Saturday, 4 January 2020

Kangaroo Island

is, for those of you in Upover,  at the foot of the bit of Downunder that looks a  bit like Italy. It is about 140km long and, at the widest point, about 55km wide. Overall it is about 4,500km square and home to a diverse range of flora and fauna, some of it unique to the island.
The Senior Cat was once head of what was then a very large "area" school in the middle of the island which served the western end of the island. He was there in the mid-sixties and more than half a century on things have changed. The school is a third the size of what it once was. Farms have been consolidated. Tourism has become the main source of income for many of the residents.
We haven't been back but we occasionally see people who still live there. It isn't as isolated as it was when we were there but it isn't easy.  The strip of water known as "Backstairs Passage" is known as one of the roughest stretches of water in the world. There are times when it is impossible to cross it. There is an airport - and that has improved. (When the Senior Cat went there the airport consisted of a short runway and a tin shed.) 
And there are all the usual issues of whether there should be more tourists or fewer tourists and how they should be catered for in the modern world. In the mid-sixties that wasn't an issue. Only the hardiest and most intrepid tourists bothered to visit.
But all this pales into insignificance right now because the fires are threatening to wipe out some of the wildlife. Wildlife matters everywhere but, if the worst happens on the island it will have catastrophic international implications. The island is home to the last known genetically pure population of Ligurian bees. They have been nurtured there since the 1880s. The bees are used not just to produce honey but for the purposes of scientific research designed to save the world's bee population - and that has implications for the world's food supply.


Anonymous said...

Help!!! I did not know about the bees. I hope they survive, for their sakes, and the world’s.

A friend and I were commenting on the destruction of the native forests in eastern Australia and the consequences thereof. Soil erosion, much less rain, fewer animals, water run-off, very slow re-growth - the list goes on and on. I cannot imagine what south-eastern Australia will look like without trees over vast areas. But I will not have to imagine, as for many, many years I will be able to see it, as the area (I hope) regenerates.

I have a friend, possibly in the path of the Victorian fires, who is packed and ready to:leave her country town if it is suggested. Her sister, on a farm, is plann8ng to stay, in the dam if necessary. The crisis is close - personally - to me. So many people whose livelihoods are affected, as well as those whose holidays have been majorly impacted. Even the photos and films are scary!

Are you and yours safe, now, in South Australia, Cat?


catdownunder said...

We are safe - in suburbia. (We live not far from the foothills though and need to be "alert but not alarmed" as the saying goes.) My brother lives in the foothills of the Blue Mountains and they were far too close for comfort. I also have friends who have evacuated in NSW and Vic. They all lived in the densely forested areas - one of them actually works in forestry - and none of them think they have anything to go back to.