Photos and Poem, Ngambaa Nature Reserve, 17 Feb

The floor

Leaves, fruits and fungi, a salmagundi,
a plush carpet on the move with looping
dancers converging. We stop at times
to flick the leeches off. My shirt is sticking,
my eyes smart, tears of sweat from the humidity.

The rainforest is packed with living, but few birds,
a stretched nest hangs above space, no sign of
Yellow-throated Scrubwrens. Water sits in runnels
shaped like coolamons more than ponds, storing
remains from the regular scoring of the creek.

A Pademelon bounces off, soon this valley
will be secured, out of bounds to humans
foxes, cats and dogs, replaced by mice
(eastern chestnut /or New Holland),
bettongs (Eastern and/or rufous), and more.

A final attempt to redress the poverty. Who
could doubt we can take care of everything?
The mosquitoes were keen, disease is still rife,
later larva ticks are too small to extract.

Ngambaa Nature Reserve: ‘This feral predator-free area will involve a fenced area, or conservation fencing of 2,500 hectares and will have a measurable benefit for at least 12 threatened animal species and the re-establishment of up to 5 native mammal species currently listed as extinct in New South Wales.’

Feral cats now roam over 99% of Australia. Only a few islands and specially constructed fenced conservation areas are cat-free. One in ten of the mammal species present when cats arrived are now extinct. Cats played a major role in most of those 34 extinctions.[i]

Cats kill over 6 million native animals in Australia each day.

[i] Sarah Legge, Jaana Dielenberg, John Woinarski, ‘10 year feral cat plan brings us a step closer to properly protecting endangered wildlife’, The Conversation, September 8, 2023.

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