Monday, January 25, 2010

Wildlife Bytes 18/1/10

Wildlife MiniBytes

Kangaroo Meat

A federal MP has raised concerns about a growing movement to stop the European Union from importing kangaroo meat. Mark Coulton is shadow parliamentary secretary for regional development. He says Australian roos are culled in a humane way, and fears any move to stop the cull will hurt regional employment. "In my electorate the Kangaroo industry employs quite a few people and the economies of those towns would be affected if the legal culling of kangaroos was banned," he says. *ABC


According to one source, in June, the World Wildlife Fund estimated that the Japanese government had spent twelve million dollars in subsidies on the 2008-2009 whaling operation—and this just so that it could break even. (Since 1988, the Japanese government appears to have poured more than a hundred and fifty million dollars into whaling subsidies.) Read more:

Poor Stuffed! Why couldnt they just bury him in the Forest where he belonged? R.I.P. Sam.

Sam the koala will today become a permanent part of Victoria's history when she goes on display at the Melbourne Museum. The Herald Sun can reveal the first images of the stuffed koala, who became a symbol of hope amid the devastation of Black Saturday. Victorians took Sam to their hearts when a remarkable photo of the singed koala drinking water from CFA firefighter David Tree's drink bottle was flashed around the world. Sadly Sam died on the operating table in August after suffering chlamydiosis, a disease that has decimated the koala population. Read more

Pet Wallaby

Motorway traffic was brought to a standstill in Blackpool - as police attempted to catch an escaped wallaby. The privately-owned marsupial was seen bouncing down a road near to Junction 4 of the M55, reports the Daily Telegraph. Police slowed traffic while RSPCA inspectors attempted to catch the animal. A Lancashire Police helicopter was also at the scene. The drama began when several motorists called 999. It ended four hours later when a vet was drafted in from Blackpool Zoo to sedate the wallaby with a tranquilliser dart. The animal, which was cornered by police in a garden, is now safely back with its owner. Insp Alistair Campbell said: "Eventually we were able to usher the wallaby away from the M55. "It's fair enough to say we've never had a situation like this before. We had to consult the RSPCA to help us work out how to capture the wallaby." *Ntework Item

New Green Party

A new political party is promising to be like the Greens but without "trendy" policies to legalise gay marriage. The Ethics and Sustainability Party has made a last-minute bid to register as Tasmania's fifth political party before the March 20 state election. The party's would-be registered officer Kathleen Petrovsky, a veteran conservation campaigner, said the electorate was unhappy with Labor and the Liberals, and the Greens had "shot themselves in the foot" with "ridiculous" social policies. She said the new party shared many of the Greens' environmental views on the Gunns pulp mill and forestry. "But we feel there are people who see the Greens as too radical," she said. "We don't believe in changing a society and its rules. We believe in the mother, father, children kind of nuclear family, why change it? In sum, we are not as trendy." Australian Greens leader Bob Brown welcomed the emergence of the new party. "Good on them, give voters another choice," Senator Brown said. *Mercury Ed Comment; Trouble is, it might split the Green vote!

Camel Shoot Useless

The community of Docker River is continuing to be troubled by camels despite a massive cull, the deputy chief executive of the MacDonnell Shire in Central Australia says. Des Rogers last night returned from Docker River, where 3604 camels have been shot. The Territory Government gave a $49,000 grant to the shire for the cull. Mr Rogers says the community is very happy that so many have been culled but the feral animals remain a problem. "I must say that there's still quite a number of camels coming into the community during the night time," he said. "There was up to 1000 estimated that came in Tuesday evening. "We'll just have to monitor it. "I mean there's a couple of bores [that have] been commissioned so we're trying to get them to go to that water source." *ABC Ed Comment; We have to wonder how long it take for governments ot see the light and look at something more humane and effective than just having "a shootup." We also note that a Federal Opposition spokesperson wants to remove the camels from Australia altogether and replace them with cattle, claiming cattle don't fart as much as camels...........!!!

Cane Toads

A lung parasite in cane toads will not be effective in slowing the westward march of the pests in north Australia, a Northern Territory frog protection group says. Toad researchers in the Kimberley are hoping the lung parasite can be used to delay the progress of cane toads across Western Australia. But Frogwatch coordinator, Graeme Sawyer, says the parasite has been known for a few years and it has done nothing to stop cane toad populations booming in the Territory. "The general feeling is that parasites like that are not really all that helpful in combating cane toads and that that specific parasite has been in the cane toad population as long as cane toads have been in Australia and it hasn't managed to do anything significant," he said. "So, the fact it's a parasite and the fact that it's been here that long would tend to make us think it's not going to help much." *ABC


Eight fish poachers have been killed by crocodiles at Harare’s Lake Chivero in the past two weeks while a ninth person was attacked and seriously injured yesterday. Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority spokesperson Ms Caroline Washaya-Moyo confirmed the attacks, saying the victims included both men and women. These people did not have licences that gave them the permission to fish in the lake. In the past two weeks alone, we have had eight people attacked and killed by crocodiles and all but two bodies were recovered. “These people included both men and women and all of them were poachers. Their colleague have not been deterred as they keep returning to the same site,” she said.

KI Fire Risk

Kangaroo Island’s national and conservation parks were closed on Monday for the first time under the State’s new “catastrophic” fire weather protocols. The closure disrupted the plans of hundreds of Sealink tourists and visitors and crew aboard the cruise ship The World, moored off Kingscote. Department for Environment and Heritage staff were notified on Sunday afternoon and informed commercial tour operators, the Kangaroo Island Council and Tourism Kangaroo Island by email. Roadblocks were erected at the entrances to Flinders Chase National Park, Kelly Hill Caves and Seal Bay and staff were on hand to inform visitors to Cape Willoughby and Cape Borda. * The Islander

Wildife Officer Shooting

In Florida, a death warrant was signed on Tuesday for the execution of a man convicted of killing a female state wildlife officer with her own gun in 1984. Florida State Prison warden Steven Singer set Martin Grossman's execution by lethal injection for Feb. 16 at 6 p.m. at the institution in Starke. Grossman, now 44, was convicted of shooting Wildlife Officer Margaret "Peggy" Park, 26, in a wooded area of Pinellas County. While the Officer was using her radio, Grossman hit her from behind, then shot her in the head with her own gun.

Flying foxes

Melbournes heatwave this week killed about 700 flying foxes and affected many more native animals. Wildlife carers rescued hundreds of possums and birds across Melbourne while many died before they could be rehydrated and taken into care. A colony of endangered grey-headed flying foxes at Yarra Bend was devastated by the heat and many had dropped from the trees, said Denise Garratt, president of Help for Wildlife. Joanne Ainley, of the Australian Research Centre for Urban Ecology, processed the dead bats yesterday and said about 700 had died in the heat. Wildlife Victoria received 264 calls to its rescue hotline by midday on Tuesday. It was the busiest morning on record other than during the bushfires, said Aisha Reynolds of Wildlife Victoria. There were 349 calls on the day, 100 more than average. The group set up a triage unit at its Brunswick Street facility to cope with the number of injured animals. At the South Oakleigh shelter, which normally receives one or two animals a day, Michele Phillips said more than 50 came in. ''The possums just fall out of trees in this weather,'' she said. *Age

US Cold Spell

Large sea turtles are still being rescued from the Florida cold spell, adding to about 1,000 captured at the turtle refuge during the past week. Around 400 sea turtles are believed to have been killed by the cold, several manatees, thousands of dead fish, and dozens of birds have been found dead. Iguanas have been reported to have fallen dead from the trees. * WPAA


The death of a swimmer who was killed by "dinosaur" sized great White Shark on Cape Town beach in South Africa recently has been blamed on the greedy, irresponsible actions of dozens of tour operators, which have sprung up along a place known locally as 'shark alley', offering tourists the chance to 'swim' with these monsters of the deep. Touting for business at tourist spots such as Cape Town waterfront, they charge tourists £100 a time to be taken out by boat, placed in a cage and lowered into the water, hoping for the Great White shark of Jaws legend to circle. The methods used to entice the sharks to the paying tourists are being blamed for turning these Great Whites into man-eaters. * Mailonline

Shark Nets

New acoustic alarms designed to warn whales about shark nets could be fitted on the Gold Coast by mid-year in time for the whale migration. The alarms, known as pingers, have been developed with a stronger frequency known to be audible to whales. They differ from existing models in that they give off a louder noise at a lower pitch for a longer time and over a greater distance, in the hope whales will have more time and distance to detect the noise. Every year dozens of turtles, dugongs, dolphins and rays fall victim to the Gold Coast's shark nets, prompting opponents to call for their removal. The Queensland Government has consistently refused to remove the nets, even though they do little to prevent a shark attack, because sharks can swim around or under the nets. *

Sick' case of animal cruelty

A SouthWest (Victoria) wildlife carer fears cruelty to animals is on the rise in the region after she witnessed a horrendous attack on a possum and its joey. In 44-degree heat, the animals were found alive bundled in a stockfeed bag with rotten fruit. Neighbouring farmers discovered the brush-tailed possums by chance on a roadside near the South Purrumbete Hall. Despite resuscitation efforts by the farmers and Kolora wildlife shelter operator Kirsa Veal, the brush-tailed possums died of heat exhaustion soon after they were found. Ms Veal said it was the worst attack she had seen and predicted more sickening cases unless certain attitudes changed towards wildlife and domestic pets. "This just sickens me, it's horrible," she said.

"I don't understand how anybody could tie a possum up in a bag and just throw it on the roadside to die. "To be left there in that heat is just awful. "When the possum was found it was convulsing and in a terrible state. It is the worst case of animal cruelty I have seen." The joey, which was still in its mother's pouch, was nearing the end of its pinkie stage and just about to open its eyes. The mother died after the farmers desperately tried to cool her down at their house. Her baby died later at Ms Veal's shelter. "It's remarkable the people found them. "They noticed a stockfeed bag on the roadside but how often do you pass bags like that," Ms Veal said. "A gut feeling forced them to turn back. When they got out of the car they noticed the bag was moving."

Ms Veal said the south-west had witnessed a spate of animal attacks in the past year, including another brush-tailed possum being dragged along by a car at Mortlake, a white goshawk being gunned down at Garvoc and several wedge-tailed eagles being peppered with shotgun pellets. Ms Veal reported the latest attack to the RSPCA. "It's not just here . Cruelty to animals is on the rise across the state. "There has been crossbow attacks on kangaroos in Melbourne and a dog had its ears cut off. "I don't know what people are thinking lashing out at animals and I don't how we can change it. It's just awful. "This little pinkie probably had organ damage, brain damage. "In reality it was never going to make it." Ms Veale said it was likely possums were trapped, probably in the ceiling, before being discarded on the roadside. People who witness cruelty to animals should call the RSPCA on 9224 2222. *Victoria Standard

The mutilation of a joey which had both its ears sliced off has shocked wildlife carers. Pilbara Wildlife Carers Association (WA) kangaroo carer Joanne Waterstrom-Muller said the seven-month-old marsupial, named Elfie, was found in the front yard of a home in the Karratha suburb of Nickol on New Year's Eve. It was severely dehydrated and malnourished, with both ears hacked to scalp level. She said it was one of the worst cases of cruelty and neglect the group had seen in the Pilbara town. "There are a several conditions that can cause a kangaroo to lose its ears, but Elfie's have definitely been cut off," she said. DEC Pilbara Regional Wildlife Officer Ann Biasol said the perpetrators can be fined under the Wildlife Conservation Act a maximum of $4000 for each incident of harming or killing protected fauna.

"The perpetrator(s) also could be charged with cruelty under the Animal Welfare Act. The maximum penalty is $50,000 with a minimum of $2000 and five years imprisonment," she said. Carer Amanda Best said there had been a spate of joey dumpings in Karratha over recent weeks with all animals suffering malnourishment and dehydration, one in such poor condition he had to be euthanised. Elfie's return to the wild is uncertain. "We'll see how he copes with his injuries," Ms Best said. DEC is appealing for anyone with information that may assist with their investigation to contact Wildlife Watch 1800 449 453 or DEC Karratha office (08) 9182 2006. *The


Vandals have been blamed for the senseless deaths of little penguin chicks on Middle Island. It's the fourth time the penguins have been disturbed by human intruders this season and the second time chicks have been killed this month. The attack comes after wildlife carer Kirsa Veal revealed her fear that animal cruelty was on the rise in the south-west after she attended to a possum and her joey, which later died, after they were dumped in a bag on the roadside in Monday's 44-degree heat. Foxes and dog attacks were once the biggest threat to the survival of the dwindling penguin population but Warrnambool City Council's environmental officer David Williams said humans were responsible for the most recent fatalities on the island. Earlier this month two chicks were found dead after their nesting boxes were disturbed and in this latest attack four chicks were killed after their nesting boxes were upturned and their burrows trampled.

"I'm really disappointed," Mr Williams said. "We've put a lot of work into the colony in the last few years and now people have come along and ruined it for everyone." After dwindling to a dire population of just four in 2005, penguin numbers have rebounded in recent years under the success of a world-first program using trained Maremma dogs to guard the penguins from predators like dogs and foxes. Mr Williams said volunteers and council employees had put thousands of hours into ensuring the success of the project and the survival of the precious little penguin colony on the island, which is closed to the public. He said what made the attack worse was people had deliberately gone on to the island, despite signs and warnings the area was off limits to the public. "The island is closed," he said. "Not only have they accessed the island illegally but they've harassed wildlife." Mr Williams said anyone caught on the island would face a $500 fine and urged people to call police if they saw anyone illegally accessing the island. Warrnambool City Mayor Michael Neoh said it was important for people to understand any part of the rock face and stairs on the island were out of bounds. "It's disappointing because it's been such a successful program," he said. "I think it's fairly premeditated.There is signage indicating the project.'' "I hope people are more aware and refrain from going over to the island." * The Standard

Penguins 'kidnapped' by DEH. When John Ayliffe and wife Jenny Clapson rescued five abandoned penguin chicks on Kangaroo Island, the birds were close to death. Three weeks later and now nursed back to health, the fledglings are at the centre of a tug-of-war between the couple and the Department of Environment and Heritage after being seized by DEH officers. Mr Ayliffe, who for 10 years has run the Kangaroo Island penguin centre with Ms Clapson, said his staff were “shocked and gutted” when DEH turned up to take the penguins to Adelaide Zoo. “This is bureaucracy gone mad,” he said. “They were on death’s door and we brought them back to life. When we rescued them, they weighed between 600 and 800 grams. 12,000g to 15,000g is normal weight for a fledgling. “It’s not as if we are taking healthy penguins and putting them in a zoo situation. They were going to be released.”

The chicks were about seven weeks old when they were rescued from the Kingscote penguin colony. Mr Ayliffe said they had been abandoned by their mother and their burrow appeared to have been vandalised. A DEH spokesperson said the penguin centre was issued with a permit to care for the chicks subject to certain conditions. “Reports to DEH raised concerns about the welfare of the chicks and indicated that Mr Ayliffe was in breach of these conditions,” she said. “As such, the matter is now under formal investigation. “DEH's aim is to rehabilitate the animals and release them into the wild wherever possible.” However, Mr Ayliffe claims the chicks were progressing well at the penguin centre, and he is now concerned about what will happen to them. He said penguins from Kingscote have a unique DNA, so should not be released into any other colony. He is calling for a mediator to be brought in to manage negotiations between the centre and DEH, with shadow environment minister Michelle Lensink taking up his cause with the department. *Independent Weekly


IF you look at a map of southeast NSW where grazier John Alcock and his children run three properties on the edge of the Snowy Mountains, you'll see that national parks and state forests cover at least the same area as private grazing country. Out of the national parks come mobs of kangaroos that know their way into Alcock's drought-hit land when he plants improved pasture and fodder crops for cattle and fine-wool Merinos. "Good heavens, if we sow something, they just invade us," Alcock tells The Australian. "Kangaroos will travel for miles to get a crop." Some culling of kangaroos is permitted on some private grazing land. But shooters are not allowed into the parks and park authorities do not allow any kangaroo harvesting. The kangaroo situation does not make Alcock and many other graziers particularly well-inclined towards those in the climate change debate who brand their sheep and cattle as villains in global warming. Read more

Ed Comment, This is just another attack on kangaroos by the Australian.

’Roo Plague at Pambula Beach. Tourists may think it’s cute to see kangaroos sitting on front lawns, but some residents of Pambula Beach believe kangaroo numbers are getting out of control and it’s time to cull their numbers. Max and Ailsa Sinclair’s property backs onto Ben Boyd National Park and they also live close to the caravan park, a popular spot for the kangaroos. Mr Sinclair said: “When we moved down here 28 years ago it was quite a novelty to see three or four kangaroos but now it’s reached plaque proportions. With the dry weather, they’ve been struggling, they’re hungry.” He said that many people at Pambula Beach would like to see something done and believes that culling could be an option. Mr Sinclair is also concerned for the safety of local children after his wife was badly scratched by a kangaroo last year, while going out to the recycling bin in the Sinclair’s garden.

Stephen Dovey, National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) area manager, said that numbers had increased and that NPWS had issued a number of licences to cull kangaroos on rural properties along the coast. Mr Dovey said: “As the drought impacts, numbers will start to come down. It’s a natural cycle, kangaroos are a boom and bust species. Kangaroo numbers increase and decrease depending on conditions.” Mr Sinclair is concerned that animals will suffer as the hot and dry weather continues. He said that it was not unusual to see a mother with a young joey at her side and another in the pouch and said they were getting hungry.

But Mr Dovey said that while it was very sad to see animals dying, it was a natural cycle and it was rare to see them dying in front of us. The increase in numbers, Mr Dovey said, was also due to the seasonal disruption as more people came into the area and the kangaroos moved around but he warned that as the drought takes hold, kangaroos will become more of an annoyance to property owners as they try to set up home in people’s gardens. “Don’t feed them and don’t allow them to set up in your garden. Use a hose from a distance to dissuade them but don’t approach a large male because it can be territorial and cause quite a bit of injury,” Mr Dovey cautioned.

The movement in kangaroos during the lengthy dry weather is also causing problems for road users. Janine Green, president of WIRES (the NSW Wildlife Information Rescue and Education Service) said: “Because of the drought, more kangaroos are coming to the roadside to get at the grass along the edge of the road. We’re seeing more injured animals with broken legs after being hit by cars.” Ms Green said that during 2009 the WIRES attended 180 kangaroos of which 55 had to be euthanased. This though did not reach the epic proportions of 2008 when 119 were euthanased out of a total of 241 kangaroos seen by the service. Mr Dovey urged people to take care particularly when driving at dawn or dust and especially when driving through the forested areas along Sapphire Coast Drive, Pambula Beach Road and Mount Darragh Road which have all become hot spots for accidents involving kangaroos. *Merimbula News

Trading meat from kangaroos with body shots is now outlawed and will carry hefty fines in a move that will further stamp Queensland's reputation as a producer of safe, high quality meat. Acting Climate Change and Sustainability Minister Andrew Fraser said he expected new regulations, which took effect on January 1 this year, to help re-open the lucrative Russian market which was temporarily suspended in August last year. "This new requirement will not only help improve the treatment of one of our native icons by minimising any suffering, but it will show the world that Queensland has the highest standards in meat production," Mr Fraser said. Read more and make a comment ......,16052

Word for word, this is a Qld government press release, listed on a commercial advertising website, and the Release rated only couple of paragraphs in the Courier Mail, because even the journalists know it is nonsense. Its always been illegal (and shooters could lose their Permit) to present body shot kangaroos to be sold, but the processing plants received the bodies anyway, and pay the shooters half price. And noone worried about it until we put photos of body shot kangaroos on websites all over the world. As some commenters have suggested, if the processing plants now refuse to take them, (unlikely, because inspection is minimal) the body shot kangaroos will just be left in the paddock. A link showing details of the Qld commercial kangaroo kill "plan"can be found below, its a bit hard to find, because they dont want too many people to see it. The "plan" is available on DERM's website at, see Home > Topics > Wildlife and ecosystems > Animals > Wildlife permits and licences > Kangaroo harvesting.


A deadly frog fungus that was discovered in Tasmania five years ago is spreading rapidly. Interstate, four species of frogs are presumed extinct from Chytridiomycosis, which breaks down their skin. There are fears the Tasmania's native frogs may soon be wiped out by the deadly fungus. Tasmania has 11 species of frogs but since Chytridiomycosis was discovered in the state, their numbers have been declining rapidly. For the last nine months the Department of Environment and NRM North have been monitoring its spread. Researchers have been swabbing the mouths of tadpoles, which is an accurate way of checking the areas affected. NRM North's James McKee says the disease poses a significant threat to the food chains of Tasmanian eco-systems.

"We're still working out exactly how widespread it is and exactly which frogs are effected but we do know that it's pretty much through the whole of Tasmania," he said. "It's actually threatening particularly our green and golden frog, which is one of our threatened species." Researcher Annie Phillips says the remote south-west seems to be the only part of state fungus-free. "It's very probable that this disease and a number of other diseases are spread by the movement of water and mud from site to site," she said. She says the fungus is spread by mud transported on camping and hiking gear. "The really important thing is before going into a remote area or when going between sites in a remote area, to clean mud off equipment and gear," she said.

Meanwhile another ABC report says Researchers have been heartened by their census of the threatened southern bell frog in the lower lakes region at the mouth of the Murray in South Australia. For three months, the researchers working for the Murray-Darling Basin authority have listened in the darkness for the frog's calls. Researcher Pip Taylor was among them. "We'd record on a hand-held digital recorder for five minutes any of the frogs that were calling," she said. The frogs were heard at Clayton Bay, the upper Finniss River and Mundoo Island. Ms Taylor says researchers had expected little success because of the ongoing drought's effect on the habitat. But she says water regulators on the lower Murray may be boosting the health of some areas. The researchers will now check for tadpoles in the lower lakes region to work out if the frogs have been breeding. *ABC

Rock Wallabies

Despite being only about 30cm tall, the newest members at Waterfall Springs Wildlife Sanctuary are helping to save a whole species. The yellow-footed rock-wallaby joeys will play an important role in the long-term survival of the closely related and endangered brush-tailed rock-wallaby. Themselves in serious danger of extinction, a group of 30 yellow-footed rock-wallabies are being kept at the Kulnura sanctuary to be used in a surrogate breeding program. The aim of the program is to accelerate the breeding cycle of the female brush-tailed rock-wallaby by removing a 20-day-old joey from her pouch and implanting it into the pouch of a surrogate yellow-foot female. This will allow the brush-tail female to rapidly increase her breeding output from one up to eight pouch young every year.

The breeding method was initially controversial but is now recognised by scientific experts as the only means to save the last remaining brush-tailed rock-wallabies in Victoria where the number left in the wild slumped to about five. Playing a lead role in the ambitious breeding program is Sanctuary Curator Celia Thomson. “To be part of this Australian first conservation program is an absolute thrill,” she said. “I’m working alongside some of the country’s most highly trained scientists to help save one of our critically threatened species.” *Express Advocate

Ed Comment; We know many readers will have reservations about the worth of this program.

Wildlife Trade

Illegal wildlife traders are using the Internet to pull in more customers, avoid laws and evade authorities, according to animal rights activists at the Asia for Animals 2010 conference on Sunday. Everything from rhinoceros horns to live tiger cubs are being marketed on public websites and in online advertisements, said Grace Ge, Asian regional director of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW). The Internet provides illegal traders an anonymous way to market their goods and offers quick and untraceable sales. While inadequate governing of online companies continues, these black market traders can and will continue to flourish, according to AFP. “The Internet has facilitated the trading of wildlife, which is having a devastating effect on animals and ecosystems worldwide,” Ge said. Referring to a study on the illegal online wildlife trade in 2008, Ge said there continued to be a “huge volume of wildlife and their products traded online on a daily basis.”

The research was conducted over a three-month period in 11 countries including the U.S., China and Australia. The study found more than 7,000 online ads selling illegal wildlife products. 70.5 percent of the ad base came from the United States, while Britain and China were only at about 8 percent each, according to the study. Estimated values of the final sales on these websites accounted for more than 457,000 dollars, but the actual figure was likely much higher as most sites did not advertise prices. Animal rights activists said at the conference that, in the case of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) practitioners, cooperation rather than conflict was more effective in protecting wildlife from poachers. Louis Ng, executive director of the Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (ACRES), said that the previous approach of confrontation was no where nearly as effective. Ng cited a joint proposal by ACRES and Singapore TCM practitioners to adopt a labeling scheme to discourage local TCM shops from selling products made from endangered animals. To date, more than 20 percent of all TCM shops were following the initiative, Ng said. TCM shops sell medicinal products made from animals such as bears and tigers. *Red Orbit

Bird Trapper

A cockatoo can sit in a tree all day and rip the bark off just to pass the time, says Les Dixon-Flint. A galah, a member of the family, will ringbark the tree it nests in, perhaps for food, perhaps to make it harder for goannas to steal its eggs. Either way, it's no good for the tree. Mr Dixon-Flint has the slow gait and weather-worn face of a man used to hard work outdoors. He is one of two licensed bird trappers left in NSW, a trade he picked up in 1967 when he inherited the licence of his boss. From his rambling farmhouse in the tiny hamlet of Beelbangera just outside Griffith, Mr Dixon-Flint roams the southern region capturing native birds from farms, airfields and golf courses. But unlike other trappers he cannot bring himself to kill the animals he takes. "'I'm not in the game to destroy them,'' he says. ''I've always been a bird lover.'' Sometimes Mr Dixon-Flint will scatter seed to attract a flock, capture them under a huge swing net and leave them clawing for freedom for 15 minutes or so before releasing them.

''You put what you call the scare of man into them and they don't come back,'' he says. Other birds he sells to a pet supplier in Sydney, although changing regulations keep making the job harder. Young cockatoos in NSW may not be sold until January in order to stop people from raiding nests in the spring, but since such laws do not exist in Victoria, which has 15 trappers at work, Sydney pet shops are often full before Mr Dixon-Flint can sell his birds. And, he says, neighbours are making things harder, too. ''You can't have a cocky squawking in your backyard these days without getting sent to jail,'' he grumbles. Often, reluctantly, Mr Dixon-Flint turns his cages over to farmers to fumigate the catch. Sometimes he will run a cull himself. Recently he drove with two shooters nine hours to a farm near Bourke to supervise a cull of 2500 from a flock of 30,000 corellas. Even then Mr Dixon-Flint pulled the trigger only to destroy wounded animals.

Over the years he has lobbied the Federal Government to allow an international trade in native birds. ''There's a good market for them overseas and it would stop a lot of the black market. They would go out of the country the right way instead of being smuggled out in tubes and little containers.'' In his back garden Mr Dixon-Flint introduces the birds that have found their way into his family. ''This is Les, he's always been savage,'' says Mr Dixon-Flint, offering an almond to a weathered old corella who cheerfully shrieks, ''Hello Les, hello Les, la la la la Les,'' as he takes the nut. Les is 37. On the other side of the yard a galah noisily accuses Mr Dixon-Flint of being a ''little prick'' before seizing his almond and ducking back into the depths of the cage muttering even darker obscenities under his breath. Big Boy, a gentle long-billed corella with a savage-looking beak, takes his almond daintily by the claw, but has nothing to say. Another corella, Little Squawk, and a sulphur-crested cockatoo - also Big Boy - laugh and dance, spinning first one way then the other as Mr Dixon-Flint taps the cage and sings to them. *Sydney Morning Herald


He's never had a nose for trouble before but black labrador Bronson sure knows how to turn heads with his retrieving tricks. The champion obedience dog stunned his Victorian owners when he returned to them with his latest find. Locked firmly in his jaws and coiled around his snout was a live snake, believed to be a copperhead. "He's an excellent duck dog but he'll pick up absolutely anything and return to us, hanging on to it until we say 'Give'," owner Deborah Allen said. "Recently my husband didn't know he'd lost his mobile phone out in a paddock until Bronson returned with it in his mouth." The couple were on their property at Yarragon when Mr Allen saw Bronson with the snake hanging out of his mouth and the snake's body wrapped around his nose. "We weren't sure if it was alive or not," Mrs Allen said. "When we poked its head, which was hanging down at ground level, it moved. It appeared slightly stunned." As they planned how best to deal with the snake, Mr Allen told his wife to take a photo. "He didn't reckon anyone would believe us," she said.

Mrs Allen captured the stunning sight as the perfectly obedient Bronson remained totally rigid, trained not to move his head while carrying anything he had retrieved. "But he had a real forlorn look on his face like he was saying 'Hurry up and take this thing'," Ms Allen said. Mr. Allen found a chaff bag, lowered it to the ground then pulled the bag up and over the snake while at the same time releasing its body that remained wrapped around Bronson's snout. "And as soon I said 'Give' he dropped it right into the bag and we sealed up the ends." With the snake safely stored, the pair rushed Bronson to the West Gippsland Veterinary Centre where a blood test confirmed Bronson had copped a bite. Four days in hospital on a drip followed, but Bronson is now happily at home.

Australian Veterinary Association president Peter Gibbs said because of the hot weather an alarming number of pets had been brought to clinics for treatment of snake bites. "Snakes tend to be at their most active towards the end of day, with snake bites usually happening in late afternoon or early evening," Dr Gibbs said. "Dog owners should avoid snake-prone areas." Symptoms of snakebite include seizures, vomiting, bleeding around the bite, weakness in the limb and paralysis. The animal will collapse with laboured breathing. Urgent treatment is needed but always call ahead so vets can have anti-venene on standby. * HeraldSun

The Fair Dinkum Characters

The new Summer range of toddlers wildlife shirts, shorts, and singlets are now avaliable on the Fair Dinkum Characters website at too late for Christmas unfortuntely. The Dinkums are Ambassadors for the Wildlife Protection Association of Australia Inc. Watch for them playing in a Shopping Centre near you!

New political party, Animal Justice Party The time has come for animals to have a voice in the political arena. Animal Rights/Welfare is the next social justice movement and everyone can be a part of it. Please go to this website below to see how you can make a difference. Help end the suffering and become a voice for those without one. There you will find forms for both NSW and Federal memebrship. At this point no memebership fee is payable, and its important to get 750 members for the ANIMAL JUSTICE PARTY to be registered as a political party. Other States will follow. It is important you fill in your name exactly as it appears on the Electoral Roll, otherwise your application will be invalid. You can download membership forms from the website. Please post to this address only... Animal Justice Party, P.O. Box 3126, Blakehurst 2221, Sydney NSW The animals need you......

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! (We recently ran out od stock of this very popular magical DVD, but now have new supplies in! Buy Now! Buy Now!....before we run out again!)

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.

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

Fraser Island

We have been sent some links to video footage of the Fraser Island dingoes. It's the best Fraser Island dingo footage we have ever seen, and should be seen by everyone. All dingoes in this footage have since been killed by DERM. All places in this footage were burnt out by DERM. There is nothing but this footage, and the memories of these dingoes left. Please spread the links to all your mailing lists, and place comments. Before it’s too late, and there are no dingoes left. The Queensland Government's Fraser Island Dingo Management Plan is the worst wildlife management blunder ever committed in Queensland....and there have been some bad ones! This footage was taken by Jennifer Parkhurst, who had her house raided by police and DERM rangers early one morning last year. Her photos, documents, computer hard drives were seized and taken, even framed photoes were removed and taken from the wall of her house. The search warrant claimed they were looking for dog food. These are the actions of the Queensland Labor Government, and even Jo Beilke-Peterson, for all the criticism he received, never sank so low as to send a bunch of thugs early one morning to terrorise a woman in her own home. Dingoes howling, if you've never seen or heard a dingo this is "must-watch" footage. Dingoes approaching a beach walker wanting to play. A group of dingoes playing. All these dingoes in this footage above have since been killed by the Queensland Government.

May the dingoes Rest In Peace.