For those not familiar with Maria Island, a background:
Once the site of a much-feared penile settlement, Maria Island is now entirely a National Park, with a brief interlude as a small farming community.
In the mid-1900s, Tasmanians who had previously exterminated the famed Tasmanian Tiger were all aflutter in a grand search for the last one, and decided to place it upon Maria Island to keep it safe. They proceeded to stock the island with all sorts of prey – wallabies, wombats, cape barren geese, etc.- and then never produced a tiger. When I visited Maria back in 2007, I was struck most by the ridiculous imbalance of the ecosystem here. Grazing animals had nibbled the grass down to golf turf. Farm paddocks from ages ago were still perfectly square and clear of any intruding growth. And animals were dying of old age. Corpses and skeletons littered the island as animals simply keeled over, and no meat eater was present to clean up.
(Above, C on the golf turf above Darlington.)
Although medium-sized mammals still abound (above, Cape Barren Geese), the ecosystem has vastly changed. Tasmanian Parks has now started a new conservation project – this time for Tasmanian devils, whose population has been demolished by a contagious facial tumor disease rampant on the ma.
inland. Over the last few years, they’ve been introducing devils to Maria Island to create an isolated, disease-free population. And it’s working. Not only for the devils, but for the ecosystem as a whole. A successful human interference story? While pondering that topic, some photos!
Lots of love!!
C and J