Cultural Connections: Biosecurity

Given the strong connection between culture and the natural ecosystems of the Wet Tropics, Rainforest Aboriginal People feel very strongly about threats to the health of these natural systems.

This is because it also threatens the health of their culture and impacts on their own personal and collective wellbeing.

They also have grave concerns about the impact of pests and weeds on their cultural values and sites.

Traditional Owners consider pigs, cane toads, introduced fish species, rabbits and cats as having a negative impact on plants and animals of cultural significance.

Feral animals such as pigs can have substantial impacts on places of cultural significance and resources used by Aboriginal people.

On the other hand, some Traditional Owners consider feral pigs an important food source which raises concerns about the use of poisonous baits and highlights the need to involve Traditional Owners in any planning process.

To date, there has been little work to determine the nature and extent of the impact of feral animals on Aboriginal values.

Another area of concern is the impact of weeds on fish species and stream health. Aboriginal people have different values for determining the significance of weeds than non-Aboriginal people.

There is a consistent call from Rainforest Aboriginal People for better partnerships with government and community in the management of pests and weeds, including the provision of employment opportunities.

Inspiring Traditional Owner Initiatives

Many Traditional Owners have undertaken training through government funded programs and are work-ready and passionate about making a difference. There are already some excellent examples of Traditional Owner groups undertaking important work in the management of pests and weeds.