Recently, my Jordanian friend Basel, wrote to me thus –
When I was a child I was one time somewhere in a zoo, and there was a huge sign written Here you see the most dangerous animal on earth. All visitors watched in a mirror and saw themselves. And you see it worked, I still remember this! Animals are not calculating like humans, so they have a better character. (Basel’s words).
Today I took my dog to the vet’s and I was chatting to everyone who was waiting with their pet. A young man came into the clinic with his one year old Laborador/Staffie cross. The dog was a friendly dog despite the fact one of its back legs was in a plaster cast. The man told me that his home was burgled recently and when the dog barked at the intruders, they set upon it with a hammer, smashing its back leg and its teeth. The police weren’t particularly interested in the case and didn’t take any DNA samples. I suspect that this event is all too common or why would burglers be carrying hammers?
It certainly takes a ‘special’ sort of person who could set upon a living creature with a hammer.
Well, the newspapers are full of such stories, and if you follow my blogs you’ll read quite a few similar stories. Just read my last blog on private and public zoos to see how disinterested some people are in animal rights.
Elle MacPherson’s recent admission that she relies on rhino horn makes you wonder what she sees in her mirror. Rhinos are critically endangered because of people like Elle, who basically put a contract on a rhino’s life by demanding its horn. Apparently Elle thinks that her beauty, as skin deep as it so obviously is, is so important to the world that it is worth the lives of any number of endangered animals. Elle is the genius who is quoted as saying that she wouldn’t have any books in her home unless she’d written them. Well, hello Elle, did you know that the trade in rhino horn is illegal?
However, as with yin and yang ie good/bad; light/dark; night/day – there are also many people who are concerned about the lives and welfare of animals.
IN a real-life fairytale, an American millionaire has bequeathed $8 million to the Mannum-based Wombat Awareness Organisation.
The millionaire, whose family has requested anonymity, unexpectedly visited the team of volunteers about two years ago to see the southern hairy-nosed wombats in the wild.
“I took him out into the wild population and showed him wombats with mange, wombats that were starving to death and wombats with burrows from motorbike tyres,” the director said.
The millionaire, who worked in the horse-racing industry, was captivated by the volunteers’ tireless efforts to save what may be becoming an endangered icon.
The Director, Brigitte Stevens, who currently works to help pay bills, including last year’s $70,000 vet fees – wants to buy two properties in the Murraylands and run a 24-hour free vet advice phone clinic.
Pity the poor wombat. They are the farmer’s enemy because they dig burrows on their farms. In NSW farmers can apply for permits to shoot wombats that burrow under fences. In parts of Victoria, wombats are treated as vermin and no permit is required to shoot them. Is there any native animal that pleases a farmer – I ask you? I doubt it. Kangaroos, wombats, sulphur crested cockatoos, flying foxes, dingoes and the rest are all animal non grata for farmers. They poison them, shoot them and trap them.
A biologist, Erin Roger, is also working to draw attention to the plight of wombats – this time in protected reserves.
According to the Sun-Herald, 18th July, 2010 , at least 3,000 wombats are killed each year on 800 kilometres of NSW highway that fall within the wombat’s reserved optimal habitat.
Each year, over 13.6% of the common wombat population living in the optimal habitat of NSW’s protected reserves, are run over by cars and trucks.
You’d think that the wombats would be safe in specially designated wombat reserves, wouldn’t you? Well, just as they do with koala colonies, the government cheerfully builds highways right through wombat habitats.
I have already discussed this matter in my post roslynmotter.com/2010/03/11/pity-about-the-australian–koala
It is heartbreaking to see so many native animals – wombats, possums, parrots, kangaroos and koalas – squashed on the roads every morning. There is no device in place to stop kangaroos jumping over the highway on the outskirts of Canberra for starters. It also breaks my heart to see the dozens of dead sulphur crested cockatoos on the M7 Motorway every morning. This is because the motorway was built right through their habitat.
Working to save the microbat, is Dr Brad Law from the science and research division of industry and investment of NSW. NSW is home to an unknown number of microbat species. Microbats play an important part in the ecosystem due to the large numbers of insects they consume – up to 1.5 times their own body weight in one night. Their numbers are falling as urban development encroaches on their habitat. (Sun-Herald 27th June, 2010)
An entomologist who is doing marvellous work saving the Lord Howe Island phasmid (stick insect), is Dr. Stephen Fellenberg. However, due to the escape of rats from a sinking ship, many species native to the island have been wiped out.
One of those species, a rare stick insect (Phasmid), was originally thought to be extinct. When a few survivors were found on the island, Dr Fellenberg agreed to breed them so that the island population could be restocked.
His wife, Lynn Bowden, is also doing marvellous work helping Australian native animals – this time the koala. She has been working with a group of scientists, volunteers and the local community in the south west Sydney region to study a small population of koalas.
She told me that there is an organisation called Koala Retreat which is dedicated to establishing a tree planting program to supply good quality of leaves to koalas in zoos and wildlife parks and to extending the natural corridors for koalas in the wild.
So what can you do? I support organisations such as Wires, which protects Australian wildlife.
You could also start your own animal sanctuary http://www.startananimalsanctuary.com/54/working-with-animals-do-what-you-love/
The government has some ideas http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/publications/kids.html However I find any suggestions that they make as laughable considering they give farmers carte blanche to shoot anything that bugs them/ and also are actively building highways through their habitats. Developers give donations to major political parties which don’t go unrewarded and some politicians have close personal links with developers who steal habitat from native animals.
However, look in the mirror and see what you can do to help Australian wildlife.
To see some great animal shots (some tragic) go to https://mail.google.com/mail/?shva=1#inbox/12b5bca5be92f014