Australia’s Fires Highlight the Need for Better Management of Native and Feral Wildlife

Australia is being ravaged by the worst wildfires seen in decades. At least 28 people have died. Shockingly, an estimated billion animals have perished in the massive blazes and environmentalists fear the fires will drive some species to extinction. I had the honor of meeting Greg Twemlow, a business and startup coach in Australia. We recently discussed the situation in his country, his concerns about native species’ ability to rebound from the fires and the need for better animal management solutions. Here’s our conversation.

Greg Twemlow

RH: What is your interest in seeing wild populations brought under control – business, concerned citizen, animal advocate?
GT: My comments are framed by the situation in my home country, Australia. And I’d say in opening that the people who colonized this country came with knowledge based on their homeland and you couldn’t imagine a more different environment in Australia to that of Britain. The colonizers didn’t know what they didn’t know and they set about emulating the kinds of farming practices that worked well in Britain. Their practices introduced species and animal husbandry methods that worked well at home, but which struggled in the enormous, hot and dry land of Australia.

In 2020, we’ve seen incredible and widespread damage to the natural habitat of so many animals. More than one billion animals have perished so far as a result of the fires. However, it hasn’t been the feral animals like brumbies (horses) and camels that can run from the fires. It’s more the smaller native animals that tend to try and scurry to safety. They have truly suffered. After the fires it’ll be so important to try and ensure the balance between native and feral animals is restored.

RH: What is government’s role and where have they failed the land, the animals and humans?
GT: I suspect that governments are similar the world over in their interest and ability to be proactive about feral animals. Australia couldn’t be regarded as best practice, and that’s not a criticism of our government. The country is too big and the human population too small to have feral animals under control. I think governments generally have a duty to manage the environment and that means they must control feral animals, or at least oversee the control. Until now the means to do that have been expensive and largely ineffective.

RH: Do the old solutions for population control work; the roundups, hunts, adoptions, and looking the other way?
GT: Those 20th-century solutions don’t solve the problem, are often cruel and are cost-prohibitive.  21st-century solutions like WPM’s remote vaccine system hold great promise for a more caring and humane approach to keeping feral animals within manageable numbers that can be sustained by their environment.

RH: Why should wefrom all sides of the issuebe open to new solutions?
GT: Traditional control methods haven’t worked, have taken scarce funds and have barely made an impact. Feral animal populations continue to thrive and increase. Albert Einstein is widely credited with saying, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” And Albert was right. It would be insane to continue to spend on traditional control methods and expect to succeed.

RH: What’s your opinion of WPM’s Remote Wildlife Vaccine Delivery System?
GT: It’s well past the time when creativity is needed and a fresh approach that is based on animal husbandry and behavior. It’s why I see WPM as so innovative; the system is designed to become part of the environment and the daily routines of the animals.

The WPM solution is the first I have seen that is based on humane methods that have the potential to get the feral animal population down to a manageable level and to keep it there. We can’t allow feral animal populations to grow to the extent they have because our native environments will literally be destroyed, and when that happens the feral animals will die slow and painful deaths and the environment will have been totally degraded.

RH: Why do we owe it to the horses, camels, humans, and planet implement to new solutions for population management?
GT: We are the custodians of earth, and as such we are responsible for the care of all living species and the overall environment. It’s conceivable that with unlimited funds and people willing to shoot the animals, that numbers could be greatly reduced. We also know that an approach like that is morally and ethically impossible. We are left with finding a humane pathway to feral animal control to get numbers back into balance with nature.

Recently here in Australia, we’ve experienced the catastrophic burning of over 100,000 square kilometers of native forests. What’s clear is that while over one billion animals perished in the fires, the native habitats will take as much as 100 years to recover and that introduced species, like feral pigs, will find ways to thrive while native species will struggle. In the coming years and decades, Australia will likely have an explosion in the numbers of feral animals. The time for changing our approach to feral animal management is now.

WPM Co-Founder Roch Hart

The WPM Remote Wildlife Vaccine Delivery System is a patented, groundbreaking approach to achieving population goals in wild and feral animals in the most humane, safe and efficient manner possible, one that preserves species and habitats. Our patented system is designed to deliver vaccines and contraceptives, monitor health, track locations, and capture critical data on individual animals and their management.To learn more about the WPM Remote Wildlife Vaccine Delivery System, visit our website. You can also reach out to me here. Thanks for your support!

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