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Tuesday, January 14, 2020

food from the heaven ~ ravaging Australian bushfire

Gippsland is a rural region of Victoria, Australia, located in the south-eastern part of that state. It covers an area of 41,556 square kilometres (16,045 sq mi).  Its eastern part is one of the regions majorly affected by fire. The 2019–20 Australian bushfire, is a series of bushfires, that are currently raging destroying acres of trees and putting flora and fauna to great difficulty.  By some estimates, the fire has destroyed over 5,900 buildings (including over 2,204 homes) and killed at least 27 people.  An estimated one billion animals have also been killed and some endangered species may be driven to extinction. In Dec 2019,  the New South Wales Government declared a state of emergency after record-breaking temperatures and prolonged drought exacerbated the bushfires.

In Thirumala theatre, Main road, Kakinada  – it was day 175 of Bobbili Raja - fans were singing along merrily and dancing to the hit no. :  బలపం పట్టి భామ బళ్లో - అఆఇఈ నేర్చుకుంటా  (balapam patti baama ballo a aa e ee nerchukunta - pantam patti prema vollo a aa o oo padukunta)

Some of the scenes were from that famous hit film ‘Gods must be Crazy’.  Xi and his  tribe of  bushmen are living happily in the Kalahari Desert, far away from Western civilization. One day, a glass Coca-Cola bottle is carelessly thrown out of an airplane by a pilot and falls to Earth unbroken. Initially, Xi's people assume this strange artifact is a "present" from the Gods from heaven and find many uses for it. Unlike other bounties, however, there is only one glass bottle, which causes unforeseen conflict within the tribe. Consequently, Xi confers with elders and agrees to make a pilgrimage to the edge of the world and dispose of the supposedly cursed thing.

The telegu film ‘Bobbili Raja’ starring Venkatesh & Divya Bharti was a sensational musical hit too with the music of Illayaraja.  Gods Must Be Crazy is a 1980 South African comedy film written and directed by Jamie Uys.  Set in Botswana, it follows the story of Xi, a San of the Kalahari Desert whose tribe has no knowledge of the world beyond.  This post too is about the help from above ! – choppers dropping  thousands of kilograms of sweet potatoes and carrots for animals that are starving to death because of the bushfire crisis - Operation 'Rock Wallaby',  a food-drop initiative by the NSW government.

Mainline medias report that the New South Wales government has started doing food-drops, trickling thousands of kilograms of carrots and sweet potato from above to feed the state's colonies of brush-trailed rock wallabies.  The NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service recently commenced 'Operation Rock Wallaby' to combat the at-risk nature of the state's marsupial population. The parks service has spent the past week completing the food drops for rock wallaby colonies in the Capertree and Wolgan valleys, Yengo National Park, the Kangaroo Valley, and around Jenolan, Oxley Wild Rivers and Curracubundi national parks. In total they have dropped more than 2,200kg of fresh vegetables for the critters. New South Wales Environment Minister Matt Kean said while the aninmals have managed to flee the fires they're left without a source of food.  The Environ minister further added that rock wallabies typically survive the fire itself, but are then left stranded with limited natural food as the fire takes out the vegetation around their rocky habitat.  

The World Wildlife Fund has estimated about 1.25 billion animals have died either directly or indirectly from the bushfires across Australia.  'This heart-breaking loss includes thousands of precious koalas on the mid-north coast of NSW, along with other iconic species such as kangaroos, wallabies, gliders, potoroos, cockatoos and honeyeaters,' WWF-Australia CEO said in a statement.  The rock wallaby - the main species for the state's food drop initiative - was already deemed at-risk before the bushfires because of habitat destruction. Meanwhile, charity Animals Australia has been using aircraft to transport food supplies for the injured and burnt wildlife in regional Victoria.

More than 800,000 hectares of land has been burnt in East Gippsland since fires gripped the region and stranded thousands of tourists and residents before New Year's Eve. Charity group has been relying on donations to lease small planes and then filling them with bags of grain and pellets to distribute to wildlife in the region through 'Vets for Compassion'.  The first plane chartered last weekend flew in Dr Elaine Ong and Dr Chris Barton- the first vets on the ground in Mallacoota.  A subsequent two plane-loads of food and veterinary supplies were sent off on Wednesday to reach the animals around the Mallacoota fire-grounds. The organisation initially struggled to get food supplies into Mallacoota because of smokey conditions there. In total the group has sent three tonnes of food for kangaroos in the area, in addition to a generator and other supplies.
It is stated that - 'With roads likely shut for weeks, the risk of starvation for surviving wildlife in the area is very real,'  'It would be tragic if there was a further loss of life because the needs of surviving animals was not being met.' 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
14th Jan 2020.

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