Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Arkaroola: a frog in Marathon's froat!

The Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary continues to reveal previously unknown secrets of biodiversity. It must be immediately protected, completely and without ambiguity, from threats of mining. The environmental despoiler Marathon Resources, must be unceremoniously kicked out of the place.

The latest discovery is of a species of frog. There will be some who will scoff at the value of a new frog in the scheme of things. But frogs are the one of the most important barometers of climate change as well as being valuable sources of new DNA that complement pioneering work in the medical sciences. Besides, they’re pretty cute…..

It certainly sticks like a frog in my throat that the second-largest shareholder in the "cowboy outfit" Marathon Resources is the Chinese state-owned investment company China International Trade and Investment Corporation. Yes, it's nice to go and see the endangered pandas in the Adelaide Zoo, gifts to the people of Australia from the Chinese government. But has CITIC no shame in financing the destruction of the environment needed for the survival of our endangered species, including the beautiful yellow-footed rock wallaby?

The article below is from the capitalist press, from Murdoch’s Adelaide Advertiser (June 16 2010).

Note the reference to Marathon continuing to throw its weight around and bully the Spriggs who own the Arkaroola sanctuary.

They are desperate for some development to justify continued investment in the company, shares in which currently stand at a miserable 44 cents.

The main shareholder is Queensland coal magnate Ken Talbot. He has recently increased his holdings by $400,000 – not much for a multimillionaire – in fact, it’s only $100,000 more than jailed Labor politician Gordon Nuttall accepted from him in bribes.

But it does underscore the desperation to support the share price, to stop its southerly trajectory, in order to hopefully get back some of what they have invested. The problem is though, who would want to buy?

Hence the need to appear to be continuing exploration activity – anything to keep the shareholders from fleeing the sinking ship.

Meanwhile, a cute little frog adds meaning to the ark in Arkaroola!

(The Advertiser article follows:)


A YOUNG scientist has discovered the state's first new frog species in 45 years.

Kaya Klop-Toker, 23, was invited to study frogs, bouncing back after the rain, in Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary.

She found lots of "cute" little tree frogs with "fantastic camouflage" and took specimens to the University of Adelaide expert, Associate Professor Mike Tyler.

Straight away, he knew this "pretty little thing" was special. The brand new frog species will bring the total number in South Australia to 29.

"This is the first new species to be found in South Australia since 1965, when another species unique to the Flinders Ranges called Crinia riparia, or the Flinders Ranges froglet, was described," Prof. Tyler said.

"The Flinders is very important in terms of the frog fauna, because there are species that are unique to the area, they don't occur anywhere else in Australia."

Associate Professor Tyler called Sanctuary owners Marg and Doug Sprigg with the exciting news. It was a very different phone call to the one they'd received earlier that day from the chairman of Marathon Resources. The uranium exploration company has served Arkaroola with notice of further work on site.

This is the same company that illegally buried about 35 tonnes of low-level radioactive material in 22,800 plastic bags at Mount Gee back in 2007.

Ms Sprigg has "serious concerns" about the potential impact of uranium mining on many little known and as yet undescribed species.

"Last year a giant gecko was found in the Northern part of Arkaroola, again undescribed," she said.

"We just wonder what else is here that could be under threat from exploration and mining."

Ms Klop-Toker said she wanted to work in conservation and frogs were the "most at-risk type of animal that we have at the moment". "We've lost more frogs than any other type of species in the last 50 or 100 years, so that makes me want to try and save them," she said.

The species' name will be confirmed by an international naming committee.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is fantastic news, both for its own sake and as more grist to the mill to prevent mining in our beloved Arkaroola, for a host of other reasons. Chris Leckonby, visitor, retired science teacher