Animal migrations are not only a sight to behold, as demonstrated by lyrical descriptions of the annual Christmas Island red crab migration, but they are also great events of human encounters with animal species. These are moments in animal history when species come out in hordes, following their instincts as they retrace routes to friendlier ecosystems.
These migrations are also matters of great concern to environment-conscious governments, a shining example of which is Australia, whichever party is in power. Red crabs are imperiled by concrete highways that have cut through previously safe forest covers. They are also regularly run over by vehicles, decimating a good portion of their population.
Despite its modernizing projects, Australia in general is hypnotized by the creeping rhythms of red crab marches, which are now a tourist attraction. Australia also famously displayed its affinity for its natural heritage by preserving the integrity of the Sydney Olympic Park, the construction of which could have threatened a rare biodiversity of flora and fauna during the 2000 summer games.
In the run-up to that global event, the green and golden bell frog, an endangered species, also put a halt on stadium construction by having the planned site as a habitat. The stadium, naturally, had to get out of this animal’s way and was instead constructed a couple of kilometers away from the original site.
What the Australian example shows is a brilliant reconciliation between modernity and wildlife preservation. Elsewhere, animals are fair game during their annual pilgrimage, and the deaths escape notice. This is happening at an alarming rate in Africa, where the East African migrations of zebras and wildebeests are disrupted by human development.