“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety,
deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
Dear Friends and Family,
‘Nature’ - somewhere between ‘wild’ and ‘dead’ – Such thoughts continue to occupy my mind as I take in the annual dance that biology performs to the tune of physical forces. Has the collective impact of modern life-styles now become one of these forces?
This is our 30th wet season on Kachana and our respect for what nature can dish out continues to grow. During many weeks of heat the country looked green enough, however growth was limited. Then during January, 333.9mm of rain dropped out of the sky. Nature is now fully awake and flexing her muscles.
Sunshine, fire, wind, rain and floods…
Poor decisions become obvious very quickly and often get to be expensive. Thankfully on occasion we get things right and the very same forces can bring about an abundance that seems miraculous.
The airstrip is drenched and we have not been to town this year. The months during which nature is asleep and busy people set the pace, seem a world away. We seize the day!
We hope that February is a good month for you all.
Greetings from Kachana
Photos of the Month
News & Views
Kachana’s managed wild donkey population (update):
Not a week goes by without people asking us what is happening with the wild donkeys on Kachana. As mentioned in recent postings and also during podcast conversations with Anthony James, the Departments and Kachana Pastoral Company continue to communicate on this issue under the umbrella of the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT). Given that all parties involved ultimately seek optimal triple bottom line outcomes, this approach has to be preferable to court hearings.
However, whilst the SAT process remains underway, neither party is permitted to disclose details of progress to the public.
The concept of “managed wild donkeys” is possibly something new, and we still have much to learn, but it is also something that we have already demonstrated for nearly 20 years. We recognise that innovation needs to be in line with the public interest, and we see the need for Kachana Pastoral Company to update and to adjust management protocols in order to remain compliant with changing departmental regulation. At operational levels and in practice, this has of course been happening all along. Now we need to be guided in the process of formalising things to fit in with Acts that apparently only recognise two types of donkeys: domesticated and feral. (Listen to Anthony James’ RegenNarration podcasts to learn more about the beneficial roles that Australia’s New Megafauna will need to play once we become serious about rehydrating this continent to provide water-security.)
It is the bigger picture that continues to beg the question: What is happening beyond Kachana and in other unmanaged watershed country in Northern Australia where for over forty years we have been effectively replacing herbivorous activity with fire? (A process that appears to be an unintended consequence of the national Brucellosis & TB eradication campaign and that is now being exacerbated in places under the banner of “pest control” – Please note that we are not advocating unmanaged or feral animals.)
Downstream communities indeed have significant vested interests in upstream decision-making that impacts soil-surface management and people are beginning to connect the dots.
On Kachana we report our observations since 1985 and the conclusions we draw.
- The potential extinction of locally adapted wild donkeys would not only impact the local ecology, but also gives rise to broader ethical, biodiversity and ‘CO2-emmissions’ considerations.
- If there is substance to the Kachana Pastoral Company observation that the net removal of herbivores off the landscape in recent decades directly contributes to landscape dehydration, then this is of substantial economic import to downstream communities, Local and State Government.
As the body of literature that complements our observations continues to grow, we welcome scientific analysis of our management actions and their impact on the landscape. Further Studies and Research on Kachana will resume once a formal management plan for the wild donkeys is in place.
As much needed ecological awakening continues, it appears that word about what has been happening on Kachana continues to spread:
- Peter de Kruijff from the The Sydney Morning Herald: Can wild asses stop bushfires?
- Tania Roa from ‘Biodiversity for a Livable Climate’ interviews Dr. Arian Wallach on Changing the Field of Wildlife Conservation - YouTube
- In the short story 'Carrying On', Ieva Zariņa, Latvia, empathises with the fate of the jenny that is forced to carry the burden that comes with a “Judas collar”.
- Blog by Tania Roa, USA, Kachana Station: A Home for Donkey-Led Restoration
- Support from internationally selling author Judith Schwartz
- There is a new book: The Australian Teamster Donkey by Chase Day (Kachana’s managed wild donkeys rate a mention)
Thank you for caring!
Link of the Month
- Why would we deserve liberty?
- Has a general “break down of virtue and ‘civic glue’” in our modern societies made people less capable of dealing with freedom?
Listen to Author, Broadcaster & Journalist Peter Hitchens discuss such ideas with John Anderson