DR STEVEN SMITHTo investigate current methods of wildlife research and management in world heritage areas and biosphere reserves - Argentina, Chile, Canada, USA
Since completing the Fellowship in 1991, Dr Smith went on to become Senior Zoologist, Manager of the Private Forest Reserves Program, and then Manager of the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program, before retiring from the Tasmanian public service in 2008. Since then he has taught English as a Foreign Language in Brisbane, completed a Master of Education degree by conducting fieldwork in Cuba on the teaching of English in Cuba; and worked on the Cuban adult literacy program for Australian Aborigines. He is now volunteering on community projects in Colombia, when not in Tasmania.
The study included talks in Spanish at the Head Offices of the National Parks Services of Argentina and Chile (in Buenos Aires and Santiago respectively), and field studies in Patagonia at Los Glaciares National Park (Argentina) and Torres del Paine NP (Chile). In Chile I also visited and studied the management of Lauca NP in the high deserts of northern Chile; and in Argentina, I conducted fieldwork in Iguazu NP on the northern border with Brazil. All of these places are World Heritage Areas. From there, I went to study World Heritage Management in Everglades NP and Yellowstone NP in the USA: and then to Gros Morne NP and the Rocky Mountains NP in Canada. The study took place over three months in 1991.
FELLOWSHIP CONCLUSIONS & OUTCOMES
Among the conclusions were that management of visitor impacts is the most important factor in successful WHA management. Among the recommendations were that in high use areas, visitor movement be controlled through a permit system. This has been implemented for the Overland Track between Cradle Mountain and Lake St Clair. Similarly, vehicle impacts should be controlled in specific areas by the introduction of shuttle buses. This has occurred at Dove Lake, Cradle Mountain. Use of dry composting toilets in remote areas was recommended and is occurring in many Tasmanian national parks. In terms of wildlife conservation, specific management plans were recommended for rare and threatened species and these are now being implemented, and as a general principle, visitors should be discouraged from feeding wild animals. In accordance with the report´s recommendations, a “Keep Wildlife Wild” program was introduced throughout national parks in Tasmania.