Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Wildlife Bytes 8/9/09

Whats On for Wildlife Protection......


Celebrate the return of the red necked stints to the Ralphs Bay sandflats for the southern summer! The Spring Fair will be held in the Lauderdale Hall on Sunday September 13th. We will have SRB merchandise, information displays, mug o' soup, photo sales, children's activities run by a qualified entertainer and a photographic competition for all the family. Please support us by bringing and donating baking, plants, books etc. for sale and let us know if you can help on a stall - we could do with some more helpers! More information on the SRB website here: http://www.saveralphsbay.org

Hervey Bay

Save the Fraser Island Dingoes Committee are hosting a Dingo Day at Hervey Bay on the 20th September at Apex park, Pialba. from 10 am to 2 pm. Indigenous dancers, story telling, speakers, sausage sizzle, etc. Come along and learn about the Fraser Island dingo! Brisbane

Attention everyone who cares about our wildlife and in particular koalas... Come and join us at a Rally in Brisbane Square on Sept 25th in Brisbane... Sign in at 11am, Rally starts at 12. Please register you interest at saveourkoalas@gmail.com Lets show you support of our wildlife and meet like minded people....

The Koala Foundation is hosting a 'Save the Koala' Month. Read more here... https://www.savethekoala.com/save-the-koala-month.html *Network Items

Wildlife Mini-Bytes.....

Backyard Wildlife

Do you provide wildlife with food, water, shelter and places to raise their families? If so, you may already be eligible to register your yard with the Wildlife Protection Association of Australia as an official Backyard Wildlife Habitat site. You can join many just like you who have designated their backyards as wildlife-friendly and recieve a handsome Certificate ready for framing. To get started, all you need to do is complete the easy online application here.. http://www.australian-backyard-wildlife.com Your $16 application fee covers the cost of supplying your certificate, and allows WPAA to continue its important work to protect and safeguard wildlife across the country. *WPAA

Rampaging 'Roo

A rampaging roo has knocked a beach-bound cyclist off his bike and left him with a broken arm. The 61-year-old cyclist from Bramston Beach was riding his pushbike on a track in the North Bramston Beach National Park when he was knocked off his pushbike by a kangaroo. He was taken to hospital with a suspected fractured arm, about 9am yesterday. *Cairns Post


In South Australia the dog fence has been keeping dingo movements in the State's north out for over 100 years. Another Sydney academic, University of Sydney Researcher Mike Letniksays dingoes should be allowed through the fence to roam in National Parks to control foxes and feral cats that threaten native wildlife. State Liberal MP Graham Gunn says pastoralists have enough pressure on them as it is, without having to worry about dingoes killing their sheep. *ABC

Magpie Geese

Magpie geese hunting in the NT started last Tuesday. Waterfowl hunting will be allowed in four Top End reserves, including Harrison Dam, Howard Springs hunting reserve, Lambells Lagoon and Shoal Bay. The waterfowl hunting season has been extended to four months after last year saw an above average nesting of the birds across the Territory. About three million magpie geese live in the NT - of which 90,000 animals are expected to be shot by the end of the season on December 30. There is a bag limit of 50 geese daily. Shooters from SA, Victoria, and NSW came for the shootup. Only the meaty parts of the birds are taken, the rest of the carcase is dumped.*WPAA

Loch Ness Monster Sighted

A man claims to have unearthed a picture of the Loch Ness Monster. Jason Cooke spotted "Nessie" while browsing the Google earth's satellite photos. The shape seen in the loch is 65ft long and appears to have an oval body, a tail and four legs or flippers. Jason, 25, of Nottingham, said: "I couldn't believe it. It's just like the descriptions of Nessie." Researcher Adrian Shine, of the Loch Ness Project, said: "This is really intriguing. It needs further study." In order to see the object, co-ordinates Latitude 57°12'52.13"N, Longitude 4°34'14.16"W need to be entered in Google Earth. *


Wildlife officials in Kenya say that hippos as well as elephants are now perishing due to the protracted drought that has parched a broad swath of East Africa. Fifteen hippos were found dead in Tsavo West National Park over the past several weeks. Rangers say that drought has withered the grazing areas that the animals feed on when they are not submerged in pools during the day to escape the equatorial sun. The Kenya Wildlife Service has begun to provide bales of hay around lakes and near river banks. Some of the park's lodges are also spreading kitchen scraps around where the toothy animals normally feed. * Mercury

Repco Rally

Over 150 police were on hand during the Repco car rally to ensure protestors didnt disrupt the Repco rally. Repco Rally Australian chairman Garry Connelly told local paper The Northern Star that advanced road tracking techniques will be used to help animals injured during the event. According to Connelly: "We have put in place a unique technology for the World Championship, in fact for motor sport – a unique road tracking system in relation to wildlife that may be injured during the event and we will have a very solid and conclusive, proven method of determining any road kill or any animal that is injured and we will be recording that and that will be in our report." In another sad day for Democracy, an appeal to stop the Repco rally in the Federal Court has failed. This event has been enabled by the NSW Motor Sports (WRC) Bill 2009, which overrode 12 different planning, environmental protection and heritage laws and removed all right of appeal. Read more, and make comment, here, http://candobetter.org/node/1506 and here http://candobetter.org/node/1522 and here..... http://www.theroar.com.au/2009/09/07/australia-leaves-sports-stars-with-a-bitter-taste/

Tacky Tourism

Roos rule in the world of wacky mementos: bottle openers made from kangaroo paws, a boxing kangaroo pen and a kangaroo thimble are all available to discerning tourists. Now we want you to join us on the hunt for Australia’s tackiest souvenir. Simply email your images to travelphotos@news.com.au along with your name, home town and shot location. Please write "tacky souvenirs" in the subject line. Your pictures must be no larger 5MB and 300dpi. The best pictures will be published on Escape.com.au. *News.com.au


Denmarks's shame.... what an atrocity, a sad shame. Around 950 Long-finned Pilot Whales are killed annually, mainly during the summer. During the cut of a pilot whale's spine, their main arteries also get cut. Because of this the surrounding sea tends to turn a spectacular bloody red. Entire schools of whales are killed on the shore and in the shallows of bays with knives which are used to sever the major blood supply to the brain. Read more here....http://candobetter.org/node/1513

Kangaroo Industry Training

If anyone is interested, there is a Utube video about wild pig and kangaroo kiling training program here, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uCB8vB75IDw&feature=fvw and the link for the NSW Animal Liberation kangaroo Industry video is here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=18MoxO9yJa8&feature=related

Rare Turtle Found

The rare Arakan forest turtle, once though to be extinct, has been rediscovered in a remote forest in Myanmar, boosting chances of saving the reptile after hunting almost destroyed its population, researchers said Monday. Texas researcher Steven Platt and staff from the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society discovered five of the brown-and-tan-spotted turtles in May during a survey of wildlife in the Rakhine Yoma Elephant Sanctuary. The sanctuary contains thick stands of impenetrable bamboo forests, with the only trails made by the park's elephants, said Platt, of Sul Ross State University in Alpine, Texas. *AP

Flying Foxes

We were in Central Queensland last week, which is why Wildlife Bytes is a tad late. While there I watched the spectacular emergence flight of 30,000 or so flying foxes from Ross and Figtree Creek in Yeppoon. This is very close to the horse stud where the Hendra visus broke out recently, and not surprisingly there has been a re-emergence of calls for flying fox shooting, and relocation attempts, and even eradication from some of the National politicians. It just doesnt seem to occur to these foolish one-eyed politicians that if they are ever going to win Government in Queensland (and it should be really easy next time around) they will need to govern for all Queenslanders, not just a few rednecked farmers who refuse to install netting because they want to subdivide their properties later on. Perhaps they really dont want to inherit the mess made by the present Labor Government. *WPAA


Taronga Western Plains Zoo has been suspended from selling animals after it misled the public about the sale of endangered antelope to a member of the Shooters' Party lobbying for the right to hunt them. Documents obtained under Freedom of Information show the zoo made none of the contractual safeguards it claimed to have implemented to protect the 16 blackbuck antelope from being hunted on Bob McComb's proposed game reserve. Instead, the sale contract stipulated the zoo accepted no responsibility for the animals after they left Dubbo. Internal correspondence shows the animals were sold to Mr McComb for less than half their value and had been bred for the sale after the zoo's population dropped to a historic low. While the zoo maintains that a senior veterinarian inspected Mr McComb's property before the sale, there is no mention of the assessment in the zoo's correspondence and no record of a report being prepared.

The minister responsible for the zoo, Carmel Tebbutt, has demanded a report into the zoo's trade of animals after the Herald revealed the antelope sale to Mr McComb. She said it would include ''what further animal welfare protections should be put in place … In the meantime, the zoo has suspended such transactions with private operators." A zoo spokeswoman said: ''The zoo is at its heart dedicated to animal welfare. There is no history of mistreatment of animals that have been transferred from its care … [but] it was incorrectly stated that transaction records included a reference indicating the animals were to be used for breeding purposes only.''

The documents also show that Tony English, who was called on to resign from the zoo's ethics committee after the Herald reported the sale, was involved in advising on the transaction. Mr McComb has told the Herald he would ''walk over broken glass'' for Dr English, who is also a member of the Game Council board. A working document prepared by the Taronga Conservation Society shows Dr English checked the fee for the sale and described it as ''in the right ballpark''. The Greens' spokeswoman, Lee Rhiannon, who made the FOI application, said: ''By conducting such a poor investigation of Mr McComb's background, the zoo has effectively let the fox guard the henhouse. What's missing here is any evidence that the zoo inspected Mr McComb's deer park, as claimed, or investigated his background before they sold him the animals. 'The Environment Minister, Carmel Tebbutt, and zoo officials have misled the public.'' Hunting exotic animals on enclosed game reserves is illegal in NSW but is the subject of Shooters' Party legislation before Parliament. *HeraldSun

NSW is today a state in paralysis. The Rees Government is being held to ransom by two men who got just 0.61 per cent of the vote - The Shooters Party's Robert Brown and Roy Smith. A political alliance between the Upper House Shooters and the Labor Government, which Premier Nathan Rees needs to pass laws, is now officially over. And the deal-breaker is Government's refusal to support a Shooters' Bill to let hunters shoot in national parks. "Whatever goodwill was there is now gone," Mr Brown said. While Mr Rees publicly grappled with the fallout from the Della Bosca affair, the Government lost control of the Upper House, rendering it virtually unable to govern. Crippled by its own internal crisis, the Government was hijacked by the Opposition and minor parties in an unprecedented loss of power. It is now unlikely it will be able to pass amendments that would strike out the ban on the publishing of school leagues tables.

And in a blow to the Budget, it cannot pass laws for the $600 million sale of NSW Lotteries - both of which the Opposition refuse to back. Potentially more damaging for Mr Rees, the Government's Upper House members were unable to stop an Opposition move that will force the Government to produce potentially damaging documents relating to Mr Rees' sacking of minister Tony Stewart last year. The Government now has at least 13 Bills before the Parliament, many of which it cannot get passed unless it restores its alliance with the Shooters, or sits down with the Opposition or the Greens. . Dozens more pieces of legislation are expected to come before the Parliament before November.

It is the first time since Labor came to power in 1995 that it has been unable to negotiate legislation through the Upper House, where it has never enjoyed a majority in its own right. With only 19 of of the 42 seats in the Legislative Council, it has since 2007 relied on an alliance with the Shooters and Independent MP the Reverend Fred Nile to govern.However, the two Shooters MPs have now declared the relationship is officially over because of the Government's refusal to support its own Bills to extend the right of hunters to pursue their sport in national parks." "It's because of their own ineptitude," Mr Brown said. "We have always said we would let them govern unless they put the boot heels into our constituents. It is apparent that there are elements in the Government that want to teach the Shooters Party a lesson." *Daily Telegraph

Meanwhile, The residents of Hill Top need no reminding of the "bullets for votes" deal that has flourished under the NSW Labor government. It is there, in the picturesque Southern Highlands, that a government often reliant on the support of the Shooters Party to pass legislation has agreed to build a giant new $5 million shooting complex. About 1000ha of national park, popular with bushwalkers, has been annexed for the development: a series of rifle, pistol and shotgun ranges that will accommodate thousands of shooters from the state's south, and probably the military, too. And for Jodie Laing, from the Hill Top Residents Action Group, concerns about the project have only deepened in the six months since it passed muster with NSW Planning Minister Kristina Keneally. *Network Item

Fraser Island Dingoes

The Queensland government's strategy to manage Fraser Island's dingoes has been backed by an independent audit. The audit, by dingo expert Dr Laurie Corbett, has found the strategy of educating visitors, training rangers and erecting fencing in strategic locations, has reduced the risk posed to humans by dingoes on the popular holiday island. Environment Minister Kate Jones told state parliament on Tuesday there had been no incidents of dingo aggression within the fenced areas, and the audit had endorsed further training for rangers to educate visitors about dingo habits. Dr Corbett had also found evidence contrary to the popular opinion the island's dingoes were starving, Ms Jones said.

"His examination found there was an increase in the average size of the adult dingo on Fraser Island, from 16 kilograms to 18.3 kilograms," she said. "Most importantly Dr Corbett found that research to date has indicated that there is adequate natural prey for a sustainable dingo population on the island." Ms Jones said Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service would do further research to confirm this. The issue of dingoes on Fraser Island has split experts, with some saying the population is close to being wiped out.Ten dingoes have been destroyed this year, including one last month, after an attack on a four-year-old boy. *Sunshine Coast Daily

Ed Comment; No surprises here, Corbett designed the origonal Dingo Management Plan, now he produces an "independent report" saying everything is fine.....

Hendra Virus, the Known Facts.

Hendra virus has now killed four of the seven people known to have contracted the infection in Queensland. It is a rare virus believed to spread from bats to horses and then to humans. The first known outbreak occurred in 1994 at a property in Hendra, on Brisbane's northside, and it has only ever spread to people in Queensland. Initial symptoms include an influenza-like illness, fever and headache. These can progress to pneumonia, convulsions and coma. Queensland Health says all seven cases involved people who were in close contact with tissues and secretions from infected or dead horses.

Authorities are still trying to find out more about the rare virus, but it is believed horses become infected by eating food contaminated by bat urine or birthing material. Most horses that contract the virus soon die after developing an acute respiratory or neurological syndrome. Biosecurity agencies have a policy of destroying any horse with a confirmed infection due to the risk horses that recover may still shed the virus to humans in the future. Health workers are still establishing the best way to treat people infected with the virus, trialling the use of intravenous antiviral drugs on those suspected of being infected. There is no vaccine for the virus and its incubation period in humans is estimated as being between five and 16 days. Some experts believe the Hendra virus may be a mutation of myxamatosis, introduced to Australia to kill rabbits. *

German Kangaroo

German cops say they have received hundreds of calls about an escaped kangaroo that seems to be moving across the country over the last three weeks. The animal has been spotted running around a sports track, down a motorway, and even in a back garden - but every time it was far too quick to catch. Police have already contacted a zoo that has agreed to take the animal if it can be caught and are worried that it may be hurt after several motorists claimed they had narrowly miss hitting a kangaroo at places such as Gerolsheim, Ebertsheim and Maxdorf near the western German city Mannheim. Local council spokesman Hans-Peter Grimm said the plan was to shoot the kangaroo with a sedative next time it was spotted and that they had no idea who the kangaroo belonged to.

Grimm said: "It's not dangerous and looks in good condition - it is obviously finding plenty to eat. We believe it was probably part of a larger herd where the fact that one kangaroo is missing has not been noticed. It is not necessary to register exotic animals under law, and it will be hard to trace the kangaroo's owner even if it is caught." This is not the first time a runaway kangaroo has made headlines in Germany. Last year Toto, a six-year-old kangaroo, was on the run for 15 days having escaped from a wildlife park in northern Germany. His keepers eventually lured him back using his favourite snack, peanut butter. *

Donkey Meat

Wild game processors are planning to export donkey meat in an effort to stay afloat after Russia's ban on kangaroo floored the game meat industry. John Burey from United Game Processing in Charleville is trialling donkey meat exports in coming months once approval is gained from the Chinese authorities. However, Mr Burey believes donkey won't be the silver bullet for out-of-work kangaroo harvesters, who would find it hard to adapt to the larger animal and its carcase requirements. "It may not attract roo shooters due to the meat weight and the need to cool the larger carcase quickly," he said. "But if we lose the harvester base, it will be hard to get back." Mr Burey expects to be one of the first in Australia to export donkey to China, with the majority of the animals to be sourced from the Northern Territory.

The downturn in the kangaroo industry saw western Queensland game processors shut and harvesters out of work when the Russian Government placed a ban on kangaroo meat. "The issues with kangaroo meat seem more political than product related," he said. The Charleville processor plans to "fill a void" with donkey exports until the kangaroo industry picks up again. "Recognition of kangaroo hasn't been picked up all over the world, but once it does, we'll find it will be accepted much better." Donkey prices are expected to bring in less than kangaroo meat per kilogram, with the choice to turn to donkey coinciding with slowing demand for other game meats. "The market for bores is ordinary, as there is no requirement for Australian boars as it only supplemented the shortfall during the northern winter season, so it may never start again as strongly as it did in the past." "The market may be there, but between 50-100 percent lower than in the past." *Qld Country Life

Ed. Comment; this Industry does live in a Dreamworld....any camel or donkey meat export Industry will be plagued by almost the same issues that is closing down the kangaroo Industry....inhumane treatment of animals, and persistent contamination problems.

New Species

A fast-talking tree frog with a habit of wrestling is among a handful of new species discovered in the Far North in the past decade. The Kuranda tree frog gets its moniker from a distinctive, excited short, fast-tapping call. A longer call is used during aggressive encounters between male frogs with the calling bouts often resulting in wrestling. But the Litoria myola has a known distribution area of 3.5sq km - qualifying is as a critically endangered. Cairns Frog Hospital president Deborah Pergolotti said any new frog species discovered in the Wet Tropics in a limited range would spark conservation concerns. "This poses a huge concern on habitat loss, not just for the myola but for other species," she said. "Any sort of housing division or the sort near a small area like this would simply just wipe it out." The Kuranda tree frog was among 329 plant and animal species found in Queensland, according to a report released yesterday.

WWF-Australia, formerly the World Wildlife Fund, report Australia's Hidden Treasures highlighted 10 years of weird and wonderful discoveries across the nation. Researcher Conrad Hoskin stumbled on the Kuranda tree frog while undertaking a PhD on the evolution of tree frogs two years ago. Dr Hoskin of Australian National University was awarded a prestigious Eureka Prize for his research work on frogs, conducted in Cairns last month. Other weird and wonderful species that have been found in the Cape and Torres Strait are the Torresian flying fox and a flesh-eating pitcher plant. The flying fox - also known as the Moa Island fruit bat - is the smallest flying fox species known to live in Australia. The pitcher plant - Nepenthes tenax - was discovered in 2006 in northern Cape York and can grow up to 1m tall with vines up to 25cm high. Botanical experts believe this flower can actually consume small rats, mice, lizards and even birds. Among the newly discovered species are a crustacean that has no eyes and lives underground, and a spider-hunting wasp. The first new species of taipan to be discovered in more than 125 years was found in the Gibson Desert in 2007 and joins the ranks of the world's deadliest snakes.

The WWF-Australia said the specie is the third Nepenthes species recorded in Australia and is the country's second endemic species. The other is the Australian snubfin dolphin which has been sighted in Far Northern waters as well as off the Northern Territory and Western Australia. The report said more than 1000 plants, 195 fish, 74 reptiles, 13 amphibians and seven mammals have been found across the country in the past 10 years. The report is also to mark National Threatened Species Day today. *Cairns Post