12 years ago the evening sky would be darkened by hundreds—if not thousands of fruit bats winging their silent way from nesting places to feeding grounds. It is now eight years since we’ve seen any. Human population pressure and housing estates combined with electrification of bats by orchardists, and destruction of natural habitat have killed them. We had a dozen cute grey wallabies living on and around our property ten years ago but the human, dog and cat population has tripled and now there are no more wallabies or sugar gliders. Flocks of electric-blue and bright red fairy wrens used to bedazzle us. Now everyone has a ride-on mower so fields that used to grow seed heads are now acres and acres of seed-headless lawn. No more wrens.
There are also no blue butterflies that used to swarm in millions, fewer and fewer varieties and numbers of frogs. Haven’t seen a blue-tongued or dragon lizard for years—but they used to be common. But we do have another large housing development a couple of kilometres down the road.