News of May 2018

Hi all you good people!


May certainly kept us busy. No more rain, but at least the evenings and mornings were cold enough to enjoy the fire that was heating our water. 


Bob kept a working herd occupied at the Alligator Creek airstrip and our water-shed project. Alex, Stephen and Scott, thank you so much for all that dedication. The area is looking much better now, but still not fully recovered from the effects of the 2013 wild-fire. Local water shortage despite an above average rainfall-season is merely one of the lingering symptoms, but at least our finches are back and the cattle did just fine. Water-infiltration into the soil profile during the coming wet-season should now be closer to desirable levels.


Beyond the model area our donkeys continue to do a great job…..

Last month we mentioned that our donkeys were standing on shaky ground.

Now they have a premature death sentence hanging over them:

ABC Rural News: Kachana wild donkey research in the sights of aerial shooters.


This is not only about saving the lives of the 100 odd donkeys that work for us.

There are actually three stories that coincide here:

  1. The history of donkeys as a species, now at a cross-roads between extinction and survival.
    The ABC covers some of the current chapters across the nation, but it is a global issue. The ‘Kachana Donkeys’ make for but one short 30-year chapter.

  2. The Kachana Story, where donkeys and cattle are our primary landscape management tools.
    Currently cattle growing and keeping healthy the vegetation in our model areas; the donkeys protecting their work by maintaining low-fuel buffer zones and fire-breaks.

  3. The health of the Kimberley landscapes that most people do not visit and even fewer get to know, in particular of course our valuable rainfall-catchment areas.
    (NB: We are NOT talking about managed pastoral country or intensively managed areas.)
    If we are to believe our scientists: Until relatively soon after the arrivals of the first humans these landscapes were maintained by animals; then for thousands of years they were shaped and “managed” via conscious and subconscious human inputs; in recent times they were abandoned and neglected, subjected to the feral behaviour of Australia’s new megafauna and wild-fire; During the last 30 years we've noticed a steady decline in eco-system health in the areas around us. Taking away this tough versatile “tool” [managed donkeys] is a direct impediment of the water-catchment restoration work that has been core-business on Kachana since 1992.

We hope this bureaucratic blunder underpinned by flawed legislation can be recognised for what it is. – Herbivores are nature’s gardeners in seasonally dry landscapes. We need them to keep vegetation healthy. We need more if we want more vegetation!


We are most thankful for all the support we can get.


To find out more about this debacle, please visit: Remote Kimberley catchment issues


On a positive note. We watch as nature responds to our management with all its sounds and aromas. Happy animals, bird-song, water gurgling in the back-ground and the gusty winds that have us change our flight-plans, all help to keep us sane and harbour our sincere hope that working with nature will pay off in the long run.

Enjoy June, and may you all find many meaningful things to do.


Warm greetings from a nearly winterly Kachana

Links of the month:


40 minutes – if pressed for time, at least watch the first 4 minutes and the last 3 minutes…

Taking cattle to go and mow the airstrip! (4 minutes)

Thank you Terry, Jack and team, for ongoing support of our environmental work!

Kate Raworth: A healthy economy should be designed to thrive not grow (16 minutes)

Thank you, Hendrik, for sending the link!  

This lady is certainly worthy of all the applause she gets after those sixteen short minutes!

Quote of the Month:

“Silence is golden, but when it threatens your freedom it is yellow.”

Edmund Burke