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Protecting our native BH animals

Tuesday, 17th September, 2019

Mayor Darriea Turley (second from left) with co-founders of the Endangered Species Supporters Australia Julia Crouch, Kevin Hughes and Lindsay Crouch. PICTURE: Emily Ferguson Mayor Darriea Turley (second from left) with co-founders of the Endangered Species Supporters Australia Julia Crouch, Kevin Hughes and Lindsay Crouch. PICTURE: Emily Ferguson

By Emily Ferguson

Kevin Hughes is well-known for his bravery when as a pilot he saved a woman who was caught on the side of his plane when attempting to skydive.

Now he’s doing his part to save the endangered species of Australia. 

Kevin, his wife Debrena, and their friends Julia and Lindsay Crouch co-founded Endangered Species Supporters Australia, whose aim is to travel Australia to speak to people about the future of our native animals. 

And they’ve started their campaign in Broken Hill.

“Endangered Species Supporters Australia is all about making people aware of our critical numbers of endangered native species that are unique to Australia and also the declining numbers,” Kevin said.

“We’re talking about the species such as the koala... In the next couple of decades it’s been estimated that koalas will become a very vulnerable species and critically endangered,” he said.

“We’re wanting to travel to all the desert regions, the coastal regions speaking to people like Mayor Turley from Broken Hill and also getting the word across to the people in general.”

He said locals can help by doing simple things like planting trees and reducing clearing and they expected the project to take an estimated four to four and a half years. 

“We’re not professional people, we don’t hold degrees within this field - we do hold degrees in other fields - but it’s not a short term project, it’s a very dedicated project and we’ve got a dedicated website that we’re getting up that should be up and running within two to three weeks.”

The website address is www.essaussie.org where people may trace where they are any time of day via a live feed. 

“We’re planning to go ahead and speak with as many people as possible. Also speaking with Aboriginal communities is very important because they know the land more than the white person does.”

They decided to launch the campaign in Broken Hill for several reasons.

“Broken Hill is such a biodiverse area with surrounds. Menindee Lakes, up around the White Cliffs area with the ranges, and being the first heritage listed town in Australia it’s very important because of that,” Kevin said. 

“The people here are so friendly and it’s one the first mining towns with the mines still going today and it’s got so much going for it... It’s such a wide diverse city and that’s why we chose to launch it here. It’s a good place to get an understanding of what we’re about and get the message across.”

Mayor Darriea Turley said City Council was very grateful to have the launch here. 

“Broken Hill City Council had a vision of how we manage our arid zone area for many years and if you look at the Living Desert, that was about how we look at the Yellow-Footed Rock Wallaby, which is an animal that was becoming extinct and we worked really hard,” she said. 

“We’ve got an electric fence around that area, we’ve done a lot of work about growing out natives, we’ve done a lot of work around what could thrive in that area and it’s about what is natural to the area.” 

“Looking at our animals we don’t want a time when kids are born and not understand that these animals should be roaming our outback areas, we don’t want a time where they don’t remember them, so it’s important for Council that we have that commitment. 

“We’re very happy to partner and support the launch and I know certainly our RRANA group will be very interested in this.

“Let me also acknowledge that this is the land of the Wilyakali people of the Barkindji nation. These are the animals and the stories that they know and it’s their land and we treasure that and thank them for that.”

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