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Western Australia Spelio Group Conservation Appeal 2000.

This article has been published in Descent, but I felt that many people do not buy Descent on a regular basis and would therefore miss this serious conservation issue.  I would like to add that this is not the only issue in Western Australia at this moment in time.  There is also a development company in the north Perth area that is digging up caves to build a new housing estate.  Sadly, the WASG can only afford to concentrate on the larger and more serious issue in the Cape range, as the costs are crippling. PLEASE READ ON.  I have recently been in contact with the WASG who have informed me that they have a serious conservation problem in Western Australia.  The club is relatively small, but has to police (if that is the right word) a huge area from Margaret River in the south western comer of Western Australia up through to Perth where there are caves in the Yanchep National Park, then on up to Exmouth and the Cape Range.  Also, beyond into the North West Territories!  This is an almost impossible task with the financial resources they have, so they do the best they can, relying on the park Wardens, local people, and conservationists to help them.

At this moment in time, a Mining Corporation LEARMONT LIMESTONE is applying for licences to mine 82 sq. KM of the Cape Range.  This will devastate the karst area around Exmouth and the Cape! There are 600 known caves in this region with another 50 approx being found annually.  (I quote from the official report THE CAPE RANGE KARST IS A VISUALLY STUNNING LANDFORM THAT WOULD BE PERMANENTLY SCARRED BY THE PLACEMENT OF A MINE ON THE PROPOSED MINING LEASE. KARST LANDFORMS ARE RELATIVELY RARE IN AUSTRALIA OCCUPYING ONLY ABOUT 3% OF THE TOTAL LAND MASS).  There is also a report on the impact to the flora and fauna in the region and underground.

WASG and other organisations are trying to oppose the lease using Court Action; "the hearing opened on the 3rd August 2000" but this will be crippling financially to the club and others involved.

The Lawyers are advising a softly, softly approach to the problem and WASG do not want this to become a blazing issue until the sensible method has been tried.  At the moment an alternative site for mining has been proposed by the conservationists.  However, the caving club and all the groups are desperate for financial help and I appeal to all the clubs in Great Britain to make some kind of contribution, however small, every little helps!

At the moment the information I have is that cheques should be made out to CAVCARE which is the WA cave conservation fund set up for this purpose . You can send the cheques to my home address and I will forward them on to CAVCARE or they can go direct to WA at CAVCARE 27 BECKENHAM ST, BECKENHAM WESTERN AUSTRALIA.

My address is Keynsham, Somerset. Email mwi1co@[removed].

Please help fellow Conservationists in their struggle to keep the Cape Range flora and fauna, caves, and landscape intact!  Mike Wilson.

To illustrate this appeal, Mr. Wilson has sent me an article written some while ago which describes some of the delights of caving in this threatened area- Ed  (see next section)