Recently, in my research of the supply chain radio doco, I've come across quite a few people who identify as animal activists, but actually just reserve their animal welfare activities to the rescue of rabbits.
That's just what Australia needs more of. Rabbits.
Gabbing to them got me thinking more about one of Australia's iconic man-made structures. The Rabbit-Proof Fence.
Most people in Western Australia have seen the signs for Rabbit-Proof Fence Road. A century ago everyone knew about the fence, but in recent times many Australians weren't particularly aware of the rabbit-proof fence until the eponymous film came out in 2002, based on the 1996 book Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence by Doris Pilkington.
But what is the story behind the Rabbit-Proof Fence?
Although many of Australia’s early colonial settlers of the eighteenth century were not of the highest moral fibre, by the mid 1800’s various affluent Britons were relocating here. Welcome the Acclimatisation Societies.
Oh! Acclimatisation Societies. That sounds lovely, you think. They obviously wanted to acclimatise to their new home, Australia, right?
No. Not exactly.
Acclimatisation Societies were created in order to “enrich the fauna of a region with animals and plants from around the world.” Of course, today we find that idea abhorrent, having seen the ruinous affects of introduced species on endemic flora and fauna. But the real purpose of the Acclimatisation Society in Australia was to make Australia more like Great Britain. Early acclimatisers had introduced domesticated rabbits (among other things), but these were not good for hunting, and didn't survive very well in the scrubby landscape.
Is it just me? Or is it a post-Mayan 21 Dec 2012 thing? Nothing I do seems to be moving in a forward direction at the moment.
One thing I can say is that I've recorded a fantastic doco with an amazing fellow. It's one I've been organising about for about a year. Now I just have to get down to editing it.
Interview subject: Doctor Charles Slack. Princeton Ph.D Psychology, academic prodigy, and reformed drug addict. Charles met and talked to Albert Einstein, took LSD with Timothy Leary, was at the forefront of psychology in the 60's, and was one of the youngest professors Princeton had ever seen. His trajectory followed rather a different path than one might suspect. Drugs, alcohol, a stint in a "mental institution". Now at 84, he's well known in drug and alcohol recovery circles. I recorded with Charles and his wife Sue in their apartment overlooking the turbulent Indian Ocean, and I have to admit I got a little carried away with his amazing stories of life in the 50's, 60's, and 70's. I recorded so much audio, the hard part is going to be paring it back.
I've also had some contact with - THE - MOST - AMAZING - PERSON...okay so he's a friend of mine but he is the world authority on animals and animal related ANYTHING (you know who you are)...and there might be a chance for me to make a doco on the treatment and trading of exotic pets in the Middle East. I get a bit hyper at the thought, because this is a topic I am really passionate about. By the by, if you ever have a few spare dollars you're looking generously and philanthropically to donate, the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust will do some real good with your hard earned bazingas. They run an elephant orphanage in Nairobi, which rescues baby eles. When I was in Kenya the first time in Tsavo I thought they were joking about elephant poaching. But no, it's still rampant. Read all about the trust here. You can even adopt an elephant on the website, and if you're ever in East Africa, make a visit. You'll never forget giving an ear tickle to a baby ele wearing a blanket.
So that's the good news.
The bad news is that, like the proverbial hot potato, I've been dropped from almost all my contacts on the Shipping Project. One big export company CEO expressed much interest in the project in December, replied to each email I sent with a promise: I'll get back to you tomorrow...but never did.
I've had nine or ten Twitter impersonators, retweeting my posts, and one very, very vitriolic email from someone in agriculture telling me what I was, and what I could do to myself, because I have failed thus far to get on a live export ship. Thanks for the tips, anon. TTYN.
Yes, the last little while has been like pushing mongo. In the next little while I'll be editing out my doco with Charles Slack, so please do drop me a line. Abuse welcome, just please, try not to start another impersonator account on Twitter. It's been done. You know what I'm saying. That's so last week.
Feb 20 - Update. All may not be lost. I have developed a mild nervous condition in the process, but an embarkation date has been mentioned. Fingers crossed.
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