Australia has a unique
flora and fauna population, as amazing in its own way as the Azores or Canary Islands, where isolation, by being an island,
from the rest of the world created incredible animal and plant life forms. Australia, as a continent, was
vastly underpopulated compared to the rest of the world. For thousands of years, only a few tens to hundreds
of thousands of people roamed the vast continent, living a hunter/gatherer nomadic lifestyle. Even these
people deposed a previous race here over 20,000 years ago, whose art forms can still be found in places throughout outback
When Australia was “discovered” and colonized after the mapping of the continent “Terra
Australis” by Captain James Cook, the country was ripe for plunder and the British colonised Australia rapidly, starting
from Sydney and expanding in all directions throughout the country.
This rapid expansion
created enormous changes in other ways. As grazing stock was introduced to pasture lands west of the ranges,
water was provided for them. With animals such as the kangaroo being “perennial” breeders,
breeding and multiplying rapidly whenever the amount of water required to raise young joeys occurred, populations of many
types of kangaroo and wallaby exploded to plague proportions, far beyond any populations of the animals ever known in Australia
The wider and faster that grazing spread, the more water was required and provided for those grazing
animals, the faster the populations of these native animals increased. With cyclical drought a natural
phenomena in Australia, vast numbers of both domestic and native animals perish, and the countryside is chewed and grazed
down to the extent that not only do the grazing animals perish from starvation, but the grazing land becomes denuded and can
become wind and water eroded irreparably.
Thus the cycle runs. Compounding this is the urban sprawl,
where cities and towns spread into the countryside, often concentrating traffic, water flows and polluting waste into sensitive
areas, further threatening endangered species of flora and fauna.
Now that the problems are becoming
more public, do-gooders are wanting to save the world, one furred animal at a time. Even the introduced pests, such as
rabbits, foxes and feral cats, pigs, camels and buffalo fall under the protection of the do-gooders, despite the havoc they
create. However, this is creating even more imbalance. There are far too many of certain
'popular' animals, and there are not enough natural predators to keep the numbers and ecology in a natural
balance. Unfortunately, this last fact is not recognised by enough people and animal rights protesters
still insist on saving the overcrowded populations of already stressed areas where kangaroo, wallaby, koala, emu and
many other native and introduced species thrive under good conditions. When the rain stops, they all starve.
The solution lies in restoring a natural balance in all areas, a sustainable balance of all native
animals, enough native pasture and bushland for maintenance of populations and ecosystems. There are areas
where the natural balance has been destroyed and cannot be rejuvenated. However, in many areas throughout
Australia, there are custodians in place – farmers and graziers, perhaps the best placed people of all to manage the
land, the wildlife and vegetation. However, the rules and regulations that are imposed by various government
bodies regulating culling of overpopulated animals, grazing regimes, cultivation for weed control, restrictions on water harvesting
and use need to be relaxed and replaced with a common-sense regime, policy created and maintained by people actually involved
in the implementation of the policies and practices and more importantly, affected by their outcomes.
Learn the difference between a conservationist and a "do-gooder"
educated about wildlife in Australia
Join a bushwalking or birdwatching club, or any club that gets out into
the bush and appreciates the flora and fauna diversity of this country
Take photographs and preserve the memories
of the bush and wildlife for children, to inspire them to preserve our heritage too, and to record changes in the local environment
to keep watch on developments
Consider farmers and graziers as conservationists, and give them responsibility to
manage the rural environoments they have custody of, rather than restricting their management capability over their land
Introduce programs to educate people about the truth of feral animal numbers, incuding cats and dogs, and their destructive
impact on local native wildlife populations
Insist on desexing of domestic cats and dogs, unless registered breeding
Take an interest in the wildlife, flora and fauna in your local area
Study the concept of sustainable
development and make up your own mind on what it is and what it means in your area
Research how many local species
have vanished from your area in the last decade. Was it from development, overpopulation of either domestic or native
species, or bushfire? Was this preventable? Is it reversible?