The rainforest patches of Northern Queensland, Australia are known as the oldest forests on the planet. The remaining rainforest outside the town of Cairns ( the gateway to The Great Barrier Reef ) escaped the freeze from the planet’s most recent ice age, allowing the oldest trees on earth to simply just bare it. Between the desertification of Australia as a continent, and the growing human population and pollution of course, this dreamy region known as The Wet Tropics, also listed as a World Heritage Site, is battling development and agriculture, while its inhabitants such as the Flying Fox, are being harassed.
The Flying foxes are possibly the rainforests’ most significant pollinators, who are instinctively attracted to the luscious fruit plantations grown for human consumption. Every evening at dawn, the massive colony set off on their nightly “walkabout” to do what they are put on this planet to do, feast on the fruits of this specific wet little world to insure its future. And every morning, less and less arrive to rest and care for their young inside the caves during the day. Generations of flying foxes are being electrocuted. With every zap, the forests’ heartbeat slows.
I studied Environmental Science at James Cook University in Cairns, and worked as a zookeeper in Mareeba for 2 years. In between the 2 towns lives the Wet Tropics mountain range. It is a special place on this planet not only because it was my home for a while, but because it is also home to many endemic species ( species found no where else on earth ). Cut off by the surrounding dryness of the continent with the closest other rainforest on the Island of New Guinea, roughly 600 miles away. Since the animals here live off of the fruits born into only a wet world, they are unable to relocate as their habitat shrinks and family and friends disappear.
I am fortunate enough to have been a part of the efforts to save this Ecosystem by helping rehabilitate the orphaned or injured flying foxes, so my heroes have more time to fight and preserve the habitat from developers, and work with regional farmers to develop new ways to protect their crops.
The never-ending battle between right and wrong.
Flying Fox Rehab. Atherton Tablelands, Australia