Hope for resurrecting a functionally extinct parrot or squandered social capital? Landholder attitudes towards the Orange-bellied Parrot (Neophema chrysogaster) in Victoria, Australia
journal contributionposted on 2012-01-01, 00:00 authored by Mike WestonMike Weston, Kelly MillerKelly Miller, Justin LawsonJustin Lawson, G Ehmke
In early 2010, after 27 years of recovery effort, the orange-bellied parrot (OBP; Neophema chrysogaster) was expected to be extinct in the wild within a few years. Shortly before the imminent wild extinction became evident, we surveyed landholders (114 responses of 783 surveys delivered) in part of the main non-breeding area, according to three classes of modelled habitat suitability ('high', 'medium', and 'low'). Predictions of the habitat models appear to correlate with landholder perceptions of the presence of OBP habitat on private land, thus the models appear a tractable way to identify key stakeholders worthy of priority consultation in relation to habitat works. Landholders were sympathetic to wetlands and birds, including OBPs (89.4% were aware of OBPs). Most indicated that they would be upset if the OBP went extinct and agreed that critical habitat should be protected; 80.7% were prepared to consider changes to the way they managed their land to benefit the species, and sought more information on how they could do so (64.0%). This study suggests that the habitat model usefully identified key stakeholders and the OBP enjoyed high awareness, concern, and engagement among many stakeholders, shortly before the species was considered functionally extinct. The maintenance of landholder support is likely to be critical if future attempts are made to reintroduce the species to the wild.