Liar Liar Birds on Fire!

So the spectacular Blue-bearded Helmetcrest – a hummingbird that was last seen in 1946 – was ‘rediscovered’ according to ProAves, a massive bird NGO working in South America.  Firstly lets just note that just because a ‘conservationist’ or a ‘scientist’ has not seen something does not mean that it has disappeared. This is a broadly arrogant statement that pitches institutionalised science as the priests who can access objective knowledge and everyone else with their subjective knowledge. Its bullshit. Go read Bruno Latour.

Anyway that is not why I am posting this comment. I read the accounts of the sighting of this bird and there is continual denigration of the people that share the land with this bird. They are completely blamed for this birds limited numbers. The fire and cattle regimes used by two local groups of people (you might call them tribes or indigenous people) are identified as destroying the habitat these birds live in. Where is the proof of these claims?

My point is I doubt the situation is so simple, there is probably a lot of hidden interests at play that I as the reader will not know about, there is also the pressures that a region face from neighbouring zones, in particular those of urbanisation, state-making, land theft and being pushed to the boundaries. Furthermore ‘science’ has a long history of denigrating slash and burn agriculture and the use of fire for habitat maintenance, much of which is simply based on incorrect assumptions by people who live in urban jungles where they are taught that fire is scary.

I don’t know about this stories context, but that does not mean some bird NGO has the right to go around defaming a whole region of people without giving me some well grounded proof. In the meantime ProAves should keep its potentiallyt discriminatory and neo-colonial rhetoric to itself and enjoy having spotted a beautiful bird.

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