Discussion in 'Reptile News' started by RoryBreaker, Mar 18, 2015.
We're allowed 2 species of quoll in vic
?Missing the point?... well I find that accusation more than a little ironic. The article was about the idea of keeping native mammals as pets, rather than cats and dogs, ?in an effort to preserve native mammal populations? i.e. it was about another way through which we could assist conservation. Yet somehow it got hijacked into primarily a discussion/argument about whether or not it is practical, or even possible, to keep native Australian mammals as pets.
Rather than invent an opinion based on personal perceptions (as many others have done) to contribute to this discussion/argument, following is a quote taken directly from the Marsupial Society?s website. Bear in mind that these statements are based on the real experiences of people who have actually ?been there, done that?... and are STILL doing it!
?Once you learn the basics in keeping and the extent of their needs, you will find they [marsupials and other native mammals] are no more difficult to care for than a dog or cat. Just as with the usual fair of domestic pets, not all are suitable for the suburban backyard or unit. So do your homework to ensure you get the right mammal for you. Avoid an impulse purchase in a shop and be patient in acquiring the animal you decide on.
Marsupial and native mammal housing comes in many forms. An aviary for possums, gliders and bettongs, a vivarium for dunnarts and rodents, a small fenced yard for wallabies and other small macropods, up to large sized fenced paddock for kangaroos and wallaroos. Wombats require extra consideration for housing and to maintain their overall well being. Further knowledge and information about how to care for your native mammal/pet can be obtained by joining the Marsupial Society.?
There were a couple of criticisms levelled at Senator Leyonhjelm, rather undeservedly I felt. Judging from the quotes of the senator?s spiel to the senate, he seemed well informed on the subject. He pointed out that where a pet is wide kept, such as dogs and cats, then that species is in no danger of dying out. Popularity as a pet gives an animal an added value by society at large (not just those concerned with conservation). He used the example of Sugar Gliders in the US to illustrate that it is achievable. Yet he also showed awareness of the limitations... "There is no disputing that some native animals may make unsuitable pets, at least in certain situations." "Many are nocturnal, for example, which might require us to adjust our own sleeping habits to enjoy them."
I do have one question before I attempt to get some sleep... what is so difficult about being positive???
[FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]I don't see any posts that state it is impractical to keep native fauna as pets.
The article is about the senators suggestion for native animals to replace domestic cats and that's what I see as impractical.
[/FONT]"Crossbench senator David Leyonhjelm has declared the quoll should replace the domestic cat in an effort to preserve native mammal populations."[FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]
Personally I don't see anything wrong with people keeping native marsupials and/or mammals as pets if they so choose and competent in doing so but, as for them actually replacing popular domestic pets, again I think, that itself, is nothing more than a pipe dream.
I must add the assumption that many of the opinions here are invented based on personal perception rather than first hand experience of people who it is assumed have "not been there, or done that" is naive in itself. Unless you know them personally how could one make such an accusation.
Allowing people to keep native fauna as pets no doubt maintains species as well as raises the awareness and adds value to native fauna in the eyes of the general public but I must ask, "What contribution would it make to conservation other than to have them caged up in private collections?" (not that I see this as a bad thing) I ask this because as for replacing the populations of wild fauna from "domesticated stock" I doubt very much that it will ever happen due to the genuine concern of introducing any type of virus or disease that may in turn have a detrimental affect on not only targeted native species but potentially spread to others and causing even more havoc . As I've mentioned on previous threads any such projects would be undertaken through the consent of the scientific community with strict governances attached and as far as I'm aware, rarely does it involve private keepers.
I don't think George was suggesting the idea not be given consideration, he was, like me, expressing reservations about the notions we have as a community, on what constitutes a "pet." It will take generations of human lives to change the culture that dictates to us that pets are cats, dogs, chooks, horses. Like reptiles, Quolls and any other of the species I've mentioned will need very careful captive management to remain safe themselves. They cannot survive the inevitable attacks from cats and dogs, and these domesticated animals will rejoice at the extra resources we would be offering them should native mammals be more common in suburbia. They cannot be left to roam freely outside for the same reasons, and the "call of the wild" would inevitably see them disappearing forever into the dark.
You can be fairly casual about your responsibilities when it comes to keeping cats & dogs etc, but definitely not when it comes to vulnerable, nervous and highly strung nocturnal native species.
Not saying it couldn't or shouldn't be done, just saying that great caution is needed because the initial appeal is great, the follow-up responsibility is greater, and therefore native animals definitely do not fit into the "universally good" pet category. Many people would find the time requirements and responsibility quite onerous after a very short time.
This quote you have used as the basis for determining what the article was supposedly about, is an incorrectly paraphrased statement and is also taken out of context.
While this attention-grabbing first paragraph states that the Senator declared the quoll should replace the domestic cat, a later verbatim quote from his senate speech reveals what he actually said was: ?The quoll may replace domestic cats?. Please note use of the word ?may?. This direct excerpt confirms that the first paragraph (which is what you quoted) is nothing more than sensationalistic journalese.
To put your quote into context, here are the next four paragraphs which immediately followed it...
?In a speech to Parliament the Liberal Democratic Party senator argued making it legal to domesticate native animals like the quoll and bilby would ensure their survival.
"Certain kinds of wallabies make great pets. The quoll may replace domestic cats," he told the Senate.
"The bilby is often nominated as a great candidate for domestication.
"In the right circumstances, possums, Tasmanian devils, wombats, native rats, antechinus and bandicoots would also be great pets."
Clearly, the point of the article is not solely about ?native animals replacing cats?.
The range of native mammals available as potential pets is very broad. Person?s involved with wildlife (wildlife parks and other tourist attractions. rehabilitator?s and members of groups such as the Marsupial Society) have shown that many, but certainly not all, are readily amenable to captivity, without requiring undue effort or changes to personal life styles. In contrast, hand-rearing parrots and the like can be considerably more demanding than raising many of our marsupials and native mammals. Yet there are many enthusiasts prepared to take on difficult birds as pets. The point I am trying to make is that it seems apparent that the negatives are being repeatedly over-stated. Something not helped by limiting the focus to quolls. Surely the success with animals like the Sugar Gliders or Mitchell?s Hopping Mice is indicative that it is not always difficult.
The perceived benefits to conservation of keeping native animals as pets are clearly articulated by Professor Archer in the interview article referred to earlier.
Ho Hum. Very petty.
The big problem is, and always will be, that what we, as humans, "need" from our "pets." It may be unfortunate, but native mammals will never replace cats as the "pet" of choice because what these different species deliver in terms of companionship is very different indeed. There is a vast difference also in keeping animals outside in cages and having a cat curled up in your lap in front of the fire on a cold winter night.
I have no problem with the keeping and breeding of native animals & birds of all sorts in captivity, especially if it makes otherwise endangered species more prolific (Rough scaled Python is a remarkable example of this), but to promote them universally as ideal "pets" is courting disaster and disappointment for those initially enthused by attempts to popularise them.
It remains my opinion, as a person who has kept quite a number of these things - Brushtailed Possums, Ring-tailed Possums, Mulgara, a Quoll, Water Rats to name a few, that they probably appeal to those who wish to keep non-domesticated native species and who are aware of the limitations and idiosyncracies of these animals, and whose expectations are realistic in terms of what they get back for their effort.
I value your reasoning and dedication to a subject above almost all other members on this forum @ Bluetongue1. I don't think you're always right or necessarily always agree with you, but at least you put the effort into your arguments and look at things with the ability to adjust your mind set. I'm slowly changing my mind about a few things related to this discussion also.
I think certain members here should get off of their high horses. Just because in your era something failed to happen, doesn't mean that in another a few might have the balls to actually do something positive. You actually need to make something happen, for it to happen.
I'm probably being petty though. ;-)
Id also like to hear more from [MENTION=33537]Planky[/MENTION].
Maybe do what the zoos do and shift their night period to daylight hours and visa-versa. Just need a large room with natural ventilation etc and then you can enjoy them during the day :lol: I know I don't get into my enclosures and wake my snakes up during the day. If they're not there...then they're not there. I don't get selfish enough to go dragging them out of their hides every time I pop into the snake room.
I'm just going to get a bigger horse because I'm not dead and it's still my era. I think a certain member on here should put his money where his mouth is and if he thinks he's got big enough balls to take on the powers that be...then by all means go for it. When he's been on here long enough he might come to realise why myself and a few friends refer to another certain member as Dr John A. Voidberg.
What I don?t understand is why maintain the focus on ?replacing cats?? It may be the title of the thread but in the article it is only cited in a six-word quote from the speech referring only to quolls. The mainstay of the article was about a senator arguing for ?making it legal to domesticate native animals? to help assist conservation. As it is this quote contains the qualification of ?may replace?.
I strongly suspect this commenti, which was first made by Mike Archer, originated as a result of the old name for quolls... ?native cats?. I also suspect that the comment was more intended to attract publicity in order to spread the broader message. Much the same as many journos deliberately take liberties and sensationalise headlines and introductory paragraphs to grab attention.
The example of Sugar Gliders was given specifically because these animals actually need to bond and interact with their carers and/or others animals. As a consequence of this, they provide all the interactions and companionship that have been mentioned for domestic cats. As a result of the knowledge and understandings gained from a decade plus of wide-spread keeping, these animals require less effort and expense to correctly maintain than many of the more traditional domestic pets. Properly managed they are hardy, clean and pretty much disease and problem free. These attributes help to explain their degree of popularity in many countries aroundthe globe.
While I do agree that many natives species would likely provide limited interaction with humans, I do not understand why there is such a reluctance to acknowledge the fact that there are some current demonstrable exceptions and there is a real potential for other species to fill a similar niche. The Squirrel Glider, for example, is an almost identical but larger version of the Sugar Glider and with similar potential.
OK, the Fat-tailed Dunnart I once kept was way cute, but definitely not cuddly. However Red-necked Pademelon Wallabies are a different ballgame entirely. A small colony was maintained for at least 15 years (that I know of) in the wooded backyard of a house not far from where I grew up in suburban Sydney. These animals showed a preference to being hand-fed by their owners, appeared to enjoy a good ?scratch behind the ear? and would even jump up onto their owner?s lap to be petted or cuddle up for a rest or sleep. I don?t recall if they were allowed inside the house or not, but they povided plenty of intimate contact and bonding with their human carers. In conclusion, based on actual facts and my own observations, there is arguably more potential for select native mammals to become companion pets than has been given credence in this thread.
I grew up in Lane Cove which is now neareniough to the center of Sydney. I had a pet bandicoot which lived in an avairy and me mate had a wallaby which slept in a hessian bag hanging on the back of his bedroom door. All of us kids shared about a dozen tortoses which spent their time escaping down the gully to the creek where they would be recaptured by the next gang of warriors for their turn "caring" for the wildlife. Even then it was probably illegal.
Now the gully has been filled with demolition material from the city and turned into a golf course. Far less wildlife now.......and far more legislation.
if people weren't so negative in attitudes towards the Tasmanian Tiger decades ago and some people had taken the time to take them on as pets would the species still be alive today? I am pretty confident the answer would be yes so I agree with those who see keeping native animals as pets as a realistic option to a species survival.
A few extra but relevant comments...
I doubt that the senator expects to see native animals replace cats to any marked degree, if at all. I suspect that he was following Mike Archer's lead in making that comment.
Whether or not native pet animals will curl up with humans while watching TV, or whatever, the potential conservation benefits ofbkeeping natives are still there regardless. As Mike Archer pointed out, our kids have far more contact with, know more about, and relate more to exotic pets such as dogs and cats, then they do with our own native animals. As we all know, even keeping reptiles or amphibians is an educative and awareness-raising process, that alters perspectives and atitudes. It gives our native wildlife a real value in the eyes of their keepers. It encourages people to take a more active interest in issues surrounding the conservation of such animals (e.g. frog declines, the Broad-headed Snake and the Oenpelli Python). It can even provides a buffer from extinction should a captive species disappear completely from the wild ? as has happened with numerous different species around the world. It also produces an in-your-face reality that clearly defines and makes these animals (and related species) very real to keepers, rather than being just vague creatures that one might occasionally see at a distance behind glass or fences or on a screen, or simply read or hear about.
Finally, I don?t know that anyone seriously expects to see domestic cats removed or replaced. At least not in our lifetimes. And feral cats are exceedingly unlikely to ever be totally eradicated ? certainly not in the foreseeable future. However, that does not mean that we should throw up our hands and give up trying. We need to continuing pushing for achievable progress, such as demanding appropriate changes to the regulations controlling domestic cats. Despite what some have declared elsewhere on this forum, in the last two decades there have been important legislative changes achieved in this respect - at both state and local government levels. These changes (such as compulsory sterilisation and micro-chipping) are on-going and only happening because of the actions of people. Don?t give up pushing for what is needed,despite what the knockers say, because it can and will ultimately make adifference!
I doubt very much that "domesticating" native species does much to increase awareness, change perspectives or attitudes, except in the very early days of the process when those who are deeply interested in the species become involved in breeding. As animals become more readily available to those without any interest in the "big picture," they are more & more regarded simply as curiosities. This is very evident with the nature of reptile keeping today. I've said it on a few occasions in the past, and it's an opinion shared by my peers, that reptiles are now being kept more and more by people who have little or no interest in the natural history of their pets. They don't see, and have no interest in, learning about any of the broader contexts surrounding the creatures they keep, and unfortunately, today's lifestyles and urban or apartment living don't encourage investigation.
Over the past few years, the nature of reptile keeping has changed. In the early days reptiles were caught and kept by people like myself - we spent much of our lives as kids and young adults out and about in the bush, turning over bits of tin and looking for critters of all sorts. This gave me and my peers a great deal of knowledge about the lives these creatures live in their natural habitat. As reptile keeping developed and breeding became more common, the spread of reptiles in the community went from those who had a close connection to reptiles and where they fitted into the ecosystem, to those who had connections with the breeders, and from there, diffusing into the community at large, to the scenario today, where many (maybe even most) of those why buy reptiles have no knowledge or even any interest in doing more than manage their animals in a cage. They are not remotely interested in the broader context.
This may or may not be a bad thing, but I think you'll find, despite the very large number of reptile keepers in this country now, that it will be the same few deeply interested individuals who continue to push the barrow of change. You only have to look at the frenzy in the herp community to acquire the latest (obviously smuggled) morph when their presence is announced in this country to see where the values of the broader keeping community lie.
Once again, not saying it shouldn't be done, just that there are only a few individuals in our community who are politically minded, and politically savvy enough, and with the time needed to bring about change.
I look at the idea from a personal perspective. Because I am able to keep certain natives legally I have chosen to own some reptiles. I have shovelled the odd snake that I was unable to relocate when I was younger and not connected to the hobby although I did have an interest there. Because I now keep snakes and have done a handling course the interest I had as a youth has now grown and has stimulated my curiosity to explore the bush further, to read up on plants and animals, to involve my Grandson and pass on what I know. We study behaviour of animals in the bush and learn their habits. Without the ability to keep such animals would have limited my knowledge and skills, unfortunately by being pushed from the bush growing up into town living as an adult that initial interest was taking a backseat. The road forward in keeping Natives and increasing the list of allowable species does have some negatives ie; designer pets and unwanted animals but I do believe that the keeping of snakes for example has reduced the number of people who shovel them and a greater acceptance of nature. Some of us out there are learning and in turn trying to educate others. Hopefully in time the species list increases to include other animals that suit people who are not into what is currently there.
All-inclusive generalisations ignore the important fact that while some things may be true of a percentage of people, there are also thosethat to which they do not apply. Any increase in the number of people interested in our native animals is a positive. However, this cannot happen if we do not provide the opportunity for it to happen.
A desire to learn about the natural history of the animals being kept was not what was meant by developing ?an interest? or?awareness? in native animals. What was in fact implied was a general interest in native animals as whole. The more generalised the interest, the better, as it incorporates all those members of a group not being kept. The sort of interest referred to is that which might lead to someone watching a TV program on native animals or reading a newspaper or internet article about them. Where these programs or articles contain reference to aspects of conservation, then this should serve to increase awareness of this issue in the reader. I think it a fair presumption to say that without that the reality provided by keeping, this sort of interest is less likely to develop in a lot of cases.
The stated requirements for achieving change or reform, and the roles that keepers of native animals might have to play, seem over-the- top. I mean, there are millions of cat owners in Australia, yet despite such a huge potential opposition, a range of restrictive controls have been introduced throughout the country in recent years. How then did these changes come about? They certainly didn?t happen because politicians had nothing better to do, so decided to get up the noses of their cat-keeping constituents to alleviate the boredom. Nor did it involve banner bearing hordes waving placards while marching down the main street. It requires only a very few activists to start the ball rolling and then a show of support from everyday people. That ?show of support? can be as simple and easy as writing a letter, typing an internet post or clicking a ?like?, making a phone-call, signing a petition or some other simple measure - as suggested,encouraged and co-ordinated by those few prepared to play a more active role. The actual percentage of a population required to demonstrate their support, in order to galvanise politicians into action, is surprisingly minute.
The whole notion of legalising keeping of a wider range of native animals is not being touted as a panacea to cure all of the problems currently be setting them. It will also, no doubt create a few difficulties of its own, as is the case with keeping of all types of pets. However, it does have the potential for making a positive contribution. How much and what effect, remains to be seen. The idea is being put forward because of this potential it has to help. Shooting it down in flames, either by denying it has this positive potential, or by putting obstacles in the way, can only be viewed as a retrograde step in trying to tackle a particularly vexing problem.
I know I am probably preaching to the converted here - but we all know what happens when breeding groups of an apex predator find themselves in a place where the prey have no defences from them , they wipe them out (because they are easy prey) and they breed up and the number apex predators increases exponentially until suddenly there is no more prey left to eat (they've been exterminated). The apex predators then starve and die off (we are talking cats (and to lesser extent dogs here) so the loopy cat lovers will view the starvation of these cats as a horrible event and will want them to be rescued).Something is very wrong with this.
More sensible to sterilise all cats and remove / kill of all roaming cats (domestic or otherwise) and make it mandatory to keep cats indoors 100% of the time, and thereby give the indigenous wildlife a fighting change to recover providing they are not already past the point of having a large enough genetic pool to recreate a sustainable population. Keeping indigenous animals as pets can assist in this recovery, even more so if the species are endangered (a case where human intervention is desireable and warranted) and the only thing stopping this from happening are current rules regarding keeping these animals in the various states (some more restrictive than others) and a great lack of awareness by Joe Citisen and our political types.
There is no reason why fury indigenous animals can't become so tame that they will happily curl up on your lap and enjoy your company - it's only a matter of developing a strong trusting bond with these animals and not beyond many of their capabilities.