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Estimating the extinction date of the thylacine ...
Conservation Biology. Pic: Flickr10.04.18 5:40 am11 comments
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I didn’t peruse this article, though the calculations, which I didn’t study, may have some merit in them just through the probability factor.
The interesting observation was the number of sightings recorded this century.
One wonders what the authenticity of a so-called sighting is, albeit a fleeting glance, a good old glare down the snout, to a cute little passing cuddle.
There has been definitely one highly credible sighting recently out near the upper Franklin River, so I’m not sure how that fits into any calculation beyond an anomaly.
I think they are still out there, but the long-term prognosis for its survival looks grim.
Interesting article. It also shows the perceptions of what is ‘extinction’. If someone is asked what it means for an organism to be extinct, the usual response is it happens when the last one dies. But this is not the case.
The thylacine was functionally extinct before the last known specimen died. It would have been in an extinction spiral before that ,as it fell below the minimum viable population for survival.
It is long gone.
If there had been any credible thylacine sightings in Tas, you can be sure that there would be somebody official out there with bags of cyanide or 1080 to ensure that the area doesn’t become unsafe for logging.
As devils are becoming ever scarcer here, our boys are doing their best at ensuring that they are not re-established back on the mainland.
The Tasmanian government is now obviously and unrepentantly working hard at making a range of other species extinct. The Commonwealth is helping, too.
Last year Malcolm signed a 20 year RFA extension with no new studies or assessments, yet many of the original studies did not include baseline data, and in some cases were completely inadequate.
Forestry remains exempt from land use planning scrutiny. DPIPWE’s Threatened Species Section is almost non-existent.
When developments in areas of predicted, or identified important, or priority habitat are proposed, a report by a consultant scientist is sought to justify that the development will not cause a critical loss. Almost all such developments get the nod.
The Act provides for Critical Habitat to be identified, but this never happens in Tasmania.
Let’s face it this is the land of the Thylacine killers.
#3 ... Yes John, what a wonderful contributor to extinctions the Fox Task Force 1080 poisoning Blitzkrieg was .. one could be forgiven, if one believed that it served many purposes besides ‘eradicating’ non-existent Tasmanian foxes. A disgrace on Tasmanians and Taxpayers generally. It will never be forgiven or forgotten no matter how they try to cover it up and protect their funding agendas.
Then our wonderful and squeaky clean Integrity Commission gave everyone concerned a clean bill of health. Only in Tasmania where Tasinc control the Police, the Judiciary and the Integrity Commission.
The article was interesting but had one obvious error ..
None of the ridiculous formulae included symbols for logging and poisons eg. 1080.
No reasonable conclusions can be drawn from it.
Re. 6, Harry ... The paper puts the upper and lower bounds for extinction as 1936 and 1943, with the most likely year as 1940 and the most optimistic extinction date being 1956.
The poison, 1080, was first formulated in 1942. It was first trialled in Tasmania for rabbit control at Bothwell in 1952. After several years of trials the state-wide program started in early 1960 on open farmland affected by rabbits.
The first deliberate poisoning of native animals was in 1956 on Flinders Island where wallabies and kangaroos were the targets.
I fail to see how 1080 is related to the extinction of the thylacine, given it was likely extinct by 1960 and was extinct in farmland areas where the 1080 was laid.
Similarly I do not see logging as an effect other than habitat removal and displacement, but I think the scale of logging pre 1960 was not large enough to be significant.
I wish I could point the finger at Forestry for the Tiger’s demise, but I can’t.
However land clearance, and loss of prime habitat, certainly marginalised the species.
Open woodland s would have been its prime habitat, and unfortunately a lot of that was done over for farming.
With the government bounty, the proceeding direct poisoning, and the introduction of the 1080 madness, then the odds were heightened that the creature was doomed by humans.
Scientists have claimed that the Tiger’s genetic makeup posed problems for it, but the lack of genetic diversity due to their low population dispersion was most likely a bigger issue facing them.
Who knows what may have eventuated without European colonisation, but without question humans were the main cause of its demise - something Tasmania excels in when it comes to nature as a whole!
#8 ... What about the Vandemonian emu and T Rex Mr T. Are they still out there ?
Surely you can make a connection with Forestry Tasmania’s precursor activities as causal for those two species disappearing from the misty, rainforested (< 15% euc crown cover) non heritage legislated landscape ?
Re #9 ... Still want to log the Tarkine where the critically endangered Orange Bellied Parrot lives, Martin?
If your silvicultural regeneration forest practices have been so successful, how come you want more?
#9 ... It’s a > 5% euc crown canopy definition. Still trying to deceive us!
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