In its heyday Warrawong Wildlife Sanctuary was a byword for environmental innovation.
Dr John Wamsley gained a well-deserved reputation for turning the degraded dairy farm into a feral animal-free habitat for the conservation of endangered Australian wildlife, including platypuses.
Now the 10ha property is less than a third of its original size and has remained unused as a working tourist operation for two years since Zoos SA walked away from the sanctuary because the business was unsustainable under a new planning regime.
It has taken two years for the land owners at the Ngarrindjeri Regional Authority to wind up the lease.
Let’s hope it doesn’t take another two years to find a new role for this once landmark site.
The longer it stays vacant, the more the site and its amazingly valuable branding kudos will deteriorate.
It would be a tragedy if an asset such as Warrawong was left to wither on the vine and its history of educating people about the value and importance of Australian flora and fauna was not continued in some form.
People play politics … nature does not.
The story in this week’s Courier that grape growers have noticed a significant trend towards earlier harvests and more compressed ripening periods between varieties is clear evidence that the natural world is changing as the climate warms.
Viticulture consultant Richard Hamilton’s evidence that his cabernet sauvignon grapes are ripening today more than a month earlier than was usual in the late 1980s is further proof of the changes.
Many farmers will recall regularly making hay in November or December whereas now it is often finished in October.
Such examples of major agricultural changes in just a few years indicate the rapid rate to which nature is adapting to climate change.
The policy makers and the general population would be well advised to take heed of these alarming warning signs because the cost of inaction might have us all in hot water.