Melbourne's Endangered Species: Potential Casualties of the East-West Link
|Frolicking father and son|
In last Saturday's Age, Melbourne Zoo staff made an impassioned plea on behalf of their charges. If the East West Link goes ahead, it will pass within 40 metres of the zoo precinct. This means that the animals face the prospect of five or so years of loud noises, dust-filled air and disruption during construction, followed by constant traffic noise afterwards.
It's hard to believe that a zoo, located in a building site, will be quite the same attractive proposition to the numerous Victorian families who currently visit. And for the animals themselves it would be traumatic.
Zoo staff didn't hesitate to name names in the Age article. So last Wednesday I packed my camera and headed off to visit the animals identified as most likely to be affected.
The elephants, who have much better hearing and are hence more receptive to vibrations than us humans, were my first port of call. It was a hot day and the pair above were having a great time gambolling in the pool.
The giraffes, who are highly strung and 'skittish', were my next stop:
I spent some time trying to photograph the seals. Along with the crocodiles and pygmy hippos, they are at particular risk because they spend a great deal of time in the water, and vibrations are amplified by water. But with no feeding time in sight, the seals were expert at keeping their distance from photographers and other curious humans. But I did get to admire them from a distance as they rolled and raced underwater.
On such a warm day, the pygmy hippos were immersed in the water too and their pen is especially designed to give them space away from prying human eyes. I only just managed to capture this fellow as he sensibly turned his back on us all and wandered off:
|Humans? Who needs them?|
I know. I know. Lemurs weren't mentioned in The Age article as being particularly vulnerable, but maybe it was just an oversight. They struck me as highly sensitive little creatures. Or perhaps it was just that, with Valentine's Day imminent, love was in the air. Whatever... here they are:
|My Sleepy Valentine|
To protect these animals and others like them join Julianne Bell (Protectors of Public Lands) and other volunteers. They will be handing out leaflets outside the zoo until 8 March in the late afternoons on Fridays and Saturdays (weather permitting). This is the time when many families are passing through the gates on their way home, just as other patrons are entering to attend the Zoo Twilight Concerts. And as all these people presumably share a love of animals, they could well prove a rich new source of opposition to the Tunnel. To contact Julianne simply call 0408 022 408.