INDIGENOUS COLLABORATION VITAL TO CONSERVATION RESEARCH OUTCOMES
ARC-supported researchers have produced hard data that demonstrates that collaborating with Indigenous peoples changed the outcome of a scientific research project. It is the first empirical evidence that culturally-diverse teams produce improved results in conservation research. Dr Georgia Ward-Fear, a conservation biologist and herpetologist (someone who studies amphibians and reptiles) from the School of Life and Environmental Sciences at The University of Sydney, said this was the first published study to measure the scientific contribution that Indigenous peoples bring to a research project, beyond the moral or ethical value. Dr Ward-Fear and her team have been working to protect large goannas from the devastating impacts of invasive, poisonous cane toads. The aversion training, developed with ARC Australian Laureate Fellow, Emeritus Professor Rick Shine, has been hugely successful and is now being rolled out on a large scale via the Cane Toad Coalition, a consortium of scientists, and conservation organisations with extra support from the WA Parks and Wildlife service. The researchers say the success of the initial project would not have been possible without the input of the Balanggarra Rangers, who are traditional owners of the land. Working with their unique skillsets, the animals spotted by the Indigenous rangers responded better to the conservation technique and drove the significant results.
"THE INDIGENOUS RANGERS HAVE AMAZING OBSERVATION SKILLS AND ABILITY TO SEE ANIMALS IN A LANDSCAPE. THEY COULD SEE THE SHAPE OF A GOANNA WHEN THEY WERE NOT MOVING, WERE IN THE SHADE OR DAPPLED LIGHT, OR FROM MUCH FURTHER AWAY,” DR WARD-FEAR SAYS.
Dr Georgia Ward-Fear, with brothers Herbert (left) and Wesley Alberts about to release 'Barney.’ Melissa Bruton. Credit: The University of Sydney.
INDIGENOUS RESEARCH AND COLLABORATION
Made with FlippingBook - Online magazine maker