Unfortunately, even though some farmers' attitudes to kangaroos are changing, the population, as a whole, is shrinking. Artificial water sources, including dams and water holes, reduced rainfall and unhealthy rivers have affected ‘roos' natural habitat. Climate heating is a major contributor to ever-changing ecosystems and marsupials, in particular, are most under threat. It's thought that a two degree rise in global temperatures will wipe out kangaroo populations from over half of Australia.
Another example of climate change chaos is the plight of short-tailed shearwaters (aka mutton birds) – who are native to Australia. For the previous three decades they’ve appeared around Griffiths Island, near Port Fairy, either side of September 22nd. In 2019 they were late, and it’s thought that higher Arctic Ocean temperatures in Alaska and Siberia may have changed their natural migration pattern. Rather than returning to Victoria to breed, as they normally do, they may have instead bypassed Australia and headed directly to Antarctica.
This could affect literally millions of birds. The Australian wildlife community is in shock as this could be one wildlife experience that we sadly have to wipe off the list. How many times can these sorts of natural experiences keep disappearing from our lives? The fact that no one knows what’s happened to the short-tailed shearwaters shows the lack of research effort and funding for ocean birds.
What you can do
Make your long haul flight to Australia count. Don’t just whizz in for a week and tick off the sights. Be patient and go slow. Join a small group in a suitably-sized small vehicle. Avoid day trips in huge heavy coaches. Eat out locally and avoid international hotel chains in favour of smaller working farms. Don’t take domestic flights from Sydney to Melbourne – just stick to one area and explore on foot.
We’re all responsible for global heating whether we like it or not. Traveling needs to be seen as a privilege, not a right. If you can, chat to your tour provider before you sign up and ask them what they recommend doing before, after and during a trip Down Under.
Read our manifesto for the future of tourism
before booking your next vacation.