New research has found that a significant proportion of the country supports protecting culturally significant species.

The Biodiversity Council’s Concerns Report was undertaken by Monash University’s Behaviour Works Research Centre and surveyed 3,400 people from across the country.

Here are some of the survey’s key findings:

95% of Australians (19 in 20) want the federal government to spend more on nature. 

75% of Australians (3 in 4) want 2% or more of the federal budget spent on nature. This would be more than a five-fold increase of current investments.

7 in 10 people support strengthening environmental laws to support nature (73%) and to protect native species habitats from development (69%).

64% of Australians (6 in 10) think it’s very important that Australia meets its international obligations to stop or reduce the extinction of plants and animals

96% of Australians (almost all) believe it is important for renewable energy infrastructure to minimise impacts on nature, and 57% believe it is very important.

71% of Australians (3 in 4) believe that governments should have a duty of care to protect future generations from environmental harm.

Biodiversity Council Co-Chief Councillor Yuin man Dr Jack Pascoe from the University of Melbourne, says threatened native species are having a cultural impact on mob.

“For mob, it’s not as straightforward as we don’t want these things to go extinct.

We have a relationship with these animals, we don’t want them to be to be harmed.

And that’s sort of more imminent in a lot of cases than extinction.

We want to ensure that culturally significant species are protected always.

And it’s super critical that we do look after them because they’re, they’re so integral to the way our culture has developed and what is such an ongoing connection with the species, part of my mob’s story comes from the whale songlines and where we came from is told in that story.

Now, if whales disappeared, because we failed to protect them, we lose our story of where we came from as a people.”

Mr Pascoe says the council has been looking into ways to allow Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders to boost culturally significant species in order to afford them more protections. under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.

“We think it’s important that indigenous knowledge is taken up in the currently listing mechanisms,” he says.

“So when a species becomes listed with or is listed as a threatened species, then indigenous knowledge helps to define the values of that species, but also how we look after it and care for an end of the future.”

He says mobs across the country are leading important conservation programs.

“There are some really wonderful programs going on right across the country.

For instance, there are mobs in the high country of Australia looking at how they can protect populations of Bogong moth, which is a really culturally significant species that, mobs came together for ceremony when moths are in the high country.

So they’re really cool projects there.

There are groups looking at how we ensure that whale song lines are protected across the country.

There really are quite a number of really good examples, I guess, everywhere and you see the work of, of mobs coming together to make a declaration about dingoes being protected across the country, because they’re, they’re often persecuted as, as wild dogs.

So I guess there’s some of the examples across the country of this culturally significant species led protection we’re starting to move on more.”

Photo by Steve Franklin on Unsplash