A Vanishing Kind

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Hi John
Thanks for the book—I finished it in one session (I couldn’t put it down!!).
I thought I knew a little about the problems you went through, but I had no idea of the extent of the corruption and outright stupidity you had to put up with!!
I guess the satisfaction you can derive from what happened, is that , despite the problems, your ideas (which are now “best practice for everybody”) have resulted in many of Australia’s threatened species only surviving now, which wouldn’t be here if the “experts” had their way.





‘A VANISHING KIND’ – review by David Higgs MBE, MSc, Director of The Environmental Press Agency

‘A Vanishing Kind’, by Dr John Wamsley and Stephen Davey, is a joy to read. It tells more than just the story of Earth Sanctuaries Limited (ESL) that Australian mathematics professor turned pioneering conservationist, John Wamsley, founded in 1988 and that later became the world's first stock market listed company dedicated to saving Australia's most endangered species.

Such a book has been needed for a very long time. It should be on the essential reading list of any student of the environment or conservation. Wamsley’s controversial, radical, pragmatic approach revolutionised conservation in Australia.

The book hooked me from the minute I opened its covers. It is a gripping ‘roller-coaster’ story, thorough, well-written, objective, tragic and painful in places, nevertheless told with affection and respect for a stubborn, opinionated, unapologetic, single-minded, obsessive, passionate and brilliant individual. It had me laughing and it had me in tears.

It is a fascinating journey through the mind and experience of a shy and damaged child who grew to be one of Australia’s most significant and forthright conservation trailblazers. It signposts the loneliness and risks to mind and body faced by radical and logical thinkers in times of ignorance and the perils of being too far ahead of your time. It also offers an equally fascinating insight into the mindset of his many opponents whose thinking did not venture beyond their own prejudices and assumptions that putting a monetary value on a species was about personal greed and not about ‘translating love into hope’ for species survival. This book establishes Dr John Wamsley and Earth Sanctuaries at the forefront of conservation innovation in Australia. Wamsley sums it up thus, ‘Our duty is to give the next generation a choice. If it’s gone, then they haven’t got a choice.’ What is little known is that back in 1991 a visit to Warrawong inspired Martin Copley to found the Australian Wildlife Conservancy, and it was Wamsley who built their first sanctuary, Karakamia, in Western Australia. The book charts how Wamsley tried to address the disconnect between much of the fundamentally urban population of Australia and its unique natural heritage. Ultimately, Wamsley was unsuccessful in his efforts to bridge this gulf and was, ironically, brought down by a system created by a status quo afflicted with that very deficiency.

One is dumb struck by the often petty and sometimes contradictory impediments and regulations presented by different departments and different states in order to confound his progress. Examples of jealousy, contradictory offers of government cooperation and simultaneous obstruction abound. It speaks volumes about the mindset of ministers and departments charged with the conservation of Australia’s unique habitat and wildlife that chose to be indifferent and allow the unimpeded disintegration of Earth Sanctuaries and the consignment of thousands of rare and endangered wildlife to an uncertain future.

Wamsley was the uncompromising protagonist of feral-proof fencing and the ruthless eradication of all feral, non-indigenous and invasive species from areas dedicated to wildlife conservation. For this, thirty years ago, he was vilified, arrested, faced legal action and death threats. Today his conservation methodology is recognised as ‘best practice’.  Australia owes him a huge debt of gratitude.


Official Review: A Vanishing Kind

Unread post by Teele » 13 Nov 2020, 16:26
[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "A Vanishing Kind" by John Wamsley and Stephen L Davey.]
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4 out of 4 stars

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Have you observed kangaroos in the wild? It could be pleasurable to watch them move about gracefully in their natural habitat. However, keeping plants and animals safe in their habitat can be a daunting task. A Vanishing Kind by John Wamsley and Stephen L. Davey is a biography that gives a detailed account of the struggles that went into the establishment of the Earth Sanctuaries Limited Company in Australia.

John was a born bush-lover. The opening chapters of the book describe how John rose above difficulties and grew into a strong and industrious youth. His love of mathematics did not keep him away from the bush. John's intimate knowledge of the workings of the natural environment aided his efforts in conservation. It was eye-opening to read about the influence of feral plants and animals. John and Proo stood against the odds and created an organization that kept native plants and animals safe from extinction. However, how would the company fare against corrupt officials and changing government regulations? Would John succeed in keeping the bush as a permanent part of his life?

A Vanishing Kind was written with a professional touch. The narrative is straightforward in an easy-to-read format. It contains valuable information on plants and animals. I gleaned some facts about the relationship between woody pines and surrounding vegetation. I also learned a few tricks on keeping animals within a fenced perimeter. There is much to learn from John Wamsley. Through the ups and downs in life, he remained determined and positive. His strength of character is admirable. He is a go-getter. This is what I love most about him. At a point, the 'world' turned its back on his mission, yet, he managed to survive with Proo's support. His story emphasized the value of having the proper motive for chosen pursuits in life.

This book is free of sexual and violent scenes. The book is also suitable for readers of all religious sensitivities. However, there were instances of non-borderline profanities in the text. The narrative was written in simple grammar to aid understanding. Relevant pictures are positioned in strategic locations throughout the book. The pictures lent credence to the story and made it much more engaging.

I would rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. I have no dislikes about this book. The text was free of typographical and grammatical errors. The order of events was well-arranged without confusion. It contains a wealth of information on wildlife conservation techniques. I would recommend this book to lovers of wildlife conservation and to others who love biographies.