March 2017

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Outdoor Balloon Releases.

We recently received information from Zoos Victoria on their latest conservation campaign and it is one that is close to our hearts; replacing balloon releases at outdoor events, (funerals included) with something far kinder to the environment and the many animals, particularly marine, who share the world with us.

Certainly the sight of balloons rising is pretty but the sight of dead and dying sea creatures is not. On the remote Lord Howe Island, off Australia’s east coast, Flesh-footed Shearwaters are currently in decline due to mistakenly ingesting rubbish that has found its way into our oceans. In many cases, adult birds are feeding their chicks this rubbish thinking it is food. Baby birds are often found underweight and starving; without urgent intervention they could die before ever leaving the nest.

A 2014 survey found 100% of Flesh-footed Shearwater chicks had ingested rubbish. Throughout many years of study on Lord Howe Island, balloons and their attachments continue to be one of the most identifiable items found in these birds1 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sjYnhYPD5Wc&index=1&list=PLq_FuJlj2gUyRBPlTB5jx7D4zErM0rDQJ

So how can we make a difference? There are many alternatives which can still be meaningful without doing harm, the simplest being bubbles. Perhaps a packet of seeds for mourners to take home and plant; trees in tubes, petals or lighting of candles. All these are a great alternative and the use of seeds or seedlings is a long term reminder as well as environmentally beneficial.

A company Blissful Butterflies, provide butterflies for release. Of course this is dependent on season and availability. You will find more information on their website. www.blissfulbutterflies.com.au

Ultimately it is a personal choice and each of us will make our own decision. At Harrison Funerals we would encourage everyone to consider the less harmful alternatives and make a more conscious effort to create a safer world for our precious wildlife. www.zoo.org.au

Maree :)