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Another silent spring?

Life on land

“The formidable knowledge of these matters that Manfred and Peter deliver together, begin to describe the underlying reasons for what is occurring in Victoria today”.

Peter and Andrea Hylands

June 18, 2023

This story was told in the early months of 2021. The previous 12 months had been the most terrible period faced by wildlife in Victoria that all of us can remember. We need to ask ourselves why this is occurring at a time of global mass extinctions, and when places like the Australian State of Victoria, are in the absolute frontline of climate change?

Manfred with an Eastern Grey Kangaroo joey

State of play

“Nature is declining globally at rates unprecedented inhuman history – and the rate of species extinctions is accelerating, with grave impacts on people around the world now likely”. UN Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, May 2019
“This time last year, as the world watched in horror, Victoria burned, billions of animals died, as millions of hectares of our state’s ecosystems were irretrievably lost due to the intensity of the unprecedented Black Summer fires. Nothing could have depicted a clearer example of the challenges from climate change that native wildlife and humankind is set to face and how grim the future for the natural world we share is”. Extract, Open letter to the Premier of Victoria, Manfred Zabinskas OAM, January 2021

The terrible situations we face

The discussion on video

In the film above, Manfred and Peter discuss the commercial trade in wildlife in Victoria, bushfires and wildlife rescue, and the relocation of Australian species as a result of urban development.

“Attending to injured and orphaned animals is extremely stressful and emotionally challenging. Our efforts are rewarded when we can save an animal and watch it recover from injury, or grow from an orphan, into an independent adult. There is nothing quite like sitting back on the couch at night and gazing into the beautiful eyes of a little joey, as you give them their bottle of special milk formula, and then they fall asleep on your lap. An important part of the rehabilitation process is to bond with the animal in care to win its trust and to have it relax and calmly receive our help. We effectively become their parents, until they grow and mature ready to return to the wild, where they belong. The work is difficult and often upsetting, but iti s also the best thing that we have ever done”. Manfred Zabinskas andHelen Round, Five Freedoms Animal Rescue and East Trentham Wildlife Shelter

Eastern Grey Kangaroo in the fire grounds

UN Adaptation Gap Report 2020

The UN Environment program and its Adaptation Gap Report 2020 touch on two important themes, the impact of biodiversity loss on human societies - this is currently playing out in Victoria through a combination ofVictorian Government policies relating to the mass killing of wildlife and the significant changes to climate and its impacts in Victoria. The way these two factors interact in Victoria will be particularly damaging to both biodiversity and the wellbeing of certain human populations in the state.

“All three aspects of biodiversity – diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems – are impacted by climate change.Effective adaptation considers these aspects of ecological vulnerability and how this can in turn affect social vulnerability, including of youth, women, indigenous peoples and local communities. By specifically aiming to address broad societal goals such as human well-being, NbS (Nature-based solutions) go beyond some more narrowly defined approaches to adaptation (Seddon et al. 2020 a)”.

The second point is the significant impact that climate change has had on biodiversity in the historical record, and that was climate change at a far slower rate, than what is now likely to occur in our own lifetimes.

“Evidence of past climatic change indicates that ecosystems were strongly impacted by rates of climate change that were significantly lower than those currently projected under high warming scenarios”.

We need to take a very cautious approach when condemning native species to mass extermination programs, The Victorian Government needs to take note, and in doing so, assess the damage it is doing to its residents in this state.