Harry Clarke draws our attention to the demise of Earth Sanctuaries Limited (ESL). It has been in bad trouble for a long time. It’s a very sad day. ESL was a marvellous experiment in private conservation hounded out of existence by jealous bureaucrats and the ideologues of the conservation movement.
Founded, I think in the Adelaide Hills on what was an unorthodox theory at the time by the unorthodox John Walmsley, Earth Sanctuaries created habitat for Australia’s native mammals by simply fencing out feral cats and other introduced species. This got Walmsley into all sorts of trouble with the local authorities who, as you will understand had all sorts of rules about what fences should look like and where it was OK for them to go.
After huge amounts of effort quite a few parks were established. Of course they generated far more value – conservation value – than they were able to capture privately from gate takings. But, from the little reading I did about the venture, just allowing them to sell the animals that they bred would have made the venture a nice little earner. We couldn’t even manage to let them do that.
Another small triumph for bureaucracy and ideology and a sad day in all other respects.