THE REAL DIRT

Real Dirt, Fast – 7 August

August 6th, 2008 · 1 Comment · Real Dirt Fast

We live in a small world. But this week for a brief moment it seemed a little larger than internet, 24 hour news, jet planes and the protestant work ethic would have us believe. I woke up on Wednesday morning to hear Fran Kelly on Radio National interviewing a researcher about the discovery of a population of 125,000 lowland gorillas in the Republic of Congo.
Wait a sec. Surely that couldn’t be, after all Telstra Stadium couldn’t hold that many gorillas even when the Eels are playing the Roosters.

And 125,000 is nearly twice the population of all the people living in the Blue Mountains or the entire daytime population of Wollongong (did you know that during the day about half of Wollongong’s 200,000 people commute somewhere else?)
Fran’s guest described the environment these creatures inhabit. It is a place known as the ‘Green Abyss’ – a vast swamp so inhospitable the researchers had to pitch their tents in trees to keep above the water. He was able to say with complete confidence that people posed no risk to these gorillas as the average punter was unable to get in there. It was an interview well worth listening to.

We have seen some strange disguises lately. I particularly note Radovan Karadzic’s amazing transformation into a new age alternative therapist. But that’s nothing compared to the Federal Opposition’s announcement that Penny Wong is actually Saddam Hussein in disguise. It’s amazing what a good wax job will do. Both are accused of crimes against swamps, you see.

Seriously though as Real Dirt has noted these last few months things are deteriorating rapidly in the Murray Darling Basin. The South Australian Government is planning a weir to secure its drinking water supplies, the Coorong is facing ecological death and wait for it Snowy Hydro, who sits at the top of the catchment is agitating to be released from public control, again. I thought the public – the owners of Snowy Hydro –  made it clear when John Howard was emperor that they didn’t want such a massive part of Australia’s natural environment to be in the hands of the private sector?

A huge new national park, called Kulla, has been created in far north Queensland. The new reserve is the result of negotiations between the Queensland government, Aboriginal groups and environmentalists. Altogether 182,000 hectares was given back to Cape York Aboriginal people and all but 22,000 hectares of that has gone straight into conservation reserve.

Oh, and by the way, there’s more carbon locked up in Australia’s forests than anyone had ever realised. Funny that.

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One Comment so far ↓

  • Christine

    Wow, I love the idea of all those gorillas living somewhere people cannot get to…..a small unspoiled part of the world. Thanks for the story!

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