One Careless Night
Christina Booth's award-winning children's book One Careless Night is a poignant tale of extinction, a reminder that we need to care for our natural spaces and wildlife before it's too late.
It seems prescient that Christina Booth released her children's book One Careless Night in a year that Australia is set to announce a reform of its national nature laws. The book took the Picture Fiction award at this year's Environment Award For Children's Literature (EACL) and imagines events around the true story of the final night of the last Tasmanian tiger.
"A stunning and heartbreaking story of Benjamin, the last Tasmanian tiger. My daughter commented that this book reminds her to treasure what she has because you never know how precious something is," said EACL judge Dr Jenny Martin.
On a cold winter's night in Hobart Zoo, the star attraction was the last remaining Thylacine, pacing around a cage. The zookeeper forgot to let it in for the night and the last of his kind, Benjamin, succumbed to the cold. It's a poignant tale of human neglect and indifference to our natural world, accompanied by Christina's delicate illustrations of this magnificent animal.
Watch Christina discuss her award-winning book outside the gates of Hobart zoo where it is set.
With strong new nature laws we can avoid disasters like this again. And this isn't some problem confined to the early 20th century... Australia has the highest rate of mammalian extinction in the world, only recently we lost the Bramble Cay melomys. The island rat-like rodent is thought to be the first animal to be made extinct due the effects of climate change, but it could have been saved with adequate nature laws.
You'd think that the fate of the Tasmanian tiger would have taught us something, that we would have learned that once something is extinct, it is gone forever. The loss of Australia's largest carnivorous marsupial leaves a gaping hole in our cultural and scientific understanding, and the world a poorer place. The powerful tale and illustrations of Christina Booth will help guide coming generations.
"The story of the journey of the last known living thylacine is the story of all animals who have become extinct," says Christina. "I hope that this story will help to change attitudes and inspire action to ensure it is not the story for our current endangered species."