Why Is Wildlife Still Disappearing?

Thoughtful Australians are asking: Why are we still losing wildlife despite having more national parks and other reserves [“parks”] than ever before?

Research at the National University suggests that a major reason is that the parks are in the wrong places. Wrong? How?

Parks in Residual Areas

Too many parks are in residual areas – that is, in areas deemed unlikely to be profitable for human business of farming, logging, mining.

So wildlife is driven to forage on land that is relatively poor in nutrients and in nesting places. Similarly, marine parks are being opened to fishing, with consequent loss of fish-diversity.

Cities rapidly expand

Cities and large towns are expanding in every country, putting pressure on nearby countryside and its dependent wildlife. By 2030, two-thirds of Earth’s people will live in cities – with Australia one of the most urbanised of all.

In just three and a half decades the world’s cities will swell by 2.5 billion people!

As alarm at this prospect spreads, some people are calling for “re-wilding” measures to preserve and enhance natural habitat; others for “bewildering”, a broader concept, which means making provision for combined people’s and wildlife’s well-being.

“Re-wild” or “Bewilder”

As Bob Crombie explains, bewildering is “planting appropriate vegetation, removing rubbish, obstacles and weeds, and creating and enhancing habitat wherever we can, thus facilitating the process of allowing other species to live with us in our backyards, suburbs, cities, industrial areas and rural areas, and creating healthy surrounds for people.

We need to preserve old trees, for they have natural hollows that provide homes for many birds and animals. (It can take a tree 120-200 years to create hollows suitable for wildlife.) About 350 species use hollows for roosting or nesting.

A kind of religious faith

Bob Crombie has been a park ranger for many years; later, a TAFE lecturer in environmental management. He is a leader of the successful campaign for World Heritage Listing by UNESCO of Royal National Park. He recently observed:

“Royal National Park was a big part of my childhood and its wildness is a voice that never stops whispering. Wildness enters your pores by osmosis, and once it’s under your skin, good luck forgetting. The wild haunts the imagination, calling you back to places of vast sky and ever changing light, where solitude hunts for you and the edges of the world get ragged. These empty spaces are mirrors; they reflect back everything of yourself. They are teachers too, of a thousand lessons beyond anything our hands have made. Out there, time stops walking and takes on different hues, a bewildering experience.

“Royal National Park is recognised by the IUCN as a great treasure, one of the world’s great urban national parks entirely within and part of the great cities of Sydney and Wollongong. How fortunate we are.

“Nasho filled my being with the joy and mystery of living; it gave me reverence for all life and helped me to create a kinship with it where there is a place for all things in the scheme of existence with equal importance to all. It was a great place to touch the Earth and feel the Sun and Moon. Nasho was a great library and its books were the flowers, the trees, the rocks and streams that spoke in quiet voices whenever I had the presence to listen. I truly learned to do what only the student of Nature learns and that is to wonder. No need to rail at the storms, wind, rain, cold, ticks and leeches. It was all one.”


What sort of a National Park do we want?

Nature's revenge

by Gary Schoer, Secretary, Southern Sydney Branch of National Parks Association of NSW

My wife, Bronlyn, suggested to me the other day that we, perhaps still hanker after a Royal National Park we might have enjoyed 40 years ago, . . . → Read More: What sort of a National Park do we want?

Tribute from America for our NATIONAL PARK – the first ‘NATIONAL’ ever!

Uloola Falls, RNP. Photograph: Phil Smith

It’s from Lance Richardson, a New York-based writer who’s currently working on a book about Wolves and Wilderness. He’s Australian-born and knows our Royal National Park. In a long article (SMH, 25.4.15) he says, “I try to imagine Australia without the national parks. This takes quite an effort, because there are more than 500 . . . → Read More: Tribute from America for our NATIONAL PARK – the first ‘NATIONAL’ ever!

A Once in a Lifetime Opportunity

The holding of the Sixth World Parks Congress in Sydney from 12-19 November presented First National Park with a once in a life time opportunity to put the case for World Heritage listing of the Royal Reserves to a huge international conservation audience. Of the total 5,600 delegates 3,400 were from overseas and from . . . → Read More: A Once in a Lifetime Opportunity

Some Supporting Organisations and Eminent Individuals

NSW State Government and Opposition parties Sutherland Shire Council – unanimous support Wollongong Council – unanimous support

Australian Conservation Foundation Bob Brown Foundation Colong Foundation for Wilderness Ltd Conservation Council of South Australia Conservation Council of Western Australia Foundation for National Parks and WIldlife Geological Society of Australia GREENPEACE Australia Linnean Society of NSW . . . → Read More: Some Supporting Organisations and Eminent Individuals

World Significant Event comes to Sydney – and to the Royal! And to Sutherland 12 October!

Truly, a stroke of good fortune!

IUCN, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, will hold its next, once-in-a-decade Congress in Australia in November. In fact in Sydney.

That’s exciting! And now there’s news that the NSW Government, joined by the National Parks and Wildlife Service, has booked the Pensioners Centre in Sutherland . . . → Read More: World Significant Event comes to Sydney – and to the Royal! And to Sutherland 12 October!

Which was the world’s First National Park?

When people try to find the answer to the question of ‘which was the world’s first national park?’ the obvious approach is to compare the dates of their establishment. Hence we have Yellowstone National Park established in 1872 and Royal (as ‘National Park’) in 1879.

The fact is though that in these two . . . → Read More: Which was the world’s First National Park?

Worldwide Concern for “Urban Protected Areas”

Our Royal Is One of World’s Leaders

The highest authority of all, IUCN – International Union for Conservation of Nature – has chosen 2014 to speak out forcefully for urgent action to protect “urban parks” now more than half the world’s population lives in rapidly expanding cities. This is an alarm call!

What they . . . → Read More: Worldwide Concern for “Urban Protected Areas”

A Cause for Celebration! This is Our 4th Birthday!

Victory Ahead but still Years Ahead

Yes, it was in April 2010, that we launched the campaign for World Heritage Listing of Royal National Park by the UN’s UNESCO. We knew it would take some years to prepare a proper application and to garner the support of both State and Federal Governments. But in . . . → Read More: A Cause for Celebration! This is Our 4th Birthday!

What A Wonderful Park!

This is a Good News column, and there’s hardly room for all of it!

Two Ministers Act on Their Promise

We reported in November that when we took Federal Minister Greg Hunt and State Minister Robyn Parker to the Hacking River at Audley, they pledged to work together for our ‘commendable’ call for World . . . → Read More: What A Wonderful Park!