‘The time has come’, the Walrus said,

‘To talk of many things:

Of shoes - and ships - and sealing wax -

Of cabbages - and Kings -

And why the sea is boiling hot -

And whether pigs have wings.’

                              Lewis Carroll Through the Looking Glass [1872]

HOW WE TURNED   a Wonderland into a Wasteland in 200 years saddens me greatly. Tasmania is a place of many confusions & paradoxes - where denial overwhelms openness; control supplants cooperation; and manufactured perception and deception successfully confounds truth and reality.

In recent comment on the Fox Reward (#172), David Alford highlighted this enigma that has become the hallmark of Tasmania. A Land where the use of poisons to kill has so destabilised a rich island ecology; where native animals are treated as value-less whilst the new invasives are treated like ‘mammon gods’ to be enshrined in gold and tributed with money.

David’s ‘appeal to logic’ is as important to Tasmania’s ‘War on Foxes’ as it is to Tasmania’s many other false-wars;   conflicts manufactured out of self-serving rhetoric rather than reality.

David puts forward a logic that, to be sure, many cognizant Tasmanians have considered - the Paradox of the Fox and the Thylacine. A sort of smelly manure that a Lewis Carroll - the author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-glass - would almost certainly turn into fertile compost for CHANGE!

Since its colonisation in 1803, this beautiful island has been the play-thing of pompous charlatans and clever magicians who invent the public conversations to support flimsy substance in the vain attempt to appropriate the hearts and minds of the gullible and in so doing control, what Richard Flanagan has called, ‘this tight little island’.

A comparison of the science and the politics about these two creatures is so relevant to where Tasmania finds itself today. The actions of a self-serving, close-knit power cabal are always fraught. When ego-driven individuals and their control machines feel they ‘own the knowledge’ and can befuddle the foolish, we are ALL defrauded of life itself.

Obtaining reliable and incontestable evidence of thyalcine presence & establishment within any Tasmanian habitat (at locations historically known to be places where the thylacine existed in the early decades of 1900s) can be directly compared to those applied to the introduced fox story. One animal the Government declares is officially ‘extinct’ and continues to clearfell it s former haunts; the other is unofficially declared ‘present’ across swathes of damaged landscapes where both the land and its nature have paid a terrible price.

In the 1880s manipulative politicians and landed powerbrokers carefully indoctrinated Tasmanians to believe that the thylacine should be legitimately hunted down because it was killing sheep.   Today we are taught to despise the fox based on a perception that it was recently introduced through orchestrated smuggling; the cubs reared in captivity and then free-released at several locations. One story-line became the accepted excuse for why Tasmanians could legally persecute an animal to the edge of oblivion; the other, a convenient cover story as the reason why Tasmanian IS now the hunting place of ‘up to 400’ breeding foxes.

That foxes have come to Tasmania there is no doubt, but the biological proof of fox establishment within a Tasmanian landscape remains as flimsy and contestable as the proof for the thylacine’s continued presence.

What would suddenly implode Tasmania’s control-scape in one almighty WHOOSH would be the actual re-discovery of the thylacine in a threatened wild place - the Upper Florentine, the Weld, or the NE Forests.

Wow, would that change this controlling political landscape? The tragedy of Tasmania is as Oscar Wilde once quipped:  “To know the price of everything, and the value of nothing.” 

The metaphor of a creator’s ‘worth’. Worth MORE if it is killed; worth MORE if it is extinct or worth MORE if it remains a cryptic hidden thing. [ Thylacine Conspiracy by Bill Cromer captures that imagery.]

David Obendorf

Obtaining reliable and incontestable evidence of thyalcine presence & establishment within any Tasmanian habitat (at locations historically known to be places where the thylacine existed in the early decades of 1900s) can be directly compared to those applied to the introduced fox story. One animal the Government declares is officially ‘extinct’ and continues to clearfell it s former haunts; the other is unofficially declared ‘present’ across swathes of damaged landscapes where both the land and its nature have paid a terrible price.