Rescuing Endangered Species
Good News from Norfolk Island
In a world where good-news conservation stories have become increasingly uncommon a collaboration between Wildmob and the community on remote Norfolk Island is quietly bucking this trend. The good news is that over the past two years 55 of Norfolk’s threatened or endangered species have begun to have their habitat restored due to Wildmob volunteers travelling to the Island to combine a holiday with rolling up their sleeves and getting down to work. This work has contributed to the endemic green parrot moving from being on the verge of extinction to becoming a conservation success story.
A not-for-profit, non-political organisation Wildmob “takes volunteers on adventures in Australia’s most beautiful places to save endangered species and restore their habitats.” Their Norfolk Island Conservation Project focuses on bush-land restoration to secure habitat for 55 threatened or endangered species and up to 18 species of seabirds that breed within the Norfolk Island group of Norfolk, Phillip and Nepean Islands. This is critical work as the Islands are an important biodiversity hotspot with a bewildering range of endemic plants, animals and ecosystems, and indeed, are a global priority for nature conservation.
The Wildmob concept works well on Norfolk Island for a number of reasons. Firstly, with one of their core values being a commitment to working with local communities, understanding and respecting the local Island culture is essential. Volunteers find themselves not only working on private properties, Reserves and National Parks, but also alongside Norfolk Islanders where genuine cultural and personal exchanges occur. With each trip having no more than twelve volunteers, the opportunity to engage with the locals is one of the unique and most valued features of their week with one recent volunteer commenting “this is certainly not a tourist trip”.
Wildmob knows that their conservation efforts on Norfolk Island are only sustainable if they have the local community’s support. They know that commercial realities mean that it is important their work is not a financial burden on the community. In fact they contribute directly to the local economy by purchasing and employing locally and engaging the locally based and run Norfolk Island Travel Centre to undertake organisation and travel arrangements for visiting volunteers. All of this supports the outcome for each volunteer of a ‘traveller’ experience. In addition to supporting the ecology of the island participants know they are also more globally helping the island. As expressed by a recent volunteer, “It’s a privilege to make a contribution while having a holiday.”
With such an important and serious objective, it is however usual to meet happy and relaxed Wildmob volunteers unanimous in their enjoyment of their week on the Island. Not only are adult trips regularly held throughout each year, but increasingly school groups are also visiting on a Wildmob trip. Wildmob Director Derek Ball says “Norfolk Island opens people’s eyes. On the mainland, resources can be seen to be infinite – just turn the tap on or go to the shop for what you need. Norfolk Island shows the world isn’t limitless – you need to be cautious about how you use water and resources”. Students learn not only that, but about what it’s like not having instant connectivity: “I didn’t think I could survive without Wi-Fi for so long” commented Tom from Silkwood High!
Such is the unique nature of the island and its environment, Derek has committed Wildmob to bringing not only adult and student Conservation Expeditions to the island but also offering Conservation Insiders and Bird Week trips. This is undoubtedly good conservation news indeed.
We have 7 night pp twin share Norfolk Island Conservation packages including airfares, accommodation, all meals, tours and guided bushland regeneration. Trips for 2016 are: 15 to 23 April, 1 to 9 July, 2 to 10 September, 30 September to 4 October and 28 October to 5 November. Conservation Insiders runs 14 to 22 October and Bird Week from 18 to 28 November 2016. For details including costs on all these trips contact Joyce at email@example.com or freecall us on 1800 1400 66. To contact Wildmob email them at firstname.lastname@example.org, see their web site at www.wildmob.org or call them on 07 3369 9665