Monday, November 16, 2009

Wildlife Bytes 12/11/09


After several weeks of Internet dropout problems we are finally back on line. Eventually Telstra found a cracked conductor in a ground box several houses away from our new office at Deception Bay. We apologise for any emails we may have missed. If you sent us an email and we didnt reply, please send it again. *WPAA

Traveston Dam

After almost four years, the Traveston Crossing Dam is laid to rest, which then leaves Premier Anna Bligh free to carry out her threat of using taxpayer cash to build expensive, polluting and energy-hungry desalination plants to sustain a water supply for an ever-increasing southeast Queensland population. But there are some other options for the Premier. She could ask for water restrictions to remain in the region, rather than relaxing them on December 1 as is currently planned. She could ramp-up recycled water plans. She could size-up the possible savings from decommissioning the very thirsty coal-fired power plants in the region. *CM

Kangaroo Sterilisation

A sterilisation program to curb a growing kangaroo mob at the Edithvale-Seaford Wetlands has been completed. The Melbourne Water program saw 28 female eastern grey roos and three dominant males sterilised in a bid to control the population, which had grown to about 70. Melbourne Water spokesman Nicholas McGay said it was necessary to keep kangaroo numbers down to secure their wellbeing. `It's just reducing the population pool to keep it sustainable,'' Mr McGay said. ``It's all about the welfare of the kangaroos .'' The Friends of Edithvale-Seaford Wetlands, which earlier this year halted school group tours because of safety fears, had been pushing for the sterilisation program for more than a year. Friends president Philippa Bailey said it was the most humane way to deal with the overpopulation problem. `It had to happen,'' Ms Bailey said. ``There was just way too many.'' *Mordialoc News


The world's biggest web-weaving spider has been recently discovered in South Africa. The female of the new species of golden orb weaver spider has a leg span of 13cm -- many times the leg span of the tiny male. * WPAA


A photograph purporting to show a 55ft snake found in a forest in China has become an internet sensation. It was originally posted in a thread on the website of the People's Daily, the official Communist Party newspaper in China. The thread claimed the snake was one of two enormous boas found by workers clearing forest for a new road outside Guping city, Jiangxi province. They apparently woke up the sleeping snakes during attempts to bulldoze a huge mound of earth. "On the third dig, the operator found there was blood amongst the soil, and with a further dig, a dying snake appeared," said the post. "At the same time, another gold coloured giant boa appeared with its mouth wide open. The driver was paralysed with fear, while the other workers ran for their lives. "By the time the workers came back, the wounded boa had died, while the other snake had disappeared. The bulldozer operator was so sick that he couldn't even stand up." The post claimed that the digger driver was so traumatised that he suffered a heart attack on his way to hospital and later died. The dead snake was 55ft (16.7m) long, weighed 300kg and was estimated to be 140 years old, according to the post. However, local government officials in Guiping say the story and photograph are almost certainly a hoax as giant boas are not native to the area. *Network Item

Sea Shepherd

International environmental organisation Sea Shepherd could lose one of its most important weapons in its battle against whaling. The organisation’s flag ship sails under the Dutch flag, but a Dutch cabinet member is fed up with the situation. Deputy Transport Minister Tineke Huizinga says Sea Shepherd is endangering relations with Japan. If she gets her way, the environmental organisation will lose its Dutch flag. * Radio Netherlands


Mutton birds in the midst of their annual migration are crashing onto NSW beaches because of exhaustion, warns a wildlife rescue group. The NSW Wildlife Information Rescue and Education Service says it has been inundated with exhausted birds, mainly short-tailed shearwaters, or Tasmanian mutton birds as they are known. These ``wanderers of the sea'' make one of the longest annual trips of any bird species, skirting around the Pacific Ocean for about six or seven months. The rescue group said it was caring for birds that had been rescued from Sydney's beaches. ``Many are exhausted from the long migration and crash onto suburban and city beaches before they reach home,'' the group said. ``In some years many hundreds of birds can be found dead or dying on beaches right along the coast of NSW.'' The group said mortality rates during migration can be very high, with up to 1600 birds dying per kilometre in particularly bad years. However, it said the short-tailed shearwater was among the world's most populous birds. There was no cause for alarm as it was a process of ``natural mortality'', the group said. `The gruelling migration is perhaps nature's way of sorting the weak from the strong,'' it said. *SMH

Ed Comment, Not so, in fact quite wrong. There IS cause for alarm. Overfishing for krill and increasingly bad weather worldwide has reduced populations severely. These birds are also shot for food in Asian countries on the migration path, and the chicks are dragged from their burrows and eaten in Tasmaina. *

Rare Possum

A baby possum under threat of extinction hung on to its life on Wednesday, October 28, when it was rescued from the jaws of a cat. Eagle's Nest Wildlife Hospital president Harry Kunz came to the rescue of the brown lemuroid ringtail possum when he saw it being taken by a cat at East Evelyn on Wednesday morning. He said the possum 's species was on its way to extinction due to climate change, but they were often killed by cats, dogs and barbed wire too. He said the cat dropped a large female possum after he stopped his car and chased it. The possum was dead, but nestled inside her pouch was a five-month-old baby. "The mother had her throat completely munched up," Mr Kunz said. Mr Kunz said he would raise the baby possum and release it back into the wild. The Lemuroid possum is found in just two locations, at the Carbine Tablelands at the Daintree and at the Atherton Tableland. The Daintree population of the possum was until recently believed wiped out during a heat wave in 2005. *Network Item

Pink for Joeys

Local WA animal carer Linda Moore is encouraging people to carry spraycans of pink paint in their cars, if they check kangaroo carcasses for joeys. She is caring for three joeys who survived their mothers road deaths, and were rescued from their pouches. The idea of spraying the carcass to show a check has been made originated in Queensland. It aims to save other drivers checking, and protect their safety on the roads. Ms Moore said FAWNA and local veterinarians supported the idea. * Margaret River Mail

Breeding Programs Dropped

Historic David Fleay Wildlife Park has scrapped its renowned breeding programs and is transferring native animals to other parks as it battles to stay open. The West Burleigh tourist attraction is owned by the State Government but is being starved of the funds needed to operate according to the vision of founder David Fleay. The issue is sensitive because Mr Fleay generously gifted the park to the state before his death, and comes after the State Government botched another Gold Coast tourism drawcard, the SuperGP. David Fleay's claims to fame ranged from successfully breeding some of Australia's most endangered animals to being bitten by the last living Tasmanian tiger.

Born in Ballarat in 1907, he tried to set up a breeding program for the tiger in the 1930s but his idea was rebuffed by Tasmanian authorities. In 1933 while filming a thylacine at the Hobart zoo he was nipped on the backside, leaving a scar. Mr Fleay began working for several zoos and wildlife parks and successfully bred the first platypus in captivity in 1943. His set up David Fleay Wildlife Park on the Gold Coast in 1952, wrote several books, bred taipan and other snakes in captivity for medical research and was honoured with many awards both in Australia and overseas. Sydney's Taronga Park Zoo presented him with a baby boa constrictor for his 70th birthday. Mr Fleay's altruistic spirit can be summed up by the donation in the 1930s of his entire savings of pound stg. 1000 to an impoverished Aboriginal community outside Cunnamulla. * Gold Coast Bulletin


Yarra Valley residents are urged to be aware of the risk of snake bites after a Launching Place boy was hospitalised last week. The eight-year-old boy was feeding chickens about 3.15pm on Thursday when he reported being bitten on his leg, through his tracksuit pants, by a snake. Paramedics from Healesville and Millgrove treated the boy and his mother performed first aid. `He had been feeding the chickens in a chook pen when he was bitten on the leg through his tracksuit pants,'' paramedic Danny Knight said. `The eight-year-old boy was very hot and sweaty, he had tightness across his chest, was vomiting and disorientated.'' Snake catcher Kerrie Alexander, from Wandin North's Black Snake Productions, said she was receiving two to three calls a day from people wanting snakes removed.

``In the Yarra Valley, you mainly get tiger snakes and copperheads. We don't have red-bellied black snakes out here, but often people confuse these with one of the other main species,'' she said. The Launching Place incident comes just weeks after a Coldstream woman was bitten while mowing her lawn. She killed the snake with the lawn mower. But, Ms Alexander warned against trying to catch or kill snakes, which are protected. ``Eighty per cent of people who get bitten are trying to kill the snake,'' she said, advising residents to call a snake catcher and keep an eye on the snake until help arrived. Yarra Ranges is a known risk area for snake bites. Statistics from the Monash University Accident and Research Centre, between 2006 and 2008, show 11 Yarra Ranges residents required hospitalisation the equal highest in the metropolitan area. For more information contact the Department of Sustainability and Environment on 136 186. For advice on treating snakebite phone the Poisons Information Centre on 13 1126. *Yarra Valley Leader

Meanwhile, The number of patients admitted to hospital after having contact with venomous snakes and lizards is on the rise, according to Queensland Health. Between 2008 and 2009, public and private acute hospitals admitted 182 patients, compared with 171 in the previous 12 months. Queensland Poisons Information Centre director Hugh Miller said the state had a range of potentially dangerous snakes, funnel web spiders , ticks and marine stingers. He said although bites and stings from some creatures were potentially lethal, and others could cause intense pain and debilitating injuries, most bites had minor consequences. Mr Miller said basic first aid knowledge could go a long way towards offering relief. *GCoast Sun

Duck Shooting

The Belair Park Golf Club has copped an angry backlash from people across the country following its controversial wood duck cull. About 30 ducks were killed by a registered duck shooter earlier this month to cut back the unusually high numbers plaguing the golfing greens, under a permit granted by the National Parks and Wildlife. One of the club's directors Ron Marshall said he'd been bombarded by ``at least 50 emails from people all over the country'' angered at the cull after reading about it on ``I was also abused over the phone by a woman from Victoria,'' he said. ``Everyone jumps on the bandwagon but most people don't understand what's going on and that the (Belair) National Park supported us in this.'' Mr Marshall said he responded to each email, explaining the reasons for the cull and received ``understanding'' replies. ``It's the first time we've done it in the five years we've been here and we won't be doing it again.

``The major thing people have to understand is that it was an occupational health and safety hazard with people walking into the restaurant with duck faeces on their shoes and little babies crawling along the floor picking it up and putting it in their mouths. ``You're the devil if you do and the devil if you don't.'' Mr Marshall said the cull was a ``last resort'' after rubber snakes and eagle kites - aimed to scare off the ducks - and Duck Off herbicide failed to work. `We've saved more ducks than we've destroyed. Last year alone we would have saved 50 or 60 birds and some koalas by taking them to the (Belair National Park).''

A spokesman for the Department of Environment and Heritage, who issued the permit, said the culling of 40 ducks was approved ``to encourage the broader population to move to other areas''. Bev Langley, from the Cherry Gardens Minton Farm Animal Rescue Centre, said the cull was ``disappointing but bound to happen''. ``It's just an unfortunate thing, sometimes people and animals do clash,'' she said. Friends of Belair National Park president Mike Cerchez said he didn't see ``a big issue'' with the cull. ``The wood ducks are native but they're not rare and they had permission,'' he said. A group of concerned residents was expected to hold a demonstration at the entrance of the golf club on Saturday, October 24, after the paper's deadline. Organiser Sally Sutton, of Hawthorndene, said she expected a ``strong turnout'' after emailing up to 100 people and putting up posters in Blackwood. *Hills Valley Messenger


Nairobi — In the Holy scriptures of the Hindus, Jatayu the vulture tried to rescue Lord Ram's wife, Sita from the evil clutches of the demon Ravan. Unfortunately for the valiant vulture, Ravan sliced off its wings and the bird bled to death but not before he had told Ram where Sita was and the lord was able to rescue her, setting the stage for celebrating India's biggest festival, the burning of Ravan's effigy during the festival of Dussehra. Despite its noble deed, Jatayu and the rest of its ilk are vanishing so fast in India that scientists fear they are well on their way to extinction. In the past two decades, vulture numbers have dropped by 99 per cent, causing major environmental problems in the country.

"In the early 1980s, vultures were a hazard in the aviation industry because they were frequently crashing into the aircraft. Now they are virtually extinct," comments Nikita Prakash, the technical assistant at the world's first vulture breeding conservation centre in Pinjore on the foothills of the Shivalik mountains, part of the lower range of the Himalayas. Her husband, Dr Vibhu Prakash, working on his research on the birds in the 1980s, sounded the alarm on the rapidly vanishing vulture populations in India. Today, he heads the vulture breeding conservation centre working with a team of volunteers and researchers, including his wife. As a young researcher, Kenya's Dr Munir Virani, programme director for The Peregrine Fund for Africa and South Asia with research on raptors in jeopardy, was under Dr Prakash's mentorship.

Back in Kenya, Dr Virani applied his skills to vulture research and found the frightening scenario repeated in Kenya -- that of a rapidly diminishing vulture population previously undetected -- and like the Indian scenario, the cause is human-induced by way of chemicals. In Kenya, it's the use of furadan, a highly lethal agro-chemical used as a poison to get rid of wildlife that "preys" on livestock, while in India farmers use diclofenac to increase the working life of cattle."Today, we have less than one per cent of the 1980 population remaining and it's a crisis that has been discussed in the Indian parliament. But unfortunately, vultures aren't as charismatic as the tigers, lions or elephants and so there's not much support coming for them," says Nikita. Today, vultures are only found in small pockets in the country where once there were flocks in their hundreds.

Vultures may not be pretty birds, but watching a pair of Himalayan Griffons rescued and brought to the centre, they are definitely handsome birds. The chemical diclofenac is a non-steroid anti-inflammatory drug used as a painkiller for cattle. Despite its banning in 2008, veterinary doctors are still prescribing diclofenac formulated for human use because it has the same effect on cattle. The drug prolongs the working life of the animals by reducing joint pain but the problem arises when the animal dies and vultures swoop in for a tragic feast. "When the vultures feed on the carcasses, the drug affects the birds' kidneys and they die of visceral gout. What happens is that there is uric acid deposited on the organs such as the heart, liver and kidneys. It's a painful death for the birds," explains the researcher. The fact that there are no more vulture flocks to feed on the carcasses of cows killed by these drugs, has created a health hazard.

In the past, a dead cow would have been a feast for the vultures, which would have cleaned the carcass to the bone in minutes. The bone pickers then collect the fresh bones to sell to the food industry for the manufacture of food products such as gelatin used as a thickening agen. YUKKK! With the absence of the vultures to provide this eco-service, carcasses of cows now litter the street, with the stench of rotting flesh hanging heavy in the air. The bone pickers no longer find clean bones because most of the carcasses are infested with maggots. In addition, the rotting carcasses pollute the soils and water and pose a health threat. Related to the problem of rotting carcasses is the increasing number of feral dogs frequenting the city's dumpsites to feast on the dead cows.

And with a government minister's directive that no dog should be killed, studies now show that cases of rabies are on the rise in cities. In the absence of vultures, it's ironic that the very farmers who feed diclofenac to their cattle, are at a loss when their livestock die and there are no vultures to quickly help dispose of them. "It's a big problem for the farmers because they are incurring costs buying the chemicals to douse and burn the animals or to bury them." In 2004, 187 vultures died on the Athi-Kapiti plains adjoining the Nairobi National Park in 2004 after feasting on a dead animal that had been laced with furadan, still easily available over the counter. Although it is supposed to be used as an agro-pesticide on crops by farmers, it has found other uses such as poisoning problem wildlife. It's also used by fishermen to scoop an easy haul from the water by simple throwing the poison overboard. The dead fish pop up to the surface for the fishermen to scoop. A recent report by vulture researchers in Kenya reveals that at Bunyala Rice Scheme in western Kenya by the shores of Lake Victoria, thousands of birds are being poisoned every week. Bird meat is a delicacy among the local Bunyala and they have found that the use of furadan is an easy "hunting" option to get birds for sell. In small doses, furadan poses little danger to humans but long-term effects could be serious. At this point there are five vulture breeding centers in the world - three in India, one in Pakistan and one in Nepal. The time to save the vultures is now before it joins the dodo on the extinction list. *

Protecting UK Wildlife

Farmers will be issued with leaflets on how to better protect wildlife as part of plans to bring back the environmental benefits of set-aside. Land set-aside for wildlife should encourage farmland birds like skylarks. European subsides for farmland taken out of production or "set-aside" were scrapped in 2007. However it immediately became apparent that the system was beneficial to wildlife, with farmland birds and animals thriving on fallow land. Hilary Benn, the Environment Secretary, suggested bringing back a compulsory scheme that would pay farmers to set aside uncultivated land. But this met with outrage from farmers who argued that the land should be cultivated to produce food. Now the Government, farmers and conservation groups have come to an uneasy compromise by introducing a voluntary set-aside scheme. The Campaign for the Farmed Environment will see all farmers obliged to farm in a more environmentally friendly manner.

At the height of the European scheme set-aside resulted in around 8 per cent of agricultural land being left fallow. The voluntary scheme will aim to leave around 180,000 hectares of land uncropped as well as encouraging farmers to better manage farmed land for wildlife. For example by leaving stubble over the winter so birds can feed and leaving hedgerows between fields. Farmers will also be asked to double the amount of land being especially cultivated for wildlife under new European environmental subsidies from 40,000 to 80,000 hectares. This will include land left fallow for skylarks, wild flowers planted by fields and "beetle banks" created to help insects. The amount of land managed for the environment on a voluntary basis will be boosted by 30,000 acres. Altogether the voluntary scheme should ensure the same environmental benefits gained from set-aside.

Leaflets are being sent to every farmer asking them to build ponds, plant trees and bring in other environmental measures. Farmers with more than 10 hectares of land will also be surveyed in the New Year to ensure they are setting aside land for the environment. If the targets are not met Mr Benn has threatened to bring in compulsory measures. However he was confident farmers will sign up to the voluntary scheme. "We want to encourage them to take voluntary action that best fits how they farm, so they can support wildlife and protect water quality while continuing to produce food in a sustainable way," he said. *

Burmese Pythons

It has to be an unsettling situation for parents of small children and owners of small pets in South Florida, where thousands of Burmese pythons are slithering amok. A state-sanctioned pilot hunting program aimed at determining location and formulating an eradication plan ended Saturday with 37 of the invasive reptiles being killed. "This was more about finding where they are and seeing if we can contain their expansion,'' Scott Hardin, exotic species coordinator for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, told the Miami Herald. The constrictors can measure 18 feet long and weigh 160 pounds, and wildlife officials say they could number in the tens of thousands in the South Florida region -- mostly in the Everglades. Snake owners who released pythons when they became too large to manage are believed largely responsible for this troubling phenomenon. The snakes, which are reproducing in the wild, have become a threat to native wildlife.

The wildlife commission is collecting data from the snakes killed so far and will expand the hunting program next year. Meanwhile, licensed hunters after other species can continue to kill pythons in designated areas, including parts of the Everglades around Big Cypress National Preserve. "If you're in there hunting, and you see a python, you can kill it,"' Hardin said. Hunters have used nets and snares and guns to subdue the reptiles, but all legal hunting methods are allowed, including bang sticks, harpoons and spear guns. In a letter encouraging the harvesting of pythons, posted on the commission website, Chairman Rodney Barreto wrote, "You can even have some fancy cowboy boots made from python, but I don't recommend eating the meat because testing revealed high levels of mercury in the meat -- levels well above that considered safe to eat." The Miami Herald notes that a bill is in the works aimed at banning the trade and import of pythons and other invasive snakes into the United States. *LA Times

Ed Comment; Its good to see they are finally going to stop importing the pythons for pets. One also has to wonder that if they are fulll of mercury...where did that come from? The Everglades water they drink, the pet dogs and cats they eat, or the fish and turtles they eat?


The Rockhampton RSCPA was yesterday forced to destroy an adult kangaroo that was suffering in agony after being shot with an arrow on Rockhampton’s CQUniversity campus. The kangaroo, which stood about six feet tall, had suffered in pain for days after the arrow lodged in its leg. After putting the animal out of its pain yesterday, RSPCA Central Queensland senior inspector Shayne Towers-Hammond said the attack was the second of its kind in recent weeks. Mr Towers- Hammond said a cat was also shot with an arrow recently. The animal survived after being treated by a vet. Mr Towers- Hammond said in the kangaroo attack the arrow was lodged in its leg for two or three days before the animal was put out of its pain. “I got a call about 10am on Monday from an administration worker saying a kangaroo was lying in the gardens with what appeared to be an arrow in its leg,” Mr Towers- Hammond said. “The animal had a huge arrow sticking out of its leg.” He said he went to the university on Monday. However, the big Eastern Grey had moved off, so he had to return yesterday. “You could see the arrow head moving in the wound,” Mr Towers-Hammond said. “It would have been agonising.” He said the arrow was a target arrow.

The animal was in a very good condition before being shot,” Mr Towers-Hammond said. “Slowly but surely the site would become infected. “This had already started and it was going through an agonising death.” He said the university was private property with no archery club on its premises. "If this had been an accident then no one has come forward, you would know if you’ve hit an animal,” Mr Towers-Hammond said. He said if the person responsible was found the RSCPA would prosecute. Acts of animal cruelty such as this can be punished with up to two years in prison or a large fine. The attack follows reports in October that a gang of dog-baiting youths had been responsible for the death of five dogs. It is thought that the animals were all given strychnine. An autopsy report from one of the dead dogs confirmed the presence of the deadly poison.Anyone with information about the attacks on the kangaroo or the cat should call Shayne Towers-Hammond on 0427 595312. * The Morning Bulletin

Almost 300 Peel residents want Preston Beach’s (WA) kangaroos saved from culling, according to a petition. The 283-signature petition against the cull was organised by Preston Beach resident Trish Brown. She and 12 other Peel residents organised the petition after the Shire of Waroona sought a Department of Conservation (DEC) cull licence in August. The petition was given to the Shire and the DEC last week. The Shire has proposed 100 kangaroos in the coastal hamlet south of Mandurah be shot for pet meat.

It is understood seven Preston Beach Golf Course members complained to the Shire that the roos destroyed the fairways and greens, and the males threatened residents. But Preston Beach residents who spoke to the Mandurah Coastal Times during winter said the community was torn about the animals, many of which were regarded as pets and a tourist attraction. Last week, Ms Brown said the culling threat still existed. “Maybe the Shire will only consider the signatures of the local residents,” she said. The petition had 62 ratepayers’ signatures, 36 from regular visitors to the hamlet and 186 from Mandurah, Harvey and Perth residents. It had been circulated in the region for about two weeks.

Ms Brown said the long-term solution for Preston Beach’s kangaroos was for the golf course to be fenced. But a Shire application for National Party-derived Royalties for Regions money to fence the course was unlikely, she said. “The National Party are farmers, and they wouldn’t waste money on fencing roos,” she said. It is understood the DEC would not consider the cull licence until it received the petition and its officers have still to visit the hamlet to decide if the cull is needed. * PerthNow

Western Queensland MP Vaughan Johnson has called for urgent help from the State Government to control what he says is an "explosion" in kangaroo numbers in the region. Mr Johnson says he has never seen the problem so bad and the Russian ban on kangaroo meat and the worsening drought are not helping. He says the huge numbers of kangaroos are devastating grazing land by eating out pasture. "You've only got to travel the road from Longreach through to the south and roos are in plaque proportion "The dead ones on the road are a true illustration of just how epidemic this is. These landholders have got to be allowed to eliminate these roos in question.

"It's not about wiping out the roos, it's about giving them the opportunity to save their livestock "This is at crisis point at the moment. There has got to be a widespread elimination of these roos. "There's not going to be a grazing industry in western Queensland if this keeps going and you've only got to drive the highways at night-time to see how prolific they are. I have never - and I mean never - seen so many dead roos on the road at the moment." *ABC

Liberal Senator Gary Humphries has called for the ACT Government to get its act together and protect the local environment following the release of a controversial report on kangaroo numbers in the ACT. The ACT Environment Commissioner has rejected a report that found kangaroo culls could increase the risk of bushfires in Canberra, after it was rejected by other scientists. "I welcome the Commissioner’s decision, but it must be followed up by action by the Stanhope Government. “It is time to stop mucking around and accept the good hard evidence that exceptionally high kangaroo numbers are not good for the environment and are not good for the kangaroos themselves, with some kangaroos in fact starving to death," said Senator Humphries.

"The ACT Government needs to lock in long term plans to manage kangaroo numbers – including by regular culling if necessary – to ensure the animals are living in a fair condition, and that our environment is not at risk.” Senator Humphries was the ACT Environment Minister who established the Gungahlin grasslands reserve, to protect the habitat of the endangered legless lizard. "There has been far too much hand wringing by ACT authorities over this issue. "And while we continue to debate it, kangaroos are starving and endangered species are under real threat due to habitat destruction from overgrazing kangaroos. "Real local solutions – like effective management of the sustainability of our environment – are in dire need. "Stopping the mucking around and philosophizing and getting on with the job of managing kangaroo numbers; now there's a real local solution," Senator Humphries concluded. *Liberal Press Release

One of the stars of the hit show, "Judge John Deed, " Jenny Seagrove, became the second actress, to add her name to that of Liza Goddard, in support the campaign to have kangaroo products banned from the whole of the EU. Jenny said:-"I find the thought of these defenceless baby kangaroos being brutally killed or allowed to starve to death, quite unacceptable. It is vital that the EU bring in a total and absolute ban on all Kangaroo product without delay to save these animals. I am giving my support to this initiative and I call for all EU countries and Ministers to follow suit by agreeing to vote in favour of this ban." A great supporter of animal welfare, Jenny urged everyone who cares about animal welfare to support the ban, she said:- "By adding my support I hope others will follow in a show of strength across Europe to stop all imports of Kangaroo and save the lives of these 440,000 joeys who die each year as a "by-product of this dreadful industry. I give my support without reservation and urge others to do the same." The kangaroo killing season will start in a few short months in Australia with the prospect of thousands more joeys meeting their untimely deaths. *

The real impact of the kangaroo meat export ban to Russia is hitting North Queensland graziers and roo shooters hard. Roo shooter Noel Lingard is keen to see the industry cleaned up and back on track to trade with Russia. “If you get dirty product, you get audited,” Mr Lingard said. Although he has a low-risk rating, Noel is aware of the industry requirements. “There are a lot of different types of contamination,” he said. “But they (the processing plants)don’t explain what is wrong – you just get a pink slip saying it is contaminated. “Contamination can be linked to gutting procedures, worms or poor meat quality.” Without feedback from processing plants, accredited shooters are left in the dark about how best to secure their industry’s future. Graziers are being hit by plague numbers of kangaroos, and on the back of a 40 percent reduction in the kangaroo meat industry, have a reduced means of fighting to save their land.

Boulia Shire Mayor and grazier Rick Britton has seen a definite increase in numbers compared to other years. "We have between 200 and 300 kangaroos watering at each of our 27 man-made watering holes,” Mr Britton said. “We have had a good season but we don’t have the shooters to control the numbers. "There used to be four full-time shooters out here, but they have had to go get jobs on the council.” Stemming from the downturn and further hindering shooters’ ability to provide quality meat, has been the closure of the Boulia box. An almost full-time shooter on Mr Butler’s property uses a mobile cold storage facility. “We are trying to manage them (kangaroos) so he can make a living and so that my country doesn’t deteriorate to a point where it is unusable,” Mr Butler said. "We need to look after full-time professionals,” he said. Although the beef and kangaroo industries would seem a world apart, Mr Butler identified that it is all about having a passion for quality and standards. “He is as passionate about his harvesting as I am about my beef,” he said. *Nth Qld Register

Crocodiles The crocodile season is approaching but ambitious plans to establish a 50km croc-free zone around Darwin have stalled. Cabinet is yet to sign off on the plan, which was the brainchild of now-independent politician Alison Anderson when she was Environment Minister. But croc rangers yesterday unveiled their latest weapon in the war on toothy terrorism - a $46,000 croc boat. Environment Minister Karl Hampton said the boat - named Muk Muk - was part of the crocodile management strategy, which has been renamed Croc Wise. Mr Hampton said the Croc Wise strategy was in its "final stages" and would be soon signed off by Cabinet. "It wouldn't be too far away," he said. "But the important thing is that we have a new boat that is going to assist our officers get out here and manage our crocodiles in the harbour." Mr Hampton said the strategy would also include a $150,000 plan to place 20 new croc traps in the water.

There will also be a $140,000 education and public awareness campaign - which has already reached 1000 students. The plan was announced in April following the death of eight-year-old Briony Goodsell near Lambells Lagoon. It included the 50km "no tolerance zone", surveying of receding waterways and the monitoring of Adelaide River. The Federal Government last month signed off on a management plan - which included egg collection - but rejected a plan for safaris. "We're not going to give up on that. We'll continue to talk to the federal minister about croc safaris," Mr Hampton said. "The benefits, in terms of economic opportunity particularly, we will continue to pursue." Parks and Wildlife ranger Tommy Nichols said the new boat was necessary to reach smaller estuaries. "We had a smaller dinghy, which was very unstable. So when you're handling a large animal, it is pushing from side to side, everyone goes over to one side... which can be quite dangerous," he said. "There were close calls. This is a lot safer and easier for us to handle larger animals." *NT News

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