Landscapes: the Journal of the International Centre for Landscape and Language

Article Title

Everywhere and Nowhere


In 1788 Europeans arrived here to stay. Since then, between eighteen and twenty mammal species have been lost, depending on who‘s counting. Gone, too, are the Paradise Parrot and the Dwarf Emu. Alarmingly high numbers of animal (and plant) species hover just this side of oblivion. Not infrequently in Australia‘s natural history the first sighting of an animal by a colonial collector is followed fairly swiftly by a long disappearance. Very few come back. For the most part, expanding populations of exotic predators and feral competitors, combined with shrinking islands of natural habitats mean that the average Australian has few chances to experience firsthand even the commonest creatures of this continent. These days, the closest many people come to direct contact with an indigenous mammal is via the roo bars on their oversized four-wheel-drive vehicles. I suspect that the repercussions of this loss are greater than we can imagine.

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