Australia, Michelle Weber, Antony Fennell discussed on Future Tense

Future Tense
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It's twenty twenty and we just made a mammoth discovery literally on the edge of a beach above the arctic circle scientists so busy exhuming the bones of a tin thousand-year-old adult mammal. I will namath found by any means but this time the bones contain soft tissue. Hello antony fennell here. Welcome to feature tents and to a program about the maturing of a once controversial conservation approach called rewarding. There is a lot of things that i really like about the term reviled and so i know that there's been a lot of focus on reintroducing large charismatic mega fauna but the term has really evolved to incorporate many more different axa and the entire ecosystem and all of the downstream cascades that come as a result of those introductions and it's that illusion. We're going to focus on today. We'll come back to the woolly. Mammoth a little later in the program a promise but as evolutionary biologists michelle weber just indicated. The game has changed significantly since the last time future tense took the field roundabout eight years ago back then re wilding was all about attempts to bring back extinct. Giants like the mammoth or to reintroduce apex predators like wolves and bays to rural areas that they've been driven out of in the past. It had a largely nostalgic. Feel to it but today it's much more future focused using the reintroduction of species to strengthen habitats and promote biodiversity it's really an ecosystem perspective at a landscape scale. And i like the fact that we are talking about the health of the interactions that bill be entire ecosystem and that we're talking about it at big enough scales that will actually start to incorporate all sorts of things that weren't necessarily part of the original plan there is i guess a great nayed full success stories and conservation. I'm sure most of its media. We often say environmental stories conservation stories reporting juryman glaring because we are amidst nor the well six mass extinction event and we donate to have harp and bringing back. Spacey's is a positive thing that we can jury and it can have really great outcomes for the environment so that we want to actually support you. Enriching an associate professor in wildlife ecology and conservation at deakin university. Unfortunately have tatis. We can't go back in time and right. The wrongs that we've done but we can think about what future we might have a ham on our environments. Look if we could bring back some of these species including species that are not extinct species at monaco in one area but have gone extinct elsewhere. I mean market. Bring them back. So we really wanna be focusing on that. The australian context according to dr ritchie. That could start. With the strategic reintroduction of dingoes across large parts of the continent we know as an example the between gary came particularly can control kangaroo numbers and in some parts of southern and eastern that can getting quite high numbers. Now because we've changed. The landscape is a lot more water that's available. Kangaroos is a lot more. Ross it's available to kangaroos and dingoes. Which one of their main predators have been killed off so if we could bring him back that can help regulate their numbers which has flow benefits for whole range of other spacey's dingoes also a nine to kill feral goats so that can help us manage the invasive species there's also of course talk about bringing something wipe it has manian devil back to the mainland which was probably in australia. Roughly three thousand or so us ago so ecologically speaking. It's not actually a long time and we could think about whether the tasmanian devil might help us potentially to control things like feral cats. So there's some evidence that they deter that behavior of cats cats motto void particular areas or times die devils mice active so bringing back some of these predators to atlanta in an experiment. Saint as as a really positive thing you might be edited. The conservation and disease transmission is also an issue that you believe the reintroduction of can also help with one of the problems that we have is where we have spaces that become over abundant whether we're talking about ninety of animals like kangaroos particularly osa feral animals. We had problems in australia. With things. like dea feral pigs and sensei fourth if rates really high numbers that can be vectors for disease. But also even when i die if animals being eight and removed from the landscape that can be open source of disease and so we know that having predators in the landscape is a really healthy united states. Xm so we need them to sort of casings. Things imbalance and reducing disease. Transmission is a potential benefit as well. Now you'll researches stressed the importance of focusing on the ecological functions of spacey's rather than the individual identities and origins just explained that idea to why that important so the dingo is probably arguably one of strays controversial in a mighty spacey's was introduced riley. Roughly brain hoffa's news as a minimum but potentially much longer ago and say some people will classify as a native animal out of the people. Do but the fact of the matter is that we've lost the following tasmanian tiger from my land destroy leah. We did have a mainland version of the tasmanian devil. We had the my sapio line. Fi likely layer and a whole range of other predators in viral gone from australia. And and particularly the my land of course and sorry the dinger whether you call it. Ninety not has a really important role in the landscape agai in regulating things like hungary numbers of course getting rid of some feral animals and keeping things in balance Lock we say a guy. In in other parts of the world things like wolves which helped to regulate numbers. If dea in some parts of the us lodge cats in parts of africa in europe incite fourth inside the site on what because something but the end of the day. Ecosystems spacey's plying their role inside they functions are really important and the danger is the best that we have currently in australia for a land based animal. And how far can you go back in time before a species is no longer relevant to its original environment. Is there a rough cut off point. Look i think there's an ex got out of for that. It's a fascinating question to ponder. And that's spain discussed even in the context of the father. Saying which you know. It didn't go extinct very long at all. Nine thirty six is a lost animal and that was in captivity but people have discussed the fact that you know maybe it's habitat has been largely moved in many parts of tasmania. Sorry there are big questions that even if you could bring back an animal to the landscape at some point in the fuchsia would there be suitable environments for they space. He's i guess a really important point against it is that where experiencing rapid climate change and if we manage to have a the worst possible scenario which temperature increases above one and a half two degrees above that way. Really gonna say some pretty dramatic and diet challenges to environments. It may be that. Quite large areas become unsuitable for a whole range.

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