It’s a long way from the city of George in South Africa’s Western Cape to Bundaberg, but ecologist Luami Zondagh noticed the similarities between the two countries and their people on a recent trip.
Luami is an ecologist working for the Gouritz Cluster Biosphere Reserve and recently spent several weeks in Bundaberg as a guest of the Burnett Mary Regional Group (BMRG).
The world’s 701 biosphere reserves are designated under UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Program and include the Great Sandy Biosphere Reserve which incorporates parts of the Bundaberg, Fraser Coast and Gympie Regional Council areas.
The program recognises areas of internationally unique ecosystems and aims to improve the relationship between these ecosystems and the communities that depend on them.
Luami Zondagh's first trip to Australia
It was Luami Zondagh's first trip to Australia and she was glowing in her praise for the Burnett Mary region, its communities and the natural resource management programs being undertaken here.
“The Burnett Mary and Western Cape regions are both relatively sparsely populated areas,” Luami said.
“We share a high level of appreciation for our agricultural and ecological resources and their role in the liveability of our communities.”
“The collaborations between BMRG and its partners are particularly inspiring and have given me a lot of practical ideas to take back home.”
During her stay, Luami spent time with natural resources officers from Bundaberg Regional Council, ranger teams from Gidarjil Development Corporation and Rob and Nadia Campbell from Goondicum Station.
“It has been a truly wonderful experience,” Luami said.
“From dune rehabilitation and volunteer marine turtle monitoring on the coast, to erosion mitigation and innovative grazing practices inland, there is so much work being undertaken by so many dedicated people throughout your region.”
Luama impressed with council involvement
Luami was particularly impressed with the involvement of Local Government in resource management and said she would love to see the same level of commitment and support from her local principalities.
On top of these wonderful experiences, Luami Zondagh said that a highlight of her trip was a visit to Bundaberg’s Alexandra Park Zoo.
“Just like my own country, Australia has so many unique animals. We must do everything we can to protect them and the ecosystems that sustain them.”
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