19th January - Species Loss

I like to walk. I can walk for hours. When I retired I increased my walking. However everywhere I walked I saw destruction of my beloved bushland. When I would ask someone why they were destroying their block of land they would invariably reply with something that meant they were improving their block not destroying it.

I had two choices. I could have become more and more depressed or I could do something about it. Hence Wirrapunga and this web-site.

I am absolutely appalled at our current loss of species in the Adelaide Hills. When I came here forty years ago there were native orchids from one end of Stock Road to the other. Today there are a couple of patches. Just four years ago there was a wonderful patch of a few hundred King Spider Orchids at the western end of Stock Road. I spent an hour or two pollinating them to try and increase their numbers. A few days later the Council Slasher came along. There are no spider orchids there now.

Our local council has a system whereby indigenous roadside vegetation is marked so that slasher drivers can leave it alone. However the markers are not maintained. I nearly gave up when a slasher driver ignored these markers and destroyed part of Wirrapunga's road frontage.

The loss of birds in the Mount Lofty Ranges over the last forty years has been dramatic. Nearly all our migratory insect eating birds are gone. It is probably useless to even talk about saving fauna in the Mount Lofty Ranges. It is already gone. We probably have to start at the beginning with our flora.

It is for these reasons that I am pleading for our flora. We can still save our flora. If we can do that then we can again try saving our fauna. There are bits and pieces that can be gathered up, nurtured and restored. If we want to.

If we could only get as much interest in saving our indigenous flora and fauna as we have in bringing a couple of pandas to our local zoo it would be a breeze. Why is it that a couple of foreign animals can create so much interest and investment when our indigenous species are considered worthless? Of course pandas are wonderful. But are they more wonderful than platypuses? Surely not.