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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 28 February 2015
NEWS 4 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 28 FEBRUARY 2015 DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM Ban dogs to save hooded plover Steve Karakitsos has found government support to ban dogs in Mornington’s national park to keep the vulnerable hooded plover alive HELEN VELISSARIS Steve Karakitsos' campaign to save the native hooded plover bird has gotten the support of Nepean MP, Martin Dixon. Mr Dixon voiced his concern over the dire situation of the native bird in parliament last week, hoping to convince the government to enforce a total ban on dogs in the Mornington Peninsula National Park. "The decline of the hooded plover in Mornington Peninsula National Park is directly correlated to the policy of allowing dogs on the same beaches where the birds nest," Mr Dixon said. "Unfortunately, 20 years of educational efforts, signage and partial restrictions have not resulted in improved compliance as many dogs are still unleashed or on the beach outside the allowed hours." He called on the government to ban all dogs in the park "as soon as possible" after he saw the devastation first hand. Mr Karakitsos, president of the South Eastern Centre of Sustainability, brought Mr Dixon to Rye back beach a couple of weeks ago and witnessed an unleashed dog running along the area where the birds nest. Dogs are supposed to be on a lead at all times and are not allowed on the beach after 9.00 am. Mr Karakitsos says the birds have no area to nest without the fear of being mauled or chased by dogs. "These birds are being continuously mauled by dogs and nobody cares about it," he says. "To put it in perspective, you've got about 22,000 Steve Karakitsos (R) shows MP Martin Dixon around the nesting area of the hooded plover. penguins and about seven were killed by dogs. After that there was a huge furore." Currently there are only 550 individual birds left in Victoria. Of the 113 eggs laid in 2012-2013, only 19 chicks hatched and only nine survived the year. Last season, only three survived. The unleashed dogs aren't just attacking the birds. They are running through their nesting areas, scaring the birds off and leaving their eggs vulnerable. "It's getting worse and worse," Mr Karakitsos says. Dog walking is banned in some areas of the national park in Mornington, but poor signage and lack of enforcement has seen no impact on the situation. All national parks in Australia have banned dog walking, but when the Mornington park was declared a national park in 1988, the council didn't enforce the ban. Mr Karakitsos understands A hooded plover with its chick. that pet owners would feel like they deserve the right to use public space, but reiterates that right shouldn't have been there in the first place. "People really like their pet dogs, and want to have the right to have them run around on beaches, but having said that, there are a number of other places they can take their dogs to allow them to have that privilege," he says. He hopes the government heeds Minister Dixon's calls and acts on the issue before it's too late. "Nature is often seen as an obstacle and impediment or too insignificant a reason to act upon at an official level," Globe desperately seeking new home Artist Costas Theoharidis is looking for a new home to house his twometre-wide artwork HELEN VELISSARIS Been wondering how to fill that large empty space in your office lobby? Look no further. Artist Costas Theoharidis is desperately seeking any interested parties who would like to display his piece of artwork, after Toyota's headquarters in Melbourne aren't able to keep it on display anymore. The sculpture, a steel globe measuring two metres wide, has been on display at the art space in the building's lobby for about two months, but Costa has been told it will need to be moved in the next couple of days to make room for more artwork. A representative of the Toyota head office told Neos Kosmos that no artist's work is permanently exhibited. Costas is at odds at what he'll do when the deadline to remove the sculpture on March 8 comes. "It's one of 50 exhibited in our gallery show," Toyota's representative said. Each piece of artwork is exhibited for three months, after which if the artwork hasn't been sold, it will go directly back to the artist. Now Costa is facing the prospect of destroying the artwork if he can't find a place to house it or raise enough funds to put it in storage. "I've been to everyone," he says of his desperate search to find the globe a home. "I've been to state government, I've tried to contact multinationals, airlines, we went to hotels, we went to Westfield, all the shopping centres, the buildings in the city, Federation Square. "They’re just 'we love it, but sorry'." He spent around 15 years building the structure, precision-cutting around 750 intricately handcrafted pieces that fit within the steel work, and painting the pieces with such detail that they mirror the earth's topography. "I wanted it in public for people to appreciate," he says. "I built it for people to really remember that the world is a beautiful place." He's offering to give the art- work to an interested party for free if they would be able to display it in its full glory or, if worse comes to worse, would talk to someone who would be able to offer secure storage. The globe, weighing about 600kg, is very versatile and can be suspended or can sit in a stand. Those interested can contact Costas Theoharidis on 0419103343. Costas Theoharidis’ sculpture was displayed at Toyota’s headquarters in Melbourne.
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