Nature's last stand

This display enables you to explore the vulnerable nature of life. By reflecting on the processes that have affected individual species survival, we can often lay the blame at the feet of humankind.

Why have humans been so destructive? What can we learn? And what action needs to be taken to protect what survives? This display discusses these issues through the evolutionary adaptations that made each species unique.

In the last 200 years humans have driven over 57 Australian species of Mammals, Birds, Reptiles, Frogs and Fish towards extinction. Action in the form of conservation programs has been introduced to save other species from permanently disappearing. Will they be effective? Only time will tell! Unfortunately to save a species we also need to protect its habitat from destruction.

Unfortunately most ecosystems are very fragile and any modification by humans usually causes irreversible damage, superficially this may not be apparent but to the organisms living and affected by our actions dire consequences are the end results.

Take for example the Paradise Parrot, Psephotus pulcherrimus. The last sighting of this beautiful parrot occurred in 1922. Its demise was caused by habitat destruction. Over grazing by cattle trampled food grass and disturbed the termite nests in which the parrot often nested. Its demise was furthered by the rampant infestation of the introduced Prickly pear plant, which stopped other food grasses from growing. Disease and over collection were the final blow and we must now accept that this beautiful bird is extinct.