19th Annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest Altered Images

Australia is a global leader when it comes to wildlife extinctions. Since colonisation just over 200 years ago, Australia has lost 34 mammals. This equates to approximately the same number as the combined losses in the rest of the world during the same period. The island continent has the second largest number of endemic species, just after its’ neighbour Indonesia. Hunting, rapid urban and agricultural expansion for the wool industry as well as the introduction of domestic cats, rabbits and foxes all contributed to the initial surge in extinctions. The perceived competition with native animals for livestock feed led to the little discussed Marsupial destruction acts. All 22 animal and bird species as well as the 8 plant species in this photographic composite are listed under Australia’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act as vulnerable, endangered or critically endangered. This includes the Koala, Tasmanian Devil and Wollemi Pine, along with lesser known marsupials such as the long-nosed Potoroo and the Rufous Bettong. While science does a good job of providing evidence around biodiversity loss, art with a bit of humour can help inspire, inform and guide conservation efforts. Dedication, knowledge and support are all required to retain and restore Australia’s unique natural heritage.

Photo Detail
Date Taken: 02.2021
Date Uploaded: 11.2021
Photo Location: Sydney, Australia
Copyright: © Pamela Pauline