Friday, 7 June 2013

Why have Aussies turned "chicken"?

  I reckon our society is really learning to embrace and own the word “pathetic” with energetic gusto. It's time to "man up" Australia.  I mean, how pitiful is it that people now buy specialised household insecticide for use outside their homes?  Isn’t that where all the useful bees, butterflies and beetles should be living unmolested?  Are we really so terrified of cockroaches and mosquitoes that we’re prepared to consider everything else (including possibly ourselves) as collateral damage?  And what have ants ever done to earn a reputation as public enemy number one? They’ve been efficiently helping human beings tidy up their biscuit crumbs for thousands of years, yet the amount of supermarket shelving devoted to seeking out and destroying this perceived threat to national security 
is staggering.

 Don’t even start me on spiders.  So they have a different number of legs to that just cause to turn tough, boofy, blokes into nervous, timorous, trembling fools at the mere sight of one?  The fact that arachnids are loyal allies in our chemical war against mosquitoes doesn’t seem to have won them any friends at all.  The truth is, that even the demonised mosquito has a role to fill in the finely balanced workings of this planet...they provide vital food to all the cute little frogs, birds and bats that David Attenborough recruits for star billing in his TV charm offensives .

 Regretfully David, few people seem to be getting the real gist of your message. We have become, not just estranged from the natural world, but unnaturally afraid of it. So, for example, instead of thinking of possums as miraculous wildlife survivors in our urbanised environment, they are demonised for the inexcusable crime of treading too heavily on our rooftops with their furry little feet! It’s this disconnection that has eroded the sense of stewardship that Australians once had for our richly diverse land. So now, big open-cut mining projects can destroy whole forests with barely a whimper, consideration for koala populations runs a poor second to development applications and the kangaroo, our national symbol, is turned into cat food, with little complaint.

 On a broader scale..iconic places such as the Great Barrier Reef and the Kimberley replete with endangered Aussie animals are being sacrificed to the resource industry before our very eyes.  So next time you go to squash an insect...maybe you should ask yourself...”is this all going to end in tears?”

Why have Aussies turned "chicken" ?

Come on guys..stand up for nature! At least try and help save the Great Barrier Reef!  Sign the petition.

PS: no animal was harmed in the production of this blog. I advocate kindness towards chickens.

Monday, 3 June 2013

Tails of the Unexpected.

  I love Possums.  To me they represent an endearing resilience, a capacity to survive and adapt to the urbanisation of their habitat, against all odds.   
 In Sydney’s “Northern Beaches” area, we have three kinds of possum the “Common Brushtail”, which prefers to live in tree hollows formed by mature eucalypts, the smaller “Ringtail”, which generally builds its own nest (called a drey) out of twigs and leaves and the tiny endangered Eastern Pygmy Possum, listed as “vulnerable in NSW. These cute marsupials are vestiges of the incredible rich diversity of wildlife that was here prior to European colonisation. A fascinating glimpse of what once existed can be found in the Natural History Museum’s First Fleet Artwork Collection (Port Jackson Paintings, Flora and fauna).  Here we can see long lost inhabitants such as the Potoroo, Dingo, Yellow Bellied Glider, Marsupial Mice, Emu and the now totally extinct White Footed Tree Rat.

 Even until fairly recently we still had small remnant populations of Platypus and Koalas on the Northern Beaches that eventually couldn’t cope with city living any longer and gradually disappeared.  Miraculously, Possums are still here, as a living reminder of our wilder past, despite being vilified by some. (Perhaps there’s a fur envy thing going on?) Possums, being nocturnal, are active at night, which accounts for their protruding eyes and shy disposition. The greatest enemies of the Possum are the cat and the car. So please, drive carefully and keep your moggie in at night. The average domestic cat kills 25 native animals a year and even if a captured possum seems unharmed, it is likely to die within 36 hours from shock or from toxins carried in the cat’s saliva.
If you find an injured possum please call Sydney Wildlife’s Rescue Hot line on 9413 4300 or WIRES on 1300 094 73    Sydney Wildlife website

The Brushtail Possum (a protected species in NSW)
To make a Possum feel really at home, why not locate a nesting box in your own backyard? Ask Sydney Wildlife or WIRES for details or Google “Possum Box Design” to find a plan and make your own.