Monday, February 15, 2010

Wildlife Bytes Australia 9/2/2010

Wildlife MiniBytes


When they emerge onto beaches around the world to lay their eggs in the sand, sea turtles expose themselves to a trio of threats from climate change: cyclones, rising seas and warming temperatures. A new study finds that for the world's largest population of sea turtles -- in Australia's northern Great Barrier Reef -- blazing hot sands pose the greatest threat to the animals' breeding success over the long term. The researchers predict that from now until 2030, sea level rise will do the most harm to turtle breeding grounds. However, by 2070, sands in many areas will be so scorching that eggs could not survive. "Different studies look at how a single climatic process is going to affect nesting grounds," study lead author Marianna Fuentes of James Cook University in Townsville, Australia, told Discovery News. "But all the climatic processes are going to happen simultaneously." The new work on sea turtles -- gentle, charismatic denizens of our oceans that keep ecosystems balanced by grazing kelp and algae -- evaluated the combined effects. Fuentes and her colleagues gathered what was known from studies of individual threats and surveyed experts' views of their relative significance. They published the findings in Global Change Biology.

Monarch Butterflies

Monarch butterflies are currently at their lowest population on record, according to recent data from the World Wildlife Fund Mexico. The current colony size is 1.92 hectares, down from the previous low of 2.19 hectares in 2004 and far down from the recorded high of 21.6 hectares in 1995. Problematic population dynamics, damage to their native habitat across the United States and Canada, and damage to overwintering sites have all had dramatically negative effects on the butterflies' population. The monarch population census is conducted by measuring the total area each colony covers. There are reasonably accurate population measurements going back 16 years, and in that time, the population has declined rapidly. The average size of the population over the last 16 years has been 7.44 hectares. Read more...

Climate Change

Greenpeace and the World Wildlife Fund raised almost a half-billion dollars last year to campaign for Climate Change.Read more:

If you thought you could leave the issue of Climate Change in the not-so-compassionate hands of government, think again. The "debate" so far has been focused on kangaroo, cattle, sheep and camels farting ability. We all know about the Copenhagen Climate Change fiasco, and the emissions trading schemes that have been touted are at best confusing, at worst, not likely to help much. In Queensland, the State of Denial, the Labor government have gleefully announced the deal of the century to create up to 70,000 new jobs in Queensland. They have clinched a contract with one of China's biggest power companies to export $69 billion worth of thermal coal from new mines in Central Queensland. These mines in the Gallilee Basin will produce every year, six times the amount of coal from every other coal mine in Australia. China will use the coal to generate power for Industrial development, and more pollution. So much for any Queensland Climate Change mitigation policies. We think that most government Climate Change strategies will stick to cattle, sheep, camels,and kangaroos farting, its easier create an impression that they are doing something. They may think of something better to do when the mines go under water, and by then it will be too late. *WPAA Tuna

The UN-backed wildlife trade agency said Friday it supported a proposed ban on the international trade in bluefin tuna, a delicacy in Asia, which is due to be examined by 175 countries next month. "We are recommending that the parties approve the proposals made by Monaco," said David Morgan, head of the scientific support unit at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). Japan has opposed the ban proposed by Monaco, which would classify the fish as a species threatened with extinction, CITES officials said. France this week lent its support to the proposals under certain conditions despite strong opposition among its Mediterranean fishing fleets, paving the way for European Union backing, officials said. *AFP

Wildlife rescuers carry on despite cost

An article on the ongoing costs of wildlife caring in California. Read more....

Panda to Relearn Chinese

A giant panda is to be given a language instructor to teach her Chinese when shes returns 'home' from the US. Mei Lan, a three-year-old female at Atlanta Zoo, is being flown to China with Tai Shan, a four-year-old male at the National Zoo in Washington DC. Huang Xiangmin, director of the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, says they have set up a website to recruit volunteers to teach Mei Lan to understand Chinese instructions. "The volunteer also has to be fluent in English, as Mei Lan may take some time to get used to the switch," he told the Sichuan News Network. The research base also posted pictures of male pandas on the website, for people to vote for the best candidate to be Mei Lan's boyfriend, now she has reached breeding age. Tai Shan, meanwhile, will be sent to the Ya'an Bifeng Gorge Breeding Base of Wolong National Nature Reserve. Mei Lan and Tai Shan were both born to pandas who were loaned to American zoos by China. Under the terms of the agreements, both pandas were due to be returned to China when they were two years-old. However, the Chinese government agreed to extend their stay after requests from their respective zoos where they were seen by millions of visitors. Both pandas will be sent to China by Fed Ex in a special plane dubbed the Panda Express. They will spend the 14-hour flight inside a plexiglass cage, with their keepers nearby. There are about 1,600 giant pandas living in China's wild, mostly in Sichuan and the northwestern provinces of Shaanxi and Gansu. Another 290 are in captive-breeding programmes worldwide, mainly in China. * AFP


Premier Anna Bligh says the Queensland Government is working to protect dolphins at Tin Can Bay, in the state's south-east, from a nearby construction site. The project, which includes a 240-berth marina at Snapper Creek, has raised concerns about the welfare of dolphins which are handfed nearby. But the Department of Environment and Resource Management says development conditions will ensure there is minimal impact on the environment. "We currently have a discussion paper out in relation to the protection of marine mammals and there is a specific provision in it to protect the feeding of dolphins in this area," Ms Bligh said. "In relation to the proposed marina, obviously that is something that will have to be taken into account in the development." *ABC

Cane Toads

Cane toads are being turned into sausages in the Northern Territory as part of a research project to help save an endangered mammal. The sausages, which are made up of the minced legs of the toads, are being fed to quolls as part of the project by Sydney University and the Territory Wildlife Park. The sausages are then laced with a chemical that makes the quolls sick. Researcher Stephanie O'Donnell says the aim is to make the quolls feel ill so they will avoid eating the poisonous amphibians in the wild. "They can't smell [the chemical]. They can't taste it," she said. "Basically it makes them really, really sick. "We basically give them food poisoning and after that they just won't touch it or they will sniff the toad, run away from it or bite it and spit it out." Results show about a quarter of the quolls will avoid a toad after eating one of the sausages. *ABC


The NZ SPCA expects a decision later this week on whether it can ban live crayfish-catching machines in pubs throughout New Zealand. Animal rights group Safe will protest tomorrow outside Auckland's Albion Hotel, which has one of the machines. The arcade-style Catch a Cray machines are owned by Patrick Chandulal, who also owns the Fishmonger seafood delicatessen franchise. They have been in pubs since the middle of last year. Customers pay $3 to try to catch a live cray fish, using remotely controlled metal fingers. Crays face being repeatedly grabbed and dropped as players try to catch one. Seven bars have removed the machines because of complaints from customers or pressure from animal rights campaigners. Safe says it knows of eight other pubs around New Zealand with the machines. The SPCA, Safe and members of "ban catcha cray" – 192 people who have posted on a Facebook page – are opposed to the machines, saying they are gimmicks which cause unnecessary cruelty. "On average it takes 30 times before [a cray] is caught and halfway up it falls out again. Anyone with half a brain would realise that this is stressful," Safe's campaign director Hanz Kriek told Sunday News. *


Biosecurity Queensland says farmers and graziers could be facing one of the worst seasons for plague locusts in several years, due to the recent rain. Aerial surveys have shown numbers of the Australian plague locust have been building up in the state's Channel Country. Biosecurity officer Graham Hardwick says virtually all of the state's agricultural areas are at some level of risk because locusts can travel up to 500 kilometres in a night. "There were some fairly large numbers there before the rain and they have laid again," he said. "Some of those should be hatching out in the next week or so and there are going to be some big issues with the Australian plague locust in that area. "They are a worry because they multiple so quickly and they can move across a large area in a short space of time depending on the weather fronts." Mr Hardwick says locusts can cause millions of dollars worth of damage to crops and pastures and landholders are being urged to report sightings. "This is ... potentially one of the worst seasons - because we had that rain around Christmas time and the floods out in the Channel Country," he said. "Mostly when they breed up in the Channel Country they go south into New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. "However, there is the risk that they can come into the cropping areas in the east and that is what we are concerned about at this stage." *ABC

Brown Pelicans

Wildlife rescuers are concerned about an alarming trend, Brown pelicans, in large numbers, are being found malnourished, begging for food and, in some cases, dead along the Oregon coast. The reason for the birds' distress remains mysterious; our colleague Kim Murphy reports on experts' efforts to save them and discover the cause of their predicament. As many as 1,000 of the gangly seabirds failed to make their annual fall migration to California, many instead winding up at Oregon's rehabilitation centers. Those that did head south, leaving the Pacific Northwest winter behind, were battered by California's recent storms. Shelters in San Pedro and the San Francisco Bay Area are also full of emaciated pelicans. Researchers, at a loss to explain the casualties, are looking at unusual ocean currents and the depletion of fish stocks -- as well as warmer temperatures, toxic runoff and algae blooms -- as possible causes. *LA Times


A pheasant is terrorising a North Yorkshire village by trapping people in their homes and attacking them in the street. Men, women, children, prams, bikes, dogs and cars are said to have have fallen foul of the bird in Newsham, near Richmond. Sonia Hall was attacked by the creature while she was out for a walk with her two-and-a-half-year-old grandson Jacob, reports the Daily Telegraph. Her son Charles Hall, 34, who runs a local hotel, said: "She was really shaken up by it. She tried to beat it off with her handbag but from what she said it is quite vicious." Mrs Hall's partner, Robin Leonard, a retired glass fitter, said: "The pheasant's attack left her with a scar on her leg. "The postman was passing by and saw the attack so ran over to help. The postman is scared to come into the village now in case the pheasant attacks him." Bob De'Ath, chairman of Newsham Parish Council says: "Although it seems humorous, there is a serious concern that this pheasant could injure young children if it goes for their face. "It is terrorising the whole village. We are now starting to get official complaints about it, so I have written to the RSPCA and the RSPB to ask for advice on the matter." Lyndsey Waddell, chairman of the National Gamekeepers Organisation, said: "You get a similar thing in a variety of other birds as spring approaches and the breeding season begins. "All the bird is doing is protecting what it considers to be its territory." * Network Item


A high-profile campaign to ban kangaroo meat and products throughout the European Union is being backed by the prominent British politician who single-handedly brokered and won the controversial EU ban on all seal products. Arlene McCarthy, a veteran Labour member of the European Parliament, told the Herald this week that she was resolutely targeting the $270 million kangaroo meat industry. Speaking from Brussels, Ms McCarthy said that the new law banning the sale of seal products in Europe had come into force this year and followed the ban on cat and dog fur in 2008. "These campaigns take time but the European Parliament is now looking at the issue of kangaroo products. The clear message is that the European Parliament acts when citizens raise their voice,'' she said. "Thousands of citizens are now calling for action against the cruel trade in kangaroo fur and meat and I am confident that the Parliament will act. This is a cruel trade … every year, 440,000 joeys are pulled from their pouch when their mothers are left to die.''

The push, which comes just six months after Russia placed a ban on kangaroo meat after concerns of contamination with E.coli bacteria, has also received an unexpected fillip from the former Polish prime minister Professor Jerzy Buzek, who is the president of the European Parliament. He said the campaign was ''important and valuable'' and wished it every success in encouraging ''as many EU citizens as possible to support'' the project''. Philip Woolley, the British-based director for the European ''440,000 Joeys'' campaign, said more and more high-profile actors, writers, politicians and artists were joining the drive to ban what he described as Australia's ''dark and dirty secret''. Recent recruits include Dame Judi Dench, the Aboriginal elder and storyteller Francis Firebrace, British marathon runner Fiona Oakes and the British actress Liza Goddard, who was one of the early young stars of Skippy the Bush Kangaroo.

''This is one of the most important campaigns that has been mounted against the killing of kangaroos in Australia,'' said Mr Woolley. ''An industry that says it works humanely yet does not completely check on the killings cannot claim that it operates in this way. Every kill must be a head shot and when animals are skinned in the bush, no one checks. Killed animals are delivered to processing plants headless, so how can these kills be confirmed as correct? 'When adult animals are killed, leaving defenceless young to fend for themselves, they are brutally killed with a boot to the head or a lead pipe brought down on them; how can this be humane? "'It is about time that the world and particularly the EU knew about this dark and dirty secret which the Australian Government doesn't want anyone to see, let alone talk about. The lives of these young animals have to be saved and the only way is to stop trade in kangaroo products in the EU. This campaign aims to do just that.''

Dame Judi Dench said: ''As a lover of animals and their welfare I am pleased to add my name to the many others across the world who are supporting this very worthwhile campaign. Cruelty to any animal is barbarism and killing a joey after killing the mother is totally unacceptable.''Supporters of harvesting, such as the UNSW ecologist Professor Michael Archer, say kangaroos are culled humanely to keep over-population in check. The industry argues it has strict regulations governing the method of killing kangaroos and less than 20 per cent of animals culled are females and the RSPCA supports the industry's code of conduct. Last month, the federal member for Parkes, Mark Coulton, said a ban in the EU had the potential to ''decimate'' the industry. He accused opponents of conveniently ignoring problems caused to Australia's fragile ecosystem by kangaroos. 'It is very misguided, and with the nation's kangaroo export industry worth hundreds of millions of dollars a year, it is also potentially very damaging,'' he told the Daily Liberal newspaper.

Ray Border, the director of Macro Meats, which is the largest processor of kangaroo meat for domestic and international markets, said 10 per cent of his company's exports went to the EU, generating about $4 million. ''It would be a dent but it would not destroy us,'' he said. ''We look at Europe as being one of the biggest consumers of game meat in the world.'' The executive officer of the Kangaroo Industry Association of Australia, John Kelly, was unfazed by Ms McCarthy's reputation as the first chairwoman of the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee and her position as the vice-chairwoman of the EU's powerful Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee. ''We would expect that the EU Parliament would respond and make decisions on science rather than any sort of emotion. We've been monitoring [the campaign] for six months along with the Australian Government and we're not aware of there being any serious attention to it in the EU.'' *SMH

Workers in the kangaroo meat industry will be trained to meet health demands of importing countries after Russia banned the product last year. The industry's 4000 workers will be trained under a $400,000 Government package announced today. Moves to upskill the industry come after Russia's government banned kangaroo meat last August on the grounds of food safety concerns. The kangaroo industry is estimated to generate more than $270 million a year with Russia, accounting for 70 per cent of Australia's kangaroo exports. The funding will help extend the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation's kangaroo harvester program with a focus on boosting training delivery and developing a competency-based qualification and on-the-job assessment framework to facilitate ongoing training. "Investing in product and skills improvement is essential for regaining access to the market in Russia as well as underpinning new markets, such as China," Agriculture Minister Tony Burke said in a statement today. The training will help harvesters meet international requirements and changing market conditions, he said. As part of training, harvesters will need to demonstrate their competency through an on-the-job practical assessment demonstration. *AAP

Ed Comment; Every year, the Federal government, thru CSIRO, gives hundreds of thousands of dollars of our (taxpayers) money to the kangaroo Industry, for promotion, for training and for just plain Industry propaganda. The money is used for, amongst other things, paying "independent" journalists to write glowing stories about the Industry, and to pay nutritionists like Rosemary Stanton to support the Industry. *


Two penguin chicks have died after they were seized by a government officer from the Kangaroo Island Penguin Centre. “It is unforgivable,” said the centre’s owners. The birds were among five penguins removed by the Department of Environment and Heritage, after it claimed the centre’s John Ayliffe and wife Jenny Clapson had breached the conditions of a permit issued for their care. The couple had rescued the chicks from Kingscote penguin colony after they were abandoned by their mother. "There is absolutely no reason those birds should have died,” Mr Ayliffe said. “We are extremely annoyed. I am absolutely certain they would have lived if they had stayed here – they were feeding well and putting on weight.” A DEH spokesperson said this week the penguins were in poor health when they were taken from the centre, but this is disputed by Mr Ayliffe, who said the officer who removed them commented on their good condition.

Mr Ayliffe believes stress contributed to the penguins’ death. He said after being seized by DEH, they were transported in cat cages from Kangaroo Island to Adelaide Zoo “on a stinking hot day”. The remaining penguins are still being cared for at the zoo, and DEH said it was not yet known if or when they would be released back into the wild. Mr Ayliffe and Ms Clapson have been fined $240 for breaching the permit conditions for the birds. DEH now considers the matter closed – but the couple doesn’t agree. The pair is concerned about what will happen to the remaining birds, and want to meet the DEH to discuss future management of the colony. Meanwhile, the pair is not prepared to risk further fines by rescuing more penguins. “We got a call last week from someone who saw two sick penguins and a dead one in the colony,” Mr Ayliffe. “She was very disturbed, but we couldn’t do anything. If we go and rescue any more the second fine would be massive.” *Independent Weekly


Koalas at Gunnedah’s Waterway’s Wildlife Park had been dehydrated and suffering malnutrition, NSW RSPCA chief executive Steve Coleman has said. RSPCA officers removed eight koalas – the park’s total koala population – on Wednesday. The intervention has shocked the country community with more than 1000 people now members of a Facebook website established on Friday to support the park’s operators, Nancy and Col Small. Mr Coleman said it was important for people to remember there were two sides to every story. He was responding to allegations by Nancy Small. Mrs Small said yesterday that an RSPCA officer had been aggressive and abusive towards her volunteers. She claimed the officer had been “telling them (the volunteers) they were `stupid and simple’,” during last Wednesday’s intervention. The action had been carried out by RSPCA officers and two wildlife experts.

Mr Coleman declined to comment on the specific allegation, saying all aspects of the intervention were now the subject of the animal welfare investigation which had been initiated in response to a complaint. He said the RSPCA wanted to ensure Mrs Small and the animals were treated fairly in the inquiry. “This week’s challenge for us is to get to the bottom of this,” Mr Coleman said. “The two parts that we’re trying to focus on is, number one, the attention the animals require and that Nancy and (her husband and park co-owner) Colin’s rights are preserved,” he said. “The RSPCA has not questioned or challenged Nancy and Colin’s previous experience.” An RSPCA report currently being prepared could take up to a month to finish. It will involve written input from the National Parks and Wildlife Service and from the Department of Industry and Investment (formerly the Department of Primary Industries – DPI).

“The DPI and NPWS will be on site at some point this week,” Mr Coleman said. “There are certainly concerns about some of the animals left on site.” The RSPCA acted under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, with the other two organisations responsible under Acts concerning rehabilitation (NPWS) and animals on display. Mrs Small said that she’d been told by the RSPCA that the koalas would be taken to a local veterinarian – but they weren’t. Mr Coleman would not say where the koalas had been taken. Mrs Small also said she had no idea that a film crew (from Channel 7’s Animal Rescue) would be present – but Mr Coleman denied this. “Consent was given by Nancy – she signed a consent form,” he said. Mr Coleman said the NSW operations manager, Matt French, had overseen the operation.

He said Mr French had told Mrs Small that at any time if she wanted to have the TV crew removed, the RSPCA would do it. Mrs Small told The Leader there had been no previous inspection of the park. Mr Coleman denied this, saying the first inspection had been carried out “some days before”. “As far as we’re concerned, there’s one complaint, two inspections and a number of animals that were very sick,” he said. Mr Coleman said that the koalas had been suffering “dehydration” and “malnutrition”. *Northern Daily Leader

Ed Comment; A number of wildlife carers have been very critical of this "Animal Rescue" program. We only watched it once and were very much less than impressed with the way they handled wildlife. It seems to us to be just a vehicle to promote the RSPCA, after some very negative public actions, such as supporting the Belconnen kangaroo kill. That's a shame, because done properly the program could have some positive messages for the public.


They are bald headed, shrieking scavengers found near rubbish dumps in capital cities around Australia. Yes, the native white ibis suffers from something of an image problem. But wildlife officers say the species' urban presence is symptomatic of a wider problem, saying it points to the long-term drying up of wetlands far inland. The call of the white ibis is a familiar one in cities around Australia, where they gravitate to the less-desirable locations. But New South Wales Wildlife management officer Geoff Ross says they have been forced to make a sea change since the first great droughts of the 1970s. "Any tips or refuse areas, large open garbage bins - wherever there's any open garbage storage - you'll often see Australian white ibis there trying to pick off some of the nicer little bits around the edges," he said. "That leads people to believe that they're a pest species, or that they're dirty or things like that. "In fact most ibis really still forage naturally in and around the wetlands in those capital cities or around the parklands in those capital cities. "They do have a bit of an image problem. I always said that if ibis were pink in colour like flamingos they'd have a much better image and people would really like them, rather than believing that they're foul smelling stinky birds." The white ibis are native to NSW, but long-running drought in their wetlands habitats further inland have seen them appear in coastal cities in droves.

But for some birds the coast has proved just as perilous, according to Townsville city councillor Vern Veitch. "I'm aware of about half a dozen birds being shot. And it's very unfortunate that someone would do that sort of thing for a couple of reasons," he said. "The first being firearm safety, but the second being cruelty to animals - it's simply not an acceptable type of behaviour." Cr Veitch says this time last year there was a mysterious ibis hunter in the city who left the carcasses of the birds piled up on a street corner in the CBD. "Probably some people feel that the birds are a pest, that they might be carrying disease because they come from the landfill and then might frequent someone's yard," he said. "And there's always the possibility of that. But humans make the disease in the first place so the birds, if they are carrying it, well it's inadvertently. "But it's certainly distressing to hear that birds are being shot, native birds in particular being shot."

The hunter was never caught, and Mr Ross says across the region the future of the protected birds is by no means secure. "It's very easy when you see birds all the time in your backyard or in those urban environments when you're walking through any of the parklands in capital cities to believe that they're very common. "And indeed 30, 40 years ago wetland birds in central western NSW and in northern parts of South Australia and all of those inland wetlands, those wetland birds were relatively common. "And we're talking in the hundreds of thousands in one large nesting colony - hundreds of thousands of Australian white ibis. "But what we're seeing now from aerial surveys is that all those strongholds, those inland wetland breeding areas for many of those birds have diminished significantly.

"In fact on one of the last surveys through NSW wetlands not one Australian white ibis was counted. That's very clearly showing that the birds have actually moved to more coastal wetlands to try and guarantee their survival." Mr Ross is calling on NSW residents this Sunday to seek out the ibis and record any birds they find on a department of environment webpage. He says there has been a lot of rain over the last two months which has nourished key areas in north-western NSW and he is hopeful some of the younger birds may be moving back inland. "I would love to see thousands of them to report that we've got stable populations in wetlands across western New South Wales and that would be very, very reassuring," he said. The findings will become part of a permanent database to work out environmental changes in the region. *ABC


Increasingly fiery clashes between whalers and protesters on the high seas are sparking fears that someone will die. A violent collision between two large vessels in icy Antarctic waters on Saturday ripped a hole in the hull of a protest ship. The incident occurred one month after lightweight protest vessel the Ady Gill was holed and sunk in a similar collision. The Australian Greens and the federal opposition are calling on the government to send in the navy to make sure no lives are lost. "I'm really concerned that people may be killed in the clashes occurring," Greens leader Bob Brown told reporters in parliament house on Sunday. "The Australian government's totally absent and that's irresponsible ... the presence of a surveillance ship will lower the tempo and make it safer." Opposition environment spokesman Greg Hunt said Australia should send a ship to monitor events. Commercial whaling is banned but each summer, Japan hunts hundreds of whales in Antarctic waters in the name of scientific research.

The protesters and the Japanese whalers have accused each other of causing the latest collision, in which it's believed no one was injured. The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, which operates the Bob Barker ship involved in the collision, has released footage. It shows the Bob Barker and Japanese vessel the Yushin Maru 3 racing in a similar direction. They draw nearer, the Japanese vessel wheels around, and the rear of the vessel slams into the Bob Barker. Sea Shepherd founder Captain Paul Watson said the Japanese whaling ships were circling the protest vessel "like sharks" before they rammed it. The collision tore a metre gash in the Bob Barker's hull above the water line. Japan's Institute of Cetacean Research said whaling vessels were trying to stop the Bob Barker getting too close after protesters shone green lasers at them and threw bottles containing acid.

The Yushin Maru 3 tried to avoid a collision and ended with minor damage to its handrail and hull, the Institute said. A spokesman for Environment Minister Peter Garrett said the government was not planning to take action over the incident. The government ordered the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) to investigate the collision involving the Ady Gill on January 6. Mr Garrett's spokesman said that investigation was ongoing. It's not known if AMSA has interviewed the Japanese whaling crew involved. Before the last federal election, Labor promised to take international legal action against Japan to stop the whaling, but no action has yet been started. Senator Brown said Mr Garrett was "missing in action" on whaling. "He hasn't been a disappointment, he's been a complete failure," he said. *AAP


Forestry Tasmania should be radically overhauled, according to a report aimed at ending the decades-long forest conflict. The report, commissioned by Environment Tasmania and endorsed by federal Labor MP Duncan Kerr, also recommends a full inquiry or royal commission into the pulp-mill assessment process. "Levelling the Playing Field: Reforming Forestry Governance in Tasmania" found there was an inherent conflict of interest in Forestry Tasmania being both a forest manager and a forest harvester; that the company was too closely aligned to Gunns Ltd; and that there was evidence of too much bureaucratic behaviour. It recommended that the Government Business Enterprise be massively overhauled, with a review of its 300,000 m3 annual minimum supply obligation. The report's author, governance expert Lynne Russell from CSDev, said the fast-track pulp-mill assessment would not be out of place in the third world provinces of Banda Aceh and Azerbaijan.

However, Mr Kerr said he hoped the report would not be used as another brick to hurl in the forestry debate. He said the gap between the conservation movement and the forest industry was at its narrowest in decades, making a resolution a real possibility. Forestry Tasmania managing director Bob Gordon said a full response could not be made until the report was available today, but FT functioned in accordance with its legislation. The report can be downloaded at It will be open for public comment until February 22. *Mercury


A major culprit is China, where economic power and use of tiger parts in traditional medicine is a lethal combination. Wealthy Chinese consider tiger skins a status symbol, using them in their homes for decoration. Chinese and Thai businessmen operate tiger farms as "safari parks" for tourists, breeding the animals and stockpiling body parts -- which is where the real money is. Tiger parts are sold as tonics and magical cures. Claws supposedly solve insomnia, whiskers relieve toothaches, body fat cures leprosy. A tiger's penis, believed to increase sexual power, fetches a small fortune, while other body parts are considered aphrodisiacs. ( "Tiger" in Sanskrit is vyaghra.) Tiger-bone wine, sold openly at Chinese "safari parks," costs nearly $200 per bottle as a cure for arthritis and rheumatism. Although traditional medicine practitioners know these products lack medical value, and the World Federation of Chinese Medicine Societies opposes the tiger trade, markets remain strong. The tiger market is part of the multibillion-dollar wildlife trade, surpassed only by illegal drugs and arms sales. Although poachers may be poor, traders at higher levels reap huge profits. Corrupt park guards, police and government officials form networks that are better organized than conservationists and governments. Read More.....

Fraser Island Dingoes

Last week Wildlife Bytes ran the story about Jennifer Parkhurst, the photographer who had her house invaded by DERM thugs early one morning last year. Jennifer now faces a maximum two years' jail or up to a $300,000 fine under the Nature Conservation Act and Recreation Area Management Act, for allegedly interfering with the Fraser Island dingoes. The real reasons for the raid were that, like many others, Jennifer has been highly critical of the Fraser Island dingo mis-management strategies. Anyway, a rally or two are being planned, and Fund has been set up to help Jennifer and teh dingoes. People can contribute to the fund at Westpac Bank, Pialba, Hervey Bay. Save Fraser island Dingoes Inc. BSB 034-136 Acct 303196.

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.