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Posted by Scott Thomson on March 12, 2002 at 08:08:32:
In Reply to: Ok...another hobbyist type question posted by Todd Evans on March 12, 2002 at 02:54:06:
I will give you my opinion as to why it seems to happen so much in Australia.
1. we have the most overbearing and ridiculous legislation on reptiles and amphibians in the world. This includes that it is virtually impossible for anyone but a professional to do valid research, ie get funding, be allowed near the animals etc. Having examined over 10000 museum specimens I can assure you that 80% of the specimens were collected illegaly.
2. Our proffessionals are very guarded of their presumed right to be the only ones to study animals in this country. This is backed up by government policy.
3. Many amatures are therefore rather pissed about that.
4. Some of the amatures have been very badly treated by both the authorities (eg Ray Hoser) and by the Professionals (eg Richard Wells). Much of that treatment was undeserved. (don't get me wrong, I may have criticised both Ray and Richard on this site but I do so professionally, I criticise their publications and work, never them. I have the utmost respect for both of them).
5. Our professionals are on the whole (despite their claims) a fairly useless bunch, overly conservative, and think more of their cushy uni and museum jobs and their perceived niches, than they do about the species. They are also driven by our rather naive government down academic paths that are not particulary useful to the species involved.
This has in summary caused some major holes in the basic science of our wildlife, eg their taxonomy, and a number of amatures have taken it upon themselves to fill that hole. That would be a good thing except for two things. One they are sometimes doing shoddy work and second when this is questioned or attacked they take it personally and get defensive, leading to them striking back.
All in all its not a particularly useful situation, I see no way through it, which is one of the reasons I am retiring. Basically I am sick to death of it.