A little little girl in New Zealand is hoping to bring attention to the plight of the world’s endangered tongue mountain range.
It’s the only mountain range that doesn’t receive any national protection.
But in her spare time, a local artist has taken up the cause.
“We’re trying to raise awareness, and also help the people of Tongue Mountain to understand what’s going on, and how much they need help to get back,” says Rachel White, whose mother’s name is Milly.
The Tongue Mountains are an area of Australia that is home to Australia’s largest island, Bora Bora, as well as the world-famous Tongue River.
“I feel like it’s kind of my world.
I have friends that live in Tongue, I’m very close to Tongue and I feel like I have this connection with it,” says White.
The artist has painted over a mural of a mountain range in Tongues Tongue.
It’s an emotional experience for her.
“You know it’s not the easiest thing, you’re on a tiny island and it’s really hard to get things done,” she says.
“And you can’t tell people about it.
And I guess it’s like being the only one on this planet that you have to talk to and you can actually say hello to, but you can only do that by walking up and down.”
She says she’s trying to get her message across through art.
“It’s really important that Tongue people know what’s happening.
Tongue has this special place in my heart, and it has been under attack for a long time.
We’ve had floods and fires and we’ve had this mountain range disappearing.
I don’t want it to go away.”
Tongue is the world heritage listed island in the Tongue Islands National Park.
The National Parks Service says Tongue is threatened by overgrazing, habitat loss, pollution and a lack of governance.
It says the Tongues are among the most degraded mountain ranges in Australia and its impact on the environment is significant.
“Tongues Tongues Mountains are a unique and highly vulnerable site in the region, with significant potential for degradation from the overgrows of the Tongule Range, its habitat loss and the pollution of the surrounding environment,” it said in a statement.
It warns the Tonges Tongue Range is a world heritage site and should be managed as such.
Milly has created a Facebook page to raise funds for the Tongules Tongue Conservation Trust, and hopes to raise $2,000.
She says she wants to show the world that people care.
“Because we know how difficult it is, we’re just trying to make it better,” she explains.
“A lot of the people that live there, it’s a beautiful place to live.
I think that’s why we need to do something about it.”