Why is Australia so afraid of a gorilla? – Live from Sydney’s Kings Cross train station
Posted November 03, 2018 19:40:36 While there are plenty of reasons why Australia is so fearful of a human-gorilla conflict, one of the biggest is the country’s lack of a formal wildlife protection plan.
That is because while Australia has some of the strictest hunting laws in the world, it does not have an equivalent law for a gorilla, making the country one of just four nations without one.
“Australia has a very, very low level of support for wildlife conservation, and the threat of the gorilla is something that is just too big for us to be able to tackle,” says John Dutton, chief executive of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS).
“It’s very, quite simply, too big of a threat to Australia.”
But what is a gorilla and why is it so important?
“The gorilla is the largest of all the animals in the genus Gorilla and has a population that is in excess of 70,000,” says Dr Chris Tewksbury, a wildlife expert and professor at the University of Western Australia.
“It is an apex predator and, of course, its habitat is extremely large.
“And of course it’s an invasive species in many parts of the world. “
“There are a number of factors which make it so difficult to deal with, and of course the gorilla’s presence in Australia is a major one.” “
What is the gorilla doing here? “
There are a number of factors which make it so difficult to deal with, and of course the gorilla’s presence in Australia is a major one.”
What is the gorilla doing here?
The majority of gorillas in the wild live in the bush or in remote areas, but there are exceptions, like the gorilla living in the Kimberley National Park.
“Gorillas are very social animals, and they will have a social group, so if they’re in a group of a hundred people, that’s going to make it very difficult for the human to get to them,” says Professor Tewssbury.
“The social nature of the gorillas is something which is very different to that of the human, which is the human tends to live in small groups, so it’s hard to get along with them.”
What do we do about it?
There is no formal protection plan in place for the gorilla, but some of Australia’s wildlife agencies have stepped up patrols and hunting licences to help the government control the animal.
The government has set aside about $10 million to help local communities deal with the threat, with $3.5 million of that earmarked for wildlife and habitat management.
But it is unclear how much of that money will be used for hunting.
“As I said, the gorilla population is so large and so numerous that we have no real mechanism in place to deal directly with the problem,” says Ms Tewmsbury.
There are also no national or international regulations governing what the government does with a gorilla found in the country.
“We have not even had a national or an international policy in place that would specifically deal with a situation like the one we’re seeing in South Africa,” she says.
“So we have to be very careful, because if we get to a situation where a gorilla is found in South African society, it will be extremely difficult for us, because we’ve got very, many of these species that are in South Africans society.”
Are we alone?
It is not just the population of the wild gorilla that is being threatened.
There have been other gorilla sightings in South Australia.
And there are also a number in Tasmania.
Professor Tesler agrees that the threat to the bush gorillas from humans is growing, but he says there are other factors at play, including the way they interact with humans.
“What we have seen is that when they’re social, they’re actually much more cooperative with us than we would expect,” he says.
But he says the situation has not improved since the bush invasion in the 1970s.
“I think we’ve been getting a little bit lucky because of the bush gorilla,” he said.
“That’s probably because we’re not as aggressive as we might have been in the past, but also, the way that we’re looking for them and how we’re interacting with them is a little different now.”