HOME



Digby's Hullabaloo
2801 Ocean Park Blvd.
Box 157
Santa Monica, Ca 90405



Facebook: Digby Parton

Twitter:
@digby56
@Gaius_Publius
@BloggersRUs (Tom Sullivan)
@spockosbrain



emails:
Digby:
thedigbyblog at gmail
Dennis:
satniteflix at gmail
Gaius:
publius.gaius at gmail
Tom:
tpostsully at gmail
Spocko:
Spockosbrain at gmail
tristero:
Richardein at me.com








Infomania

Salon
Buzzflash
Mother Jones
Raw Story
Huffington Post
Slate
Crooks and Liars
American Prospect
New Republic


Denofcinema.com: Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

January 2003 February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 February 2009 March 2009 April 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 February 2010 March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010 January 2011 February 2011 March 2011 April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 July 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 December 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013 December 2013 January 2014 February 2014 March 2014 April 2014 May 2014 June 2014 July 2014 August 2014 September 2014 October 2014 November 2014 December 2014 January 2015 February 2015 March 2015 April 2015 May 2015 June 2015 July 2015 August 2015 September 2015 October 2015 November 2015 December 2015 January 2016 February 2016 March 2016 April 2016 May 2016 June 2016 July 2016 August 2016 September 2016 October 2016 November 2016 December 2016 January 2017 February 2017 March 2017 April 2017 May 2017 June 2017 July 2017 August 2017 September 2017 October 2017 November 2017 December 2017 January 2018 February 2018 March 2018 April 2018 May 2018 June 2018 July 2018 August 2018 September 2018 October 2018 November 2018 December 2018 January 2019 February 2019 March 2019 April 2019 May 2019 June 2019 July 2019 August 2019 September 2019


 

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Hullabaloo


Friday, August 16, 2019

 
Friday Night Soother

by digby




A hopeful story about humans and penguins:
It’s a magical sight: Just as the light begins to vanish, thousands of tiny penguins waddle out of the surf on an island in southeastern Australia, then head up the beach and along well-worn paths toward their burrows.

The “penguin parade” has been a major attraction since the 1920s, when tourists were led by torchlight to view the nightly arrival of the birds — the world’s smallest penguin breed, with adults averaging 13 inches tall — from a day of fishing and swimming.

For much of that time, the penguins lived among the residents of a housing development, mostly modest vacation homes, in tight proximity to cars and pets, as well as ravenous foxes. The penguins’ numbers fell precipitously. But in 1985, the state government took an extraordinary step: It decided to buy every piece of property on the Summerland Peninsula and return the land to the penguins. The process was completed in 2010.

The birds are now thriving. There are about 31,000 breeding penguins on the peninsula, up from 12,000 in the 1980s. Phillip Island Nature Parks is the most popular wildlife tourist destination in the state of Victoria, drawing 740,000 visitors in 2018. And late last month, a gleaming symbol of that success opened to the public: a $58 million visitor center, a striking star-shaped buildingwith glass walls that look onto penguin burrows.



A park ranger speaking to visitors at Summerland Beach, where the penguins approach each evening.CreditAsanka Brendon Ratnayake for The New York Times



The birds, known as little penguins, are the world’s smallest penguin breed, with adults averaging 13 inches tall. CreditAsanka Brendon Ratnayake for The New York Times

The story of the transformation of the Summerland Peninsula from a coastal suburb into a wildlife habitat and world-class tourist spot is one of unusual government foresight. It also reflects the vital Australian tourism industry’s heavy reliance on wilderness and wildlife resources, and the economic threats posed by environmental degradation.

“The case study at Phillip Island is proof that difficult short-term decisions can yield great long-term results,” said Rachel Lowry, chief conservation officer of the World Wildlife Fund for Nature-Australia. “It is an incredible example of allowing scientific modeling to motivate and inform a decision that has gone on to benefit both people and nature in the long term.”

Phillip Island, which sits in the mouth of Westernport Bay about 85 miles south of Melbourne, is home to the world’s largest colony of the species known as the little penguin. In addition to the southern coastline of Australia, the birds also breed and nest in New Zealand.

In the 1930s, the owners of the land on the peninsula gave about 10 acres to the State of Victoria for the protection of the little penguins, and by the 1950s viewing stands and fences had been built on Summerland Beach — the main observation point for the parade — to control human access and viewing. A visitor center was built in the 1960s.



For many residents of the state of Victoria, a visit to the penguin parade was — and still is — a childhood rite of passage, the destination for school trips and family outings.CreditPhillip Island Nature Parks

For decades, the little penguins shared a habitat with a housing development, the Summerland Estate, shown in 1984. A year later, the state of Victoria decided to remove all of the homes and return the land to the penguins, a process that took 25 years.CreditPhillip Island Nature Parks

For many residents of Victoria, a visit to the penguin parade was — and still is — a childhood rite of passage, the destination for school trips and family outings.

But the peninsula, with its breathtaking views of the ocean, has also been an attractive location for developers. On the penguins’ breeding ground, 190 structures — mainly homes — were built as part of Summerland Estate, with plans for hundreds more.

That, along with the predatory behavior of foxes (now eradicated) that had been introduced by European settlers, led to a sharp decrease in the island’s population of little penguins. At one time there were 10 colonies on Phillip Island; today there is only one.

By the early 1980s, scientists studying the colony were worried about the prospect of total local extinction.
The penguin population has reversed its steep decline in the years since the government decided to restore the land to its natural state.

“The colony was being eroded at an alarmingly rapid rate,” said Peter Dann, the research manager at Phillip Island Nature Park. Dr. Dann has worked for the park since the early 1980s and was one of the authors of a study that led to the Summerland property buyback.

When Dr. Dann describes the 1985 decision to remove or destroy the structures in Summerland Estate, he still seems shocked it happened. It is thought to be the only instance in the world in which an entire community has been purchased by a government for the sake of environmental and wildlife protection.

Dr. Dann gives much of the credit to Joan Kirner, who was the minister for conservation at the time and went on to become Victoria’s premier. She died in 2015.

“She came out here, she toured the island, I explained the situation to her,” Dr. Dunn said. “She went back and convinced the government that this was the right thing to do. I think if it had been anyone else, anyone but Kirner, I never could have convinced them.”

In the years leading up to 1985, measures had been taken by the government to halt development and buy undeveloped land on the peninsula. But the idea of eradicating Summerland Estate was a bombshell for residents.

Scanning a microchip embedded in a penguin to monitor its health and movements.CreditAsanka Brendon Ratnayake for The New York Times

“We were horrified and deeply shocked and incredibly saddened,” a former resident, Jean Verwey, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation last year, adding that she finds it difficult to visit the site of her former family home.

The state government initially allocated about $7 million, or about $17 million in today’s money, for the effort. But because of financing issues, the buyback took a decade longer than originally planned. This gave some residents more time in their properties, but it also left them in a state of limbo. They were banned from building or upgrading in any way.

Dr. Dann, who himself was a onetime renter on the peninsula, said he understood the anguish. “I have lots of empathy — these are people who have spent countless Christmases and holidays here, who made intergenerational family memories,” he said. But his main concern and loyalty lay with the penguins, he said.

The new visitor center is on land that was previously a parking lot for the old center, in a location between the dunes, the headland and the wetlands, where penguins are unlikely to build burrows. It has a much larger capacity than the old center, with two restaurants, event spaces and meeting rooms.

This week, nine years after the last Summerland Estate home was purchased and removed by the state, a final demolition will begin: The old center and its surrounding facilities will be cleared, freeing up almost 15 acres of prime habitat — enough for around 1,400 tiny penguins.

.