Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Wildlife Bytes 2221/7/09

Wildlife Mini-Bytes

Animal Cruelty

Animal cruelty offenders will undergo psychological assessments and be monitored by police in a bid to stop their violence escalating. The proposal by the Barnett Government -- believed to be the first of its kind in Australia -- is aimed at breaking cycles of abuse, amid fears that some animal attackers can develop into serial killers. Details of those convicted of animal cruelty would go on to a police database so officers could monitor their behaviour and record any further offences. The slaying of a number of kangaroos and other animals over the past year prompted the RSPCA to lobby the State Government to take action, with concerns that the worst offenders were a timebomb waiting to go off. Full story here; http://www.news.com.au/perthnow/story/0,21598,25766175-948,00.html *PerthNow


Online Petition to stop hunting in NSW national Parks at http://www.thepetitionsite.com/8/Stop-Hunting-of-Australian-wildlife


Environment Minister, Peter Garrett, has approved the Four Mile uranium mine in South Australia, stating that he has imposed strict approval conditions that will ensure the mine follows World’s best environmental practice. Minister Garrett says he is “certain this operation poses no credible risk to the environment.” *ABC


Kenyan wildlife authorities have impounded nearly $1 million worth of elephant tusks and rhino horns smuggled by poachers from southern Africa and bound for illegal ivory markets in Asia. It was one of Africa's biggest ivory hauls. Sniffer dogs found the nearly 300kg of ivory at Nairobi's Jomo Kenyatta Airport in cargo crates coming from Mozambique on a Kenya Airways (KQNA.NR) flight, the director of Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) told reporters late on Tuesday. "The rhino horns are freshly cut and one of them has a bullet wound," Julius Kipng'etich said. "It's a sad moment. Remember all wildlife wherever it is, is a world heritage. So if we lose any, it's a loss to all of us as a human race." *Rueters

Poisoning Paradise

The "Poisoning Paradise, Ecocide New Zealand" documentary is now being shown around New Zealand. A hardhitting expose about the facts of consistently using 1080 in NZ, the documentary shows falcons and other birds dying, freshwater crayfish fighting over submerged 1080 pellets, deer and pigs rotting in creeks, eels eating dead animals in waterways, and dying stock. This doco has serious implications for the continued use of 1080 in Australia.....if anyone in the Government bothers to watch it. *WPAA

Hairy Marron

More than 2,000 rare crayfish will be released into the Margaret River this week, following a five-year breeding program to save the endangered species. The hairy marron is under threat from the more common smooth marron, which has been mating with hairy marron females. It is hoped the breeding program will produce up to 10,000 hairy marron each year. Craig Lawrence from the Pemberton Freshwater Research Centre says the specially bred hairy marron will be released in areas where smooth maroon and hybrid species have been removed. "This breeding program will hopefully flood the system with the correct gene pool," he said. Mr Lawrence says the marron will be tagged before they are released. "We'll track this population for several more years," he said. "It really depends on the rate of recovery as to the period we will track them, but we will monitor the population just as we monitor marron populations throughout the state." *ABC

ACT Kangaroos

The 19 kangaroo bodies that were shot in the Canberra horse paddocks have been buried. The bumbling ACT Environment department are now making excuses about how this breach of the "Code of Practice" has never happened before, and they will make sure it doesnt happen again. Meanwhile the ACT Environment department have reiterated their intention of killing kangaroos every year in the Canberra Nature Parks to maintain what they call "sustainable numbers" of kangaroos. *WPAA

Now all the kangaroos are gone....

A kangaroo kill at fenced Thompsons Lake, South of Perth in Western Australia three years ago has gone too far, say local residents. The kill was supported by the local Conservation Council, and a few other organisations, who claimed the kangaroos were damaging the environment. There was a strong local protest, but police harrased the protestors, and the kill went ahead. Its uncertain how many kangaroos were shot, but the WA Environment Department at the time put the mob number at 450, claiming the area would only support 22 kangaroos. But this week the Department said 1032 kangaroos had been shot at Thompsons Lake between May 2006 and March 2007. And now, according to locals, the kangaroos have all but disappeared, who say the "cull went too far". Is this what we can expect to see around Canberra in few years time? *WPAA

Bow Hunting

A kangaroo has been fatally shot with a crossbow arrow at Yanchep National Park, sparking an investigation by the Department of Environment and Conservation. A Western Power worker discovered the western grey kangaroo dead on an access road with an arrow protruding from its thigh. Authorities believe the kangaroo was slaughtered some time in the past 10 days "The large male kangaroo appeared to have suffered a slow and painful death, as it had been paddling its leg in the dirt for some time," Yanchep National Park Visitor Services manager Heather Beswick said. "This was an extremely upsetting discovery to make and it is disturbing to think that a person would intentionally inflict such pain and suffering on an innocent animal." Anyone with information regarding the incident is urged to contact park authorities on 9561 1004. *Network Item

Kangaroo Industry

Animal welfare activists says it is not their fault if Queensland loses significant export income and jobs as a result of an overseas ban on kangaroo meat. Wild game harvesters have been told one of their major markets, Russia, has banned kangaroo imports due to food safety concerns. Mark Pearson from the Wildlife Protection Association says the job losses are a concern but the sector was never sustainable. "Whether Russia banned it or not, there are very few kangaroos left in the commercial zones in South Australia and New South Wales because they've been shot out and exactly the same thing was going to happen in Queensland," he said. "The responsibility for this is not the animal welfare movement. The responsibility lays with the industry and their lack of consideration for the shooters and their future."

David Arnold from the Remote Area Planning and Development Board says it is a blow because the industry contributes much to local communities and the state's economy. "Everyone just seems to overlook the wild game industry and with such a huge export loss, it will have an immediate and direct impact on our region," he said. "Across the region, I'd be talking in the millions in export dollars and the loss of employment which again goes under the radar a bit." Mr Arnold says local economies will suffer. "The kangaroo industry, or the wild game industry, is a very valuable contributor economically to our whole region as well as Queensland and Australia," he said. *ABC

Kangaroo shooters are preparing to be out of work as early as the end of this week, because Russia has banned the import of the game meat. Russia had taken 70 per cent of kangaroo meat processed, but last week told Australian exporters it had banned the product for food safety reasons. More than 50 jobs will be lost when a kangaroo abattoir closes in Broken Hill in NSW. Approximately 160 shooters supply Australian Meats, which processes 5000 kangaroos a week. A shrinking export market is to blame, says shooter Robert Kemp. Mr Kemp says he was told the abattoir is closing because a deal to sell meat to Russia fell through. He says it will have a big impact on him in the short term. "It throws everything up in the air until you can establish yourself with another processor," he says. The abattoir is set to close on Wednesday. management wasn't available for comment. Shooter Tony Blinco, from western Queensland, says he'll have to find other work, like roo harvesters have done in the past. "They've got jobs and gone to the council and things like that, and they'll shoot on their days off to try and supplement their wage, and if it gets bad enough, I will have to do the same thing," he says. *ABC

Ed Comment, Some interesting figures here. If the kangaroo processing plant process 5000 kangaroos a week, from 160 shooters, that means each shooter shot 4.46 kangaroos each night, or 31 kangaroos in a week. Hardly a big income? And what the story above didnt say is that the men employed in the kangaroo processing plants are Brazilians, bought in under John Howards "aussie worker replacement scheme".

A western Queensland kangaroo meat processor will meet Russian officials in Sydney today to find out more about a ban on kangaroo meat imports. Russia announced the ban last week because of food safety concerns. Jodie Cronin from Wild Game Resources in Longreach says 95 per cent of its product is sold to Russia and the company has been forced to close the local abattoir from tomorrow. She says about 60 people have lost their jobs and no-one knows how long the plant will be closed. "Everyone's ... down in the dumps about it at the moment because of course we're not getting any answers," she said. "And because we're such a small factory, we get along really well. "And it's just put a big impact on us because we've all had to go out and look for different jobs and I just can't give them any answers to when we're going to start up again." She says the Longreach plant sends about 30 tonnes of kangaroo meat to Russia every week and a permanent closure would be a big loss to the local economy. "We're hoping to find out that we will be reopening in the near future hopefully ... even if it's just a couple of months or it's the start of next year, hopefully there's a promising start for us but we've just got to wait and see what the outcome of it is," she said. *ABC


Have you ever seen a quoll? If not, then why not meet one of Queensland's rarest mammals when quolls come out to play at the Numinbah Quoll Discovery Day. You can come face to face with Slugger, a live spotted-tailed quoll, mainland Australia's largest carnivorous marsupial, at the Numinbah Valley Hall on July 26. At Wildlife Queensland's quoll day, rural and semi-rural residents will have a chance to win a new poultry shed to help protect hens from the meat-eating appetites of the local quoll population. A grant of up to $750 to construct or create a quoll-proof poultry pen will be available to one lucky landholder on the day. And Australia's leading quoll expert, Dr Scott Burnett, will be there to talk about quolls and introduce Slugger.

If you have seen a quoll on your property, Wildlife Queensland wants to find out more about local quoll numbers and residents' quoll experiences. The federally-funded Protecting Quolls in Queensland Landscapes project is being run in “quoll hotspots” throughout Queensland. The Numinbah Valley Quoll Discovery Day is from 10am to 12.30pm at the hall on Numinbah-Murwillumbah Road. Refreshments will be provided. The day has been organised by Wildlife Queensland with the federal government's Caring for Our Country program, the University of the Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast City Council and SEQ Catchments. So go along, meet Slugger and have a great quoll day! *Gold Coast Mail

Kangaroos Harrassed

Illegal off-road bikers causing havoc metres from homes, with one seen armed with a crossbow and chasing a kangaroo, have Hills residents up in arms. Residents in The Vines may take matters into their own hands after the latest incident last weekend, when Roxburghe Drive residents were forced to call police, Ellenbrook Security and City of Swan rangers after a resident saw a bike rider with a crossbow chasing a kangaroo, inmycommunity.com.au reports. One resident of the street, who did not want to be named, said he had always been bothered by the “hoons” on the privately-owned property, but that when he thought they may be harming animals he was disgusted. He said he had contacted the owner of the land to see if they could close off the property to illegal riders, but was told there was nothing she could do. "People need to take responsibility for their own land,” he said. “They put in cyclone fencing to protect some plants, but they’re not prepared to fence it off for kangaroos.”

The resident said he also suggested to the owner to install CCTV cameras at the access points to the property to identify the riders, but nothing happened. “I guess it’s all too expensive,” he said. A spokesman for Wilson Security, the contractor for security services in The Vines and Ellenbrook, would not comment on the kangaroo incident, which occurred on Sunday July 5. The City of Swan confirmed that two customer advocates were called to the site by police in relation to off-road vehicles, and that they pursued two riders in their four-wheel drive vehicles until the terrain made it impossible to continue. Ellenbrook Police Station Senior Sergeant Peter Hayes said no injured kangaroos were found. *PerthNow


The Queensland Government has introduced new laws to protect dugongs off the coast of Gladstone. Primary Industries Minister Tim Mulherin says under the new rules fishermen around Facing Island have to be within 200 metres of their nets at all times. He says the changes will prevent dugongs from being trapped and drowning. Fishermen who abandon their nets risk a $1,000 fine and could have their nets seized. The President of the Wildlife Protection Association of Australia Pat O'Brien says it is a great move, but has also suggested other measures. "One of the issues I think they also need to deal with is the increase in development proposals in the Curtis Island area because dugong aren't just around Facing Island, they're all over the place," he said. "So you know, perhaps they need to look very closely too at any potential impact from development proposals on Curtis Island as well. "It appears that dugong populations have crashed fairly dramatically over the last five years. "Of course it's not just fishermen and nets, there's shark nets as well that are an added threat. There's a lot of boats in the area now, boat strike is another threat to dugong populations and the loss of sea grass beds." *ABC

Wild Pigs

Reported sightings of feral pigs north of Cape Tribulation are dropping after trapping was stepped up in May. Contract pig trapper Jeremy Roberts of Cape Pest Control said he had trapped more pigs in 15 traps from Cape Tribulation to the Bloomfield River than he had seen in 50 traps between the Daintree River and Cape Tribulation. "We began a 12-month trial on May 1 and have already trapped 85 pigs in just 30km," he said. "The best part is researchers are already reporting a decrease in live sightings in the area so we know we are making an impact." The integrated management program, which has been in place for three years in the Daintree region, previously only covered north of the Daintree River to Cape Tribulation and works with local landholders and Queensland Parks and Wildlife . Cairns Regional Council agreed to extend the contract for another 12 months as well as widening the boundaries.

Mr Roberts said pig management in the Daintree region relied predominantly on trapping as the sensitive ecology of the area also had to be taken into consideration. "In reality, I don't think we will ever eradicate feral pigs but if we can have an impact on coastal hotspots and take as many pigs out of these areas as possible, it can only be a good thing," he said. "We have heard reports of them destroying turtle nesting sites and competing for food with cassowaries and other native animals. "I think part of the reason we are trapping so many of these pigs is that this area has never been targeted before so the pigs aren't used to traps." Cairns Regional Council's natural areas management co-ordinator Russell Wild said there was an estimated six million feral pigs in the Far Northern region with the Daintree Coast community feral pig-trapping program catching and disposing of 2299 animals since 2005. *Cairns Post

Flying Foxes

Singleton Council is asking all residents that have African Olive trees on their land to remove them as the council attempts to eradicate the food source that has seen the flying fox colony of Burdekin Park stay in town during the winter months. “Unless they have to be kept, get rid of them,” Singleton Council’s manager parks and facilities, Alan Fletcher, said. “If the trees have to be kept, stop them fruiting by hedging them.” The African Olive (Olea europaea subspecies cuspidate) can grow up to 12 metres high and is easily recognisable by its elliptic leaves and small purple-black fruits, about one centimetre in size. Mr Fletcher said by examining their droppings, it appears the flying foxes have been feeding on this fruit, which ripens in the colder months.

The council is currently in the process of clearing African Olive trees from all its parklands in a joint operation with The Upper Hunter Weeds Authority. Laurie Perry, Director of Yunaga Mine Services, has been removing the weeds and estimates he would have cleared almost 1000 trees from a section of parkland in Wattle Ponds. The council also plans to remove the weed from areas along the river and in Redbournberry, McDougalls Hill and council reserves as part of the operation. The trees are cut and pasted with the herbicide garlon and then mulched to prevent the spread of seeds. Usually the number of flying foxes in the park decreases dramatically during the winter months but this new food source has allowed the colony to stay in the park. This time last year there were no flying foxes in Burdekin Park. This year there is presumed to be anywhere between 2000 and 5000 flying foxes inhabiting the park. *Singleton Argus

Everglade Pythons

The federal government on Thursday said it would open up Big Cypress National Wildlife Refuge, which borders Everglades National Park, to a pilot program allowing licensed hunters to ''terminate'' any python they encounter. It's part of a broad program to control the invasive snakes, laid out Thursday by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. The announcement comes days after Florida Sen. Bill Nelson called for a controlled hunt in Everglades National Park and state wildlife managers announced they would permit expert trappers to kill snakes on state marshland. The program includes many things park scientists have been doing for years to battle the Burmese import: outreach and hot lines for the public; studies of python movements, habits and threats to the ecosystem; and programs to design python traps and sexual scents that might be used to bait them. But Salazar, who pledged to tackle the snake problem during his first visit to the Everglades in May, also vowed to seek more funding to expand efforts.

For instance, federal scientists are working with the University of Florida to develop drone aircraft with thermal imaging to pinpoint the difficult-to-detect snakes. The park also might add to the dozen agents who have removed hundreds of pythons during the past few years, and will consider whether to expand the state's expert posse program into Everglades National Park. One hurdle is a park prohibition against hunting. But the pilot program will open federal land in the Big Cypress, where seasonal hunting and guns are allowed. Because no laws protect python, there is technically nothing to prohibit properly licensed hunters from shooting them now, but the program would formalize the effort and data collection. ''We are committed to aggressively combating this threat, including having trained and well-supervised volunteers hunt down and remove snakes,'' Salazar said in a release. Eradicating python will be difficult. Scientists say less than 5 percent of the estimated 100,000-plus snakes in the park are ever seen. Hunting alone likely won't do it. ''There is no one silver bullet,'' said Paul Souza, field supervisor for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. *Miami Herald

Ed Comment; Its interesting that at the US has strong bans on importing trees and plants, but still allows the import, breeding, and sale for pets of these Burmese pythons.

Please sign petition to protect the Grey Headed Flying-fox in New South Wales


Thinking about Wildlife? Who’s going to watch over our wildlife when you no longer share their World? Well, we are! The Wildlife Protection Association of Australia Inc. will continue to forcefully lobby governments to do better with wildlife management, and by taking them to Court if necessary. We are currently working on developing eLearning projects, so students can become aware of the importance of our wildlife living in a safe and secure natural environment. After you have looked after your family and friends in your Will, think about wildlife. A bequest to the Wildlife Protection Association of Australia Inc. will ensure that we can continue to take a leading role in protecting and conserving our precious wildlife. None of the donations we receive are diverted to "administration". Every dollar we get through bequests or donations for wildlife hits the ground running! Talk to your solicitor, or if writing your own Will, add the words "I bequeath to The Wildlife Protection Association of Australia Inc. for the purpose of protecting wildlife in Australia (a specified sum), or (specified items including land or vehicle), or (the residue of my estate) or (percentage of my estate) free of all duties, and the receipt of the President, Secretary or other authorised WPAA officer for the time being shall be a complete and sufficient discharge for the executor(s)." You can also phone me for a confidential chat, as to how a bequest can help us work to protect our wildlife, when you are no longer able to. * Pat O’Brien, WPAA 07 54941890

Kangaroos - Faces in the Mob!

On the east coast of Australia lies a valley of magical beauty, surrounded by mountains and shrouded in mists during winter. In these idyllic surroundings live a mob of wild Eastern Grey Kangaroos whose society is rich and complex. Faces in the mob is an engaging true story of life within this one mob of Australian wild Eastern Grey Kangaroos.

For two years, award-winning Australian filmmakers Dr. Jan Aldenhoven and Glen Carruthers lived with this mob. Hear their compelling account of the world of these captivating marsupials where each animal has its own personality. Buy the DVD now with Paypal...$29.95 Au includes free postage in Australia.


Follow the destinies of two lovable joeys - a female named Sunshade whose mother is conscientious and successful, and Jaffa, a little male full of pluck and courage whose mother is absent-minded. And witness everything from birth to the dramatic and sometimes deadly battles between adult males.

Never before has the richness and complexity of the kangaroo society and the daily drama of their family life been revealed in such stunning detail. Superbly photographed, this beautiful story of Australia's most famous animal will captivate you from beginning to end. This is the best documentary about our beloved kangaroos that has ever been produced. Profits from sales of the DVD go to help the Kangaroo Protection Coalition to campaign for the protection of our beautiful kangaroos.

Buy the DVD now with $34.95 Au Paypal for International postage delivery. http://www.kangaroo-protection-coalition.com/kangaroos-facesinthemob.html

This DVD would make a great "All Year Round" present!