Kangaroo Island gains wilderness parks


By Vikki Langton

ADELAIDE — Five areas of Kangaroo Island's valuable natural wilderness are the first section of South Australia to be fully protected by a state government act. Under the Wilderness Protection Act of 1992, the areas, totalling 68,281 ha, were proclaimed wilderness parks on October 21. They are Cape Gantheaume, Cape Torrens, Cape Bouguer, Western River and Ravine des Casoars.

The Wilderness Society has been campaigning for five years for wilderness protection laws which would give land maximum protection from further development, and which would put the issues of ecology and conservation first on the agenda.

Mark Parnell of the South Australian Wilderness Society believes that this is the crucial point. The legislation does not aim to take away visitors' enjoyment of the areas in any way, but it has finally recognised the fact that conservation and protection of rare species must always come first.

Years of campaigning have finally paid off. The Wilderness Society stressed that it was the grassroots support system that was most crucial to success. It is hoped that the success in Kangaroo Island will be just the beginning, as further areas such as deserts, wet lands and Flinders and Gawler ranges are now being assessed.

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