
We discuss the ways in which the pact between generations has been broken, and how society urgently needs to rectify these relationships. In the absence of immediate action, future generations will be robbed of the experience of lions roaring, orangutans barking, koalas bellowing, starlings murmurating, butterflies migrating, glaciers calving once ice sheets melt, and the cool breeze over great, freshwater lakes. There is clear evidence that immersion in nature has positive health and well-being benefits to humans, and that there is a strong existence value among a large portion of humanity, deprived from knowing that wilderness and wildlife exist. Beyond the ecological imperative to act, we run the risk of denying future generations these benefits and inflicting immeasurable harm upon them unless we immediately address the biodiversity crisis.
Dr Andrea Griffin is a zoologist and researcher in animal behaviour. Her research interests lie in understanding how animals adjust behaviourally to changing environments and how knowledge of behaviour can be used to better manage and conserve species. Birds are a colourful and melodious part of our landscapes. Humans watch them, feed them, and rescue them, thereby gaining many psychological benefits. In this talk, I will share my passion and admiration for some of the bird species I have studied. First, I’ll touch on the remarkable athletic performance of migratory shorebirds and explain how and why it is so important that we identify and address the dramatic threats this group is experiencing, as we are doing here in the Ramsar-listed Hunter estuary. I’ll then turn to the invasive common myna. You will learn how this songbird can outsmart both our native species and human trappers and what we know about why the species continues to spread across the east coast of Australia. With these topics, I hope to foster a deep curiosity for how animals have evolved to meet the challenges their physical and social worlds throw at them. I hope my talk will help build public awareness that whether loved or loathed, we have a duty of care to ensure our wildlife is managed and protected using the best science-based practices our researchers have to offer.
Professor Matt Hayward leads the Conservation Science Research Group at the University of Newcastle and his research interests include the conservation ecology of threatened species, the factors that threaten them and the methods we can use to effectively conserve them. Matt has researched these conservation issues in Australia, South Africa and Poland on marsupials, rodents, reptiles, invertebrates, ungulates and large predators.
Emeritus Professor Tim Roberts has recently spent time in Indonesian Borneo and will be speaking on the effect of habitat loss on the survival of the proboscis monkey and the orangutan.