By Gregory White and Lloyd Nazareth
Our club is in need of a mascot, and we have narrowed it down to two furry friends. I am advocating for us to have a wombat. My Vice-President, Lloyd, is fighting for a sea lion. But it is up to you to decide.
Why a wombat? I hear you ask. Let me tell you exactly why. Wombats are an Australian icon, but their life has never been easy. Northern Hairy-Nosed Wombats have been on the brink of extinction for hundreds of years – only 30 or so animals were identified in 1982. We Aussies have been trying to increase their numbers but there is still a lot more work to do. Wombats are rare and special, just like Rotaractors. The other reason why we should choose a wombat is because wombats uphold the Rotary values. There are many types of wombats – in this they show diversity. They are often depicted as very grumpy animals, but let no-one tell you that a wombat has no integrity! In fact, they were reported to be burrowing other small marsupials in their dens (despite the fact that they really like to be alone) during the bushfire crisis that has wracked our country. This is service at its finest. Wombats also show leadership in the way that they take initiative to burrow their own complex nests. Finally, like all animals, wombats show respect – to the land, to themselves, and to other creatures. No better example of respect is there than the fact that the wombat is so neat it leaves neat cubes of poop instead of sloppy piles. Distinctly Australian. Distinctly Rotarian. What better mascot could we hope to have? Vote Team Wombat.
Our potential sea lion mascot will be one of about 9,000 Australian sea lions in the world. They would be good friends with Addy and Tasco, the two sea lions at Adelaide Zoo.
These handsome and loving marine animals are one of the rarest sea lion species in the world. They are very intelligent, confident, and have a playful and cheeky nature.
But how are sea lions relevant to our club here in Adelaide? Well, 85% of Australian sea lions live and breed right here in South Australia, with the other 15% in Western Australia. Surveys have shown that key breeding grounds include Seal Bay on Kangaroo Island, which was recently devastated by bushfires. Breeding cycles happen only once every 18 months, and female will only breed at the site where they were born. Therefore, it is more important than ever to protect the breeding sites of 85% of the Australian sea lion population, right here in South Australia.
Currently, population numbers are not growing and Australian sea lions are unfortunately not expanding their range of colonies. Each type of sea lion has a separate colony, and the death of even a single female sea lion can have a negative effect on the colony's survival.
With your support, we, Adelaide City Rotaract Club, can help ensure that the remaining 9,000 Australian sea lions can always remain a SPLASH ahead of extinction.