In March 2019, Helen Davidson from The Guardian wrote an alarming article, it was titled “Record Numbers of Australian Wildlife Species Face Imminent Extinction”. Just the title is enough to make you cringe, knowing that with the recent greenlight approval of the Adani Mine, is a signal that our government doesn’t give a crap about the environment or its flora and fauna. To have a government that refuses to act on any environmental issues (just Google ‘climate change Australia’) means that is if left to everyday brain-cell-having, future-thinking-of, caring-about-things-other-than-power-and-money folks.

This brings us to the documentary of Saving Warru.

Saving Warru chronicles the efforts of the Indigenous Rangers of the APY lands in South Australia’s North-West to bring back the Warru, or the Black-Footed Rock Wallaby, from extinction level numbers. In fact, in 2007 their numbers dropped below 200 in the APY lands, making it one of South Australia’s most endangered species.

If nothing else, Saving Warru showcases how beautiful the APY Lands are. Outback Australia has long been a fascination for many and this documentary shows that it’s for good reason. But scenery isn’t the best part of it, it’s the passion of those trying to save the Warru. The Indigenous Rangers are passionate, eager to see the environment get back to what it once was. They are also committed, with vision from 2004 highlighting how long and how hard they’ve been working to save the Warru from predators and habitat degradation. There are a lot of predators too, with feral cats and foxes proving to be the biggest threat.

It’s not only people in the APY Lands trying to save Warru either, with the Monarto Zoo, just outside South Australian regional city Murray Bridge, also playing a major part. Baby Warru are transported to Monarto Zoo to help raise them, with that aim of them to be returned to their natural environment when they are older and more able to protect themselves.

The program has been a big success. Monarto Zoo has been visited by several politicians who have enjoyed seeing the programs progress as well as celebrities. Anthropologist and Primatologist Dr. Jane Goodall has also visited.

The conservation project also has other upsides, such as providing the local Indigenous communities with work, inspiration and great role models. The Indigenous rangers even go into local schools in help teach the kids about the environment and its inhabitants and how it can provide jobs on country.

The documentary shows how pivotal conservation is in keeping habitats safe for native species in the face of the human exploitation of the land. Saving Warru is produced and directed by Daniel Clarke and Amy Pysden of Ninti Media. The pair do a great job at putting together a broad image that helps to produce an informative and constructive look at the work that goes into saving a species. Considering Helen Davidson’s article, it seems that there is a lot more work to do, so I implore everyone, conversationalist or conservative, to watch this documentary. It’s a gem.

Directors: Daniel Clarke, Amy Pysden

Saving Warru screens at the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival on July 20th 2019.