Maria’s Island served many roles since the 1800s, notably as a whaler camp and a penal settlement in which the Irish nationalist leader William Smith O’Brien was incarcerated. It is now a tourist area with camping sites and beautiful walks. The island can be accessed by ferry from Triabunna and it has no cars, shops or anything of the like. Visitors must be entirely self-sufficient.
Landscapes on treks
(A wild wallaby)
It is now home to many endangered birds and animals, including as of recently (November 2012) Tasmanian devils. The Island is looked after by rangers. Among the staff is a Discovery Ranger, charged of leading activities to educate the population about different subjects. I was lucky enough to attend an activity on birds and the means by which the general population can help protect them. An example of measure would be to ensure that dogs are kept on a leash when on the beach, to avoid disturbing nesting grounds.
(When I was on Maria’s Island, many of these birds were washing up on shores inexplicably. Rangers were working intensively to figure out the cause of death and put a stop to it.)
The Discovery Ranger loved her work so much, she made me envious. You should have seen her when she started talking about albatrosses!
But in the end, I am left with one main question: Was it wise to introduce Tasmanian devils to an area filled with endangered birds? The Discovery Ranger assures that populations are being monitored and that there has been no impact so far… But one can’t help be worry about long term repercussions of this initiative, even if there is strong reasons to maintain “insurance” populations.
Bones of a whale that washed up on the shore, they are now exposed all year long.