Monday, January 31, 2011

Taronga Zoo and Tasmanian Davil

Last year I was able to visit few attractive places in Australia. Our family visit to Sydney was also very memorable as we were able to visit places like Sydney opera house, Harbor Bridge, Darling Harbor, and importantly Taronga Zoo ( It was very interesting to see how they market the wildlife and conservation. The Bird show and seal show at Taronga zoo are still in my mind. This reminded me of my experience at Jersey Zoo (anyway highly different from all other zoos I visited) and other conservation oriented zoos in UK which I got the opportunity to visit during my stay in UK in 1999-2000. They all have similar goals and very much concern about the animal well being within the zoo environment. Many staff members in Zoos in our region have a long way to go in terms of ex-situ conservation when compared to the zoos in developed countries.

Among the animals seen at Taronga zoo, situation of Tasmanian Devil is critical. It is famous for its spine-chilling screeches. It is an Australian icon and is the world’s largest carnivorous marsupial. According to zoo website, early Europeans trapped and killed Tasmanian Devils for over 100 years, believing that they would eat their farm animals. Devil numbers decreased until 1941 when they became legally protected. But it is facing a new threat; Devil Facial Tumor Disease. This contagious cancer is spreading through devil populations in Tasmania and is threatening the species with extinction. Taronga Zoo has a special conservation programme for this unique species.

Asian elephants at both Taronga zoo and Melbourne zoo are the main attraction. Most of the public are exited about new arrivals of cubs and they show them in TV news. Most of my friends asked us to visit the elephants when we were going to the zoo. But I had to explain that we are lucky enough to see them free in the wild in Sri Lanka. But I am worried about the on going elephant-human conflict in Sri Lanka as it may lead our future generations to go to the zoo and see the elephants.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

New Year eve in Melbourne - Happy New Year 2011

It’s another year! This year is very special to us as it is the 10th anniversary of ECO-V. Last year was different one for all of us at ECO-V. I have been in Melbourne since last March and the activities we were personally involved were different from the activities we did in Sri Lanka. Last few months were very busy as I had to concentrate on developing a new project. Today I am very happy to announce that now ECO-V is a partner of a new Australian based organization called Journeys for Climate Justice (JCJ). We will share more details later…

I took the kids to the New Year eve fire works at Yarra Park and Water front city in Melbourne which was interesting to them. I was thinking how harmful those fire work for the environment?? But again it was only for 10 minutes with very much less noises. The cost involved may have been high but the damage to the environment is low when we compare to the sound and air pollution taking place in our countries during such shows and in daily road traffic.

But the amount of carbon emission per head is much more here in Australia than in our country.  I believe that we can do much better than what we are doing to conserve our Mother Earth. Mother Earth greeted the world for New Year with a much cold winter and heavy floods all around the world. We should have a New Year resolution this year that we will be more conscious about our activities hurting her in order to save the planet.

I will update all our environmental related activities in Melbourne in the upcoming blogs.

I hope we all will have a happy new year where all living beings can live happily on the Mother Earth!