Bush tucker, bush pets, and bush threats: Cooperative management of feral animals in Australia's Kakadu National Park

C ROBINSON, D SMYTH, Peter Whitehead

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    Although feral animal management is often based on the proposition that introduced species threaten ecological and conservation values, that view is not necessarily shared by all stakeholders, including those indigenous people who own and co-manage Kakadu National Park with Australia's federal government. Drawing on field-based interviews with the Jawoyn people, we found that these indigenous people categorize water buffalo (Bubalus bubalis) as an important food source (tucker), view horses (Equus caballus) as bush pets, and consider pigs (Sus scrofa) a threat to their lands. As a result, Jawoyn people want more water buffalo in the park, have high tolerance of environmental damage caused by horses, and are open to the idea that pig population densities should be reduced. Jawoyn also advocate an adaptive and participatory approach to feral animal control so that the consequences of any management actions can be properly understood before irrevocable change occurs. These findings highlight one example of how indigenous people's ecological knowledge has adapted in response to changing landscapes and community aspirations. Co-management strategies that aim to incorporate the dynamics of indigenous people's views need to start with issues on which there is agreement between different groups and take a cautious approach to joint exploration of more contentious issues. That approach should include ongoing and on-site monitoring so that the consequences of management actions can be properly understood and comprehensively negotiated by all parties. �2005 Society for Conservation Biology.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1385-1391
    Number of pages7
    JournalConservation Biology
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 2005

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