David Rabbitborough's A to Z of Australian Species



The greatest concern to conservationists in Australia is for the number of species that are threatened with extinction. One species which is perilously high on the endangered list is the manufacturer. A portly myopic creature, not unlike a wombat, that toils away in holes called factories turning out everything from ladies pyjamas to ball bearings.

For centuries these unimposing but industrious creatures have lived in harmony with Man, but from the time they were introduced into Australia from England they were seen as a threat to the farming industry and therefore as a pest.

In the seventies they were classified as vermin, and hunted almost to extinction by both unions and governments as a matter of policy.

We have now learnt enough to know that these ugly and often antisocial little animals perform a vital function in maintaining what is called the balance of payments. As we pay more and more to have our own raw materials returned to us reshaped into appliances and garments by other countries there is a concerted attempt being made to breed more manufacturers.

Governments have now belatedly put manufacturers back on the protected species list and tried to cultivate the species with special programs. This has now let to the new problem that the Australian species has become so adapted to the protected lifestyle that they have little hope of surviving against the larger more aggressive competitors when they venture out into the business world. Now only only a few of these lumbering creatures remain. When they die it is anticipated that they will be stuffed - and so will the country.

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