Uluru (25.3444° S, 131.0369° E) is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Australia. It is located in central Australia. It is is 348 metres high and 3.6 kilometres long. Each year more than 250,000 people visit the national park. This is damaging the environment and culture of the area. To avoid this continuing, management plans have been put into place to protect the area and its inhabitants.
The Anangu people have lived in the area for thousands of years and have a spiritual connection to the land. They believe that their ancestors created Uluru and that the different features of uluru represent a different part of their life in the beginning of time. When the Europeans first arrived they claimed the land as their own. It was only in 1985 that the land was finally handed back but it came with conditions. The land had to be immediately leased back to the government for 99 years. They also needed to share the management of the landscape. Since then the area's management has been shared between the Anangu people and the Australian government. The government wanted joint management so that the profit from tourists could continue. The joint management consists of joint decisions by both parties. The government funds the management and they both agree to different decisions. Uluru is now also World Heritage listed so it is protected and this also brings more people to Australia to visit. Since both the government and the Anangu people have different priorities, there have been a few conflicts. One of the most recent debates has been about banning tourists from climbing Uluru. Tourists have come and payed to climb to the top of this famous landmark. The Anangu people believe that this is disrespectful (as they believe people are climbing on their sacred land made by their ancestors). To them this land should be respected. The other problem with climbing is that it is slowly wearing away the rock. The Aboriginal people have put a sign at the base of Uluru asking people to please respect their culture and not climb but it is still happening. Now there has been talk about altogether banning it. For the government climbing is good because it is a good source of income.
There are also a large number of protection strategies put into place to ensure that Uluru is maintained and the land stays as it is today. Anangu people have been working with rangers and scientists to ensure that the land is given the best care. Rangers are now learning how to treat the land, taught by members of the Anangu people both young and old. Two of the main areas the management focuses on are fire management and weed and feral animal management. During the cooler months, back-burning occurs. This is to make sure that no bushfires occur during the hotter months. Not only does this reduce the risk of a bushfire, it also helps many of the fauna in the area to grow. Some plants rely on the fire to provide fresh and fertile soil so that they can flourish. The management is also trying to reduce the number of introduced species in the area. The park is working closely with other national parks around the Northern Territory to try and keep these introduced animals out of the national park. These animals disrupt the food cycle and can be fatal for other native animals. Since Uluru does not have any fences, the rangers need to keep a close eye on all the wildlife to make sure everything is happening naturally as it should be. One other thing that is being done is the monitoring of tourist levels. The amount of people visiting each year is being closely monitored. This is so that we can make sure that too many tourists do not ruin the land.
In my opinion, these strategies will work very well in the future for maintaining the area but more could be done for maintaining the culture and the spiritual feeling of the landscape. Alot is being done to make sure that the land stays the way it is today but the culture is being forgotten or ignored. If this is not noticed, Uluru will be maintained but the culture and the spiritual feeling could be lost. For the strategies already in place, I think they will work so that Uluru and its wildlife can stay safe and protected.
In the future I think that Uluru will continue to be a very popular tourist destination. I do not think that the amount of tourists coming each year will increase but they may increase as I also believe that they will end up banning climbing. I think that the government will realise how much the area means to the Anangu people and ban climbing because the income made through the climbing will not be able to make up for the trust lost by allowing the climbing to continue. I think the management will stay joint or the government will continue to fund it because the land needs the time and money of the government to be preserved for as long as possible.
Uluru has been and will continue to be a very popular tourist destination and will remain spiritual to the Anangu people. Even though the management is joint, the Indigenous people still hold the rights to the land and are recognised as its true owners. Together along with the government, the Anangu people will continue to manage the area and protect the site.
- ("ABC Online Education - ABC Splash")
- ("Management Plan 2010-2020 | Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park | Department Of The Environment And Energy")