Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Ancient Australian tree takes life-saving drive

Australian Aboriginals replanted an ancient boab tree after it was driven thousands of kilometers to save it from destruction.

A road widening scheme meant the tree, estimated to be 750 years old, had to be uprooted from its home in Western Australia and moved 3,200 kilometers (1,900 miles) by truck to a park in state capital Perth.
"Everyone is hoping that the tree will live for another 750 years," said horticulturalist and project coordinator Patrick Courtney.
"We are giving it the best chance it would ever have got."
The bottle-shaped tree can live for up to 2,000 years and is a native of the remote northern Kimberley district of Western Australia state.
It weighs 36 tonnes, stands 14 meters (46 feet) high and is 2.5 meters (eight feet) in diameter.
The tree played a significant role in the traditions of the local Gija people, who have given it to the Nyoongar people, the traditional owners of Perth's King's Park area.
The Gija held a ceremony to see the tree off on its marathon six-day journey to its new home, and on Sunday, a traditional ceremony to welcome the tree and replant it was held in Perth.
As the tree was in its dormant stage in the tropical dry season, few special measures needed to be taken to keep it alive during the journey.
It will be in the company of another 14 young boab trees, which seem quite happy in the more temperate climate of the Perth region.

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