Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Wildlife Bytes 11/5/10

Fraser Island Dingo Rally

FACEBOOK - ‘SAVE FRASER ISLAND DINGOES’ SAVE FRASER ISLAND DINGOES (SFID) Incorporated, 50 Old Maryborough Road Pialba, HERVEY BAY QLD 4655 Ph: (07) 41241979 Fax: (07) 41243623

Rally starting at 10 am Saturday 15th May. Gathering at "Emma Miller Place" Roma St, Brisbane at 10 am. Walking at 10.30 am to Parliament House (approx 40 mins). Then 12 pm going to Musgrave Park, Cordelia St, South Brisbane. A bus will be available for a shuttle, or it's a pleasant 20 minute walk over Brisbane River via the footbridge near QUT/Botanical gardens. At Musgrave Park there will be entertainment and refreshments, musical artists, indigenous dancers, Dingo education and materials, special guests and speakers. A bus will pickup from Hervey Bay, leaving at 5.30 am, and pickup from Maryborough, and then Gympie. For bus bookings and details (must be paid in advance ) contact SFID at the contact details above. *Network Item savefraserislanddingoes@hotmail.com

Fraser Island Dingoes

Dingo numbers on Fraser Island should be artificially increased by improving the animal’s access to food, according to an expert who believes the dogs are crucial conservation assets for the whole of Australia. Ultimately, Monash Senior Fellow Dr Ernest Healy believes a high quality population of dingoes on the island could provide founding animals for dingo conservation efforts on the mainland. Co-founder of the national Dingo Preservation and Recovery Program, Dr Healy said the predominant conservationist mindset and that of Queensland authorities needed to shift from determining what the “natural” dingo population level is for the island. A small or uncertain population size may throw into doubt the island dingoes’ genetic viability, he warned. “If unnecessary culling is continued by the authorities, then the genetic diversity of the Fraser Island dingo population may become too limited for the taxon’s longer-term survival,” he said. “The politically-motivated and unnecessarily heavy culling of the Fraser Island dingo population after the death of a small boy on the island may have had a significant impact in this regard.”

Dr Healy has been highly critical of the Queensland Government’s management of the dingoes, saying it had a responsibility to the island’s World Heritage listing to preserve the animal. There is mounting anger among both locals and conservationists concerned that those management practices are literally starving the animals. Save Fraser Island Dingoes Inc will hold a rally in Brisbane on May 15 and march on Parliament House in an attempt to bring their plight to the attention of Environment Minister Kate Jones. Ms Jones last week denied there was any evidence of animals starving but has launched a dingo population study in conjunction with the University of Queensland to determine both population numbers and food sources. “Wild dingoes are naturally lean animals. Studies show that the dingoes on Fraser Island are actually heavier than their mainland counterparts,” she claimed.

“Analysis of nearly 1000 Fraser Island dingo scats reveals that their favoured natural prey species are bandicoots, echidnas and bush rats. Bandicoots and bush rats are particularly abundant on Fraser Island. “Occasionally, individual dingoes will be seen in poor condition due to injury or sickness or because they have been denied food by dominant members of their pack. “A key principle of the Fraser Island Dingo Management Strategy is that wild dingoes should be interfered with as little as possible and definitely not fed.” Ms Jones has dismissed calls for controlled food drops, saying it would artificially inflate numbers while diminishing hunting instincts. Dr Healy said qualified professionals needed to conduct autopsies on all dingoes found dead or culled, rather than leaving it to departmental officers without specialist training, which he said “has most often been the case”. Forty-year island veteran Peter Thomas said the island’s dingo population was being denied access to food sources they had relied on. “The poor buggers are starving,” he said. “They’ve taken away their food source. The poor buggers have to eat. “I don’t know for the hell of me why they can’t do controlled food drops. The dogs are paying the price of us.” *Sunshine Coast Daily

A dingo preservation group says more ranger patrols are needed on Fraser Island off south-east Queensland to stop visitors interacting with dingoes. Two people were charged in January after allegedly interfering with dingoes, including feeding them. Fraser Island Dingo Preservation Group spokeswoman Bree Jashin says awareness campaigns are not getting through. "I think there will be eventually a turnaround period where it may not need to have that level of monitoring because people have got the message," she said. "Honestly, I really do think that this point in time that places like Eli Creek should be monitored by [the] parks [service] on a daily basis during periods of high visitation." She says visitors are flouting the law."It's quite a long beach to monitor, but it's sites like Eli Creek where I think it's really important the Department considers monitoring the area or the areas of such high visitation," she said. But a spokeswoman for the Environment Department says the current level of monitoring and regulations on Fraser Island are suitable. *ABC

Get your own Free Wildlife Website!

We suggested in last weeks Wildlife Bytes we would show you how to get your own website free! Free hosting, free web builder etc, totally free. And we built a free simple website in 20 minutes, including the time taken to read the instructions. Mind you, we did have some prewritten content that we used, and we have added to the website since then. This website has a blog, news page, an online shop, who we are, contact page, photo album, video album, calender of events, members (if you want them) and a forum, and many more applications you can add...all free! You can add just about anything else you wish, and delete the pages you dont want. Have a look. All free! http://www.aboutspider.webs.com/ If you are selling a product such as wallaby teats, or a PDF eBook, entitled something like "The Genetic Impacts of Cannabilism in Redback Spiders" you only need three pages, a Home Page, a Salespage with info about your product, and your Online Shop page with your Paypal link. It's very simple and very easy! You'll notice we used some free photos from the Internet, later we'll replace them with our own photos, and probably upgrade even later on to a paid hosting..its only $4 a month! If you have never built a website before, go to the "Building your Website!" page at http://www.aboutspider.webs.com/ and read it, or if you already know about building websites, go straight to http://www.webs.com and get started now! Everyone needs their own website, and this is so easy, and costs nothing! Build one, then build another.....soon you can have a stable of wildlife websites! *WPAA

Kangaroo Campaign Fundraiser

"An Afternoon with Australian Icons" Sunday 23rd May 2010 3 -6pm, Revesby Workers Club, 2b Brett St, Revesby, Sydney. A fundraiser effort to raise much needed funds to save our kangaroos. The event will be a wonderful afternoon of singing, dancing, music, speeches, auctioning as well as a great opportunity to get together and celebrate our united front to save our kangaroos. For more details contact Nikki Sutterby, Co Ordinator, Australian Society for Kangaroos, PO Box 524 Castlemaine Vic 3450, PH: 0417354408


A gang of people in Indonesia have poisoned an endangered Sumatran elephant, removed its tusks, chopped up its body and dumped it in a river. The killing of the 15-year-old male was carried out on an oil palm plantation in the Tamiang Hulu area of Aceh province last month by more than 10 people, wildlife officers told AFP. "An eyewitness said after the tusks were removed, the elephant was cut up to pieces and then thrown into the river," said one. Conflict between humans and animals are a rising problem in the massive archipelago as forests are destroyed for timber or to make way for palm oil, forcing animals such as elephants and tigers into closer contact with people. There are about 2400 to 2800 Sumatran elephants in Indonesia, according to environmentxal group WWF. They are the smallest of the Asian elephants. *News.com.au

Flying Foxes

Geelong's hunting association president says claims of protected flying foxes being shot at Lake Connewarre are part of a set-up by conservationists. Geelong Gun and Rod Association president Mick Veitch said yesterday he believed duck hunters were not responsible for a number of grey-headed flying foxes allegedly found shot to death in the gaming reserve in recent weeks. Mr Veitch said the Victorian Advocates for Animals were using false evidence in a bid to oust legitimate hunters from the area. "My point of view is this was a set-up by the greenies," he said. "We don't shoot protected species. I have no doubt that someone has done this elsewhere and brought these bats to the area."

Mr Veitch dismissed the suggestion that hunters may have shot the flying foxes either deliberately or by mistaking them for birds. "They wouldn't be shot by recreational duck hunters, because there's no point to it," he said. "If you've ever seen a flying fox fly, you know what it looks like." Victorian Advocates for Animals president Lawrence Pope hit back, branding Mr Veitch's claim childish and ridiculous. "That's the kind of deceptive nonsense that is disappointing to hear ... it's offensive and absurd," he said. "The idea that we would do something like that with such an important issue that's close to our hearts is the sort of the thing that just beggars belief. It's outrageous, and (Mr Veitch) owes us an apology." The grey-headed fox is both state and federally protected. The VAFA has repeatedly called on the State Government to close the game reserve to all hunters, to no avail. *Geelong Advertiser

Orchardists are seeking the help of the Orange City Council to rid the district of flying foxes. The bats have been roosting in a park in the city's CBD, flying to nearby orchards at night. One apple grower estimates the pest has destroyed at least $100,000 worth of his fruit. It's now feared that if the bats aren't moved on, this year's cherry crop could be under threat. Peter Darley from the NSW Farmers' Association says orchardists will ask for help at tonight's council meeting. "Tonight a councillor will present a motion which looks at removing the flying foxes from Cook Park. "That bats are still attacking fruit. "They have established themselves in the park and I think they're becoming acclimatised. "That's a concern. "If the flying foxes, stay they'll start attacking the cherry crops in spring." *ABC

Residents bordering Bielsdown Park Dorrigo have had enough after six weeks of smell, continuous noise and sleepless nights due to the invasion of a flying-fox colony that took up residence in the park in March. A Bielsdown Park residents meeting was held recently to discuss the flying fox problem, provide a united voice of concern and call for action by relevant authorities. Occasionally flying-foxes have foraged in the park but this is the first time a colony, estimated at 4000 flying-foxes, has decided to call the normally peaceful Bielsdown Park home. March and April is breeding season for the grey-headed flying-fox which has contributed to the constant screeching, squabbling and squawking that has filled the air for up to 20 hours each day since early March. With male flying-foxes busy selecting territory and protecting their ‘harems’, they are unaware of the significant impact their presence is making on the residents whose properties border Bielsdown Park.

The well attended residents meeting saw lively discussion and positive actions being agreed upon. A ‘call-for-action’ request has been submitted to Bellingen Council and the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) asking the authorities to develop a plan of action to ensure Bielsdown Park does not become an established flying fox camp. The meeting acknowledged that the grey-headed flying-fox is a protected species and correct protocols must be adhered to. It is expected the flying-foxes will vacate the park during the cold of winter. The residents are hoping that Bellingen Council & NPWS can develop an effective action plan to deter the flying-foxes from returning to Bielsdown Park so the significant problems endured over the past six weeks will not be repeated. *Bellingen Courier

Deadly virus warning as flying foxes on the move, extraordinary numbers of flying foxes have prompted a warning to horse owners to watch out for signs of the deadly Hendra virus. Recent mass movements of large flying fox colonies mean owners should be especially vigilant, the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) says. Wet weather in some parts of the country has caused flying foxes to take to the air to find food in new areas, the association says. "Anyone working with horses should be on the lookout and immediately report any suspected cases of Hendra virus infection over the coming months," AVA vice-president Barry Smyth said in a statement. Common symptoms include respiratory distress, frothy nasal discharge, elevated body temperature (above 40 degrees), and rapid heart rate.

But Dr Smyth said it was important to realise there were no specific signs of infection. Since 1994, Hendra virus has been confirmed in 40 horses and seven humans, the AVA says. All the horses either died or were destroyed and four of the people died. The Hendra infection had so far been restricted to Queensland and NSW, but the disease could strike wherever there were flying foxes, Dr Smyth said. An influx of more than 130,000 flying foxes into Victoria was confirmed by scientists just last week, he said. Protective measures include placing feed and water under cover where possible, not placing feed and water under trees when flying foxes are in the area, not using feed that might attract flying foxes (such as fruit and vegetables).

Where possible horses should be removed from fields where flying foxes are active, and trees where flying foxes roost should be fenced off, Dr Smyth said. All the cases of human infection with Hendra virus had been the result of very close contact with infected horses, he said. "The risk can be greatly reduced by adopting good hygiene practices as a matter of routine and taking increased precautions around any sick horse," Dr Smyth said. There is no specific treatment for Hendra virus infection in horses. *News.com.au

Authorities have finally found a fox in Tasmania. But it is not the chicken-munching variety that eradication officers are chasing. A young flying fox was found dead in netting around an apple tree in a Sandy Bay backyard yesterday morning. It is the first grey-headed flying fox to be found in Tasmania in more than 50 years. "The flying fox or mega-bat is capable of flying the distance between Melbourne and Tasmania," Department of Primary Industry, Parks, Water and Environment senior zoologist Michael Driessen said. "Although there is always the possibility it may have hitched a ride on board a shipping container." In total, 10 flying foxes have been found in Tasmania since records were taken.

The first was found on King island in 1938. Only three have made it to mainland Tasmania – yesterday's find in Sandy Bay, another washed up at Eaglehawk Neck in 1951 and another at Woodbridge in 1946. "It was only a young bat and I am assuming she was female, due to the lack of certain bodily features," Mr Driessen said. "It is a shame she was not alive. Flying foxes are very rare in Tasmania and are a very interesting mammal." Tasmania's endemic bats, microbats, grow to be only about seven to 20 grams. The flying fox or fruit bat, however, can weigh up to 1kg. The bats sleep during the day and feed on pollen, nectar and fruit at night. The flying fox has been associated with the hendra virus and the little mammals can also bite. "If anyone sees a flying fox in Tasmania we would certainly like to know about it," Mr Driessen said. "People should not handle the bat but contact DPIPWE on 6233 3751." *Mercury

Formation of the Australian Alliance For Native Animal Survival (AAFNAS)

Today marks an historic development in the relationship between Australia’s First Peoples, our shared country and all our unique flora and fauna. This morning in Canberra, the Australian Alliance For Native Animal Survival (AAFNAS) was officially constituted at a meeting of Indigenous representatives from around the country. After voting on the constitution and charter and ratification of the committee – Eric Craigie (President), Ray Ferguson (Vice-President), Glenda Wenck (Secretary) and George Dingo (Treasurer) – founding President Eric Robert Craigie said: ‘Today is the beginning of a new era of consultation between the original guardians of our land and government and institutional decision makers. The formation of AAFNAS will provide us with the opportunity to influence future policy for Australia’s unique flora and fauna.’

The concept of AAFNAS was born in Canberra on 10th November 2008 in response to the continuing massacres of landlocked kangaroos in the ACT without consultation with the Indigenous/Aboriginal peoples and local communities, and the arrest and prosecution of six Aboriginal people who were performing a smoking and healing ceremony. Since European arrival in 1788 far too many species of mammals, birds and plants have become extinct. This destruction of animals and land continues at a relentless speed.

The aims of AAFNAS are: To educate the Australian and international communities about our unique native flora and fauna. This includes the Aboriginal concepts of caring for country, natural resources and all life past, present and future.* To link Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians and international supporters to work together to help native species and their carers both locally and nationally.* To tap into the ancient and intimate knowledge held by the Aboriginal people and build a grass roots national organisation.* To re-establish land rights and allocate the resources necessary to establish carers’ centres/safe tracts of land for native species along the dreaming tracks.

Eric Craigie concluded by inviting other Indigenous groups to join with AAFNAS and become a unified voice for our land and our future. Press Release..... AAFNAS


Animal welfare groups have banded together to oppose a renewed export trade in possum meat and hides. The State Government has submitted a plan to the Federal Government for approval that would allow more than 100,000 brushtail possums a year to be killed and processed for overseas sale. Against Animal Cruelty Tasmania, wildlife carers and the Tasmanian Conservation Trust yesterday added their voices to the RSPCA's in expressing concerns over the plan. "Possums will not be shot in the field but will be trapped and transported long distances before they are slaughtered," AACT spokesman Chris Simcox said. "No code of practice can stop these naturally shy, nocturnal wild animals suffering from deprivation of food and water during up to 48 hours of captivity, extremes of temperature, strange noises and exposure to bright lights," he said. "AACT and its supporters are completely against commercial use of wild animals."

Peter Power of Wildlife Tasmania said thousands of baby possums would end up being killed or given to overburdened carers. "Wildlife carers are sick of shooters and trappers expecting them to care for joeys taken from their mothers. Each animal costs about $250 a year to rehabilitate," he said. "People who earn money out of killing possums should be made to contribute to the cost." More than 300,000 possums are estimated to have been killed in Tasmania last year but possum products have not been exported since 2004, when the last management plan expired. The Tasmanian Conservation Trust said the State Government was claiming a trade would prevent the waste of culled possums and would assist farming and forestry operations.

"The truth is that wallabies are a far bigger problem for farmers and it's unlikely exporters will target areas where forestry companies are establishing plantations," TCT director Peter McGlone said. "We will see an enormous increase in the numbers of possums killed with little or no reduction in the amount of culling by forestry companies and farmers." There has been criticism of Tasmania's Game Management Liaison Committee, which has no animal welfare groups but includes hunting, farming, sporting shooter and hound dog groups. *Mercury

Eradication plan ruffles a few feathers

Ulverstone resident David Spicer is waging his own David and Goliath battle with the Central Coast Council which plans to poison the galahs he loves. Having studied the birds with keen interest for many years, he said the galahs could not possibly cause the damage the council has suggested. "They say they are damaging trees to the extent a limb is going to fall out and hit someone on the head. "This is ludicrous," he said. Mr Spicer said large holes in lawn areas attributed to the birds were likely caused by rabbits. "And bandicoots too, they'd do far more damage. Is the council going to kill them, a highly endangered and protected species?" He said the council had overlooked the fact that black cockatoos also use the parks and would contribute to the damage. "Still damage doesn't constitute mass murder," he said. "Plant more trees."

At the same time every day for the past 20 years, a flock of up to 120 birds has congregated at Mr Spicer's home. Human interference has been suggested as a reason for the increase of the galah population, which has led to significant damage to native trees. "I am not feeding them as such, I do not have food for them all day, every day. It is a feed supplement," he said. "The rest of the time they are off fossicking like normal." Mr Spicer said the only time the flock comes together is when he gives them a two- litre ice-cream container of seed. "I have counted 80 birds and I think that's pretty accurate," he said. "But the rest of the time they spread far and wide. This is the only time they're all together." Mr Spicer's answer to the council's problem is to replace the "so called" damaged trees. "You can't replace these birds once you kill them," he said. * Advocate.com.au

Preston Beach Kangaroos

By the time you read this story, 100 western grey kangaroos may have been shot dead and processed for pet meat in a controversial Department of Environment and Conservation-sanctioned cull at Preston Beach Golf Club. Last month the Shire of Waroona received a DEC cull licence with an expiry date of June 30 but letters to Preston Beach residents from Shire CEO Ian Curley said a licensed shooter would conduct the “reduction” between 5pm and 2am from May 1-16. Murray-Wellington MLA Murray Cowper criticised the cull saying a reduction of 100 roos would make no difference to the marsupials population explosion at Yalgorup National Park adjacent to the unfenced golf course. “Australia has been critical of the Japanese for whaling in our southern oceans but they say it is for research purposes. We can be accused of killing kangaroos so we can play golf,” Mr Cowper said.

Mr Cowper said he would happily take a submission to the Royalties for Regions Regional Grants Scheme to help fund a fence to keep the animals off the golf course. Preston Beach petitioner and DEC-registered wildlife carer Trish Brown said she and others locals, who didn’t want to reveal their identities due to claims of harassment by cull supporters, still planned to hold protests during the two-week cull period. “I’ll be there with my pots and pans scaring the kangaroos away, I’ll keep fighting,” Mrs Brown said. “That these roos are a danger to the public is a fabrication and completely unproven,” Mrs Brown said. * My Community

Kangaroo Cull Suspended

A kangaroo slaughter at Preston Beach golf club in Western Australia that has divided a community has been called off by authorities. Local residents at Preston Beach Western Australia are in shock after a kangaroo cull at their local golf club on Wednesday night turned into a massacre leaving scores of kangaroos and joeys dead and maimed on their doorstep. “On the night of the kill, Preston Beach residents desperately tried to herd kangaroos off the golf course and into the national park where they thought they would be safe. However residents stood in disbelief as shooters illegally entered the national park and relentlessly began shooting inside it.”, said Nikki Sutterby, Co- ordinator, Australian Society for Kangaroos.

“The next day residents woke to find pools of blood and scores of injured kangaroos and joeys in the national park. A local resident found a decapitated joey laying on the ground and pools of blood and tyre tracks on the walking path in the national park. Gina who has lived with and cared for these kangaroos for years ran out of her house when she heard the shooting and pleaded with the shooters to stop, but they continued to shoot in front of her. She found a joey whose leg had been shattered, possibly from a gun shot. Its mother was dead. There were reports of kangaroos with leg and body wounds and ears and faces shot off”, said Ms Nikki Sutterby, Co-Ordinator, Austalian Society for Kangaroos.

West Australian Government officials were called immediately and arrived at the scene in a helicopter. The shooting was suspended pending an investigation and RSPCA officials spent today investigating the scene. “If the shooters are found guilty of shooting in a national park they will face serious criminal charges as well as crimes under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act”, said Ms Sutterby.. Media release, Australian Society for Kangaroos

Read more about the Preston Beach kangaroos.......http://candobetter.org/node/1989

PEOPLE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE MASSACRE, Waroona Shire Council, Ph: (08) 9733 7800, Fax: (08) 9733 1883, Email: warshire@waroona.wa.gov.au

Department Environment and Conservation http://www.dec.wa.gov.au/component/option,com_contact/task,view/contact_id,13/Itemid,730/ Preston Beach Golf Club 08) 9739 1247/ 0439 690 711

Well, I guess it’s been drawn out longer than a politicians promise but it looks like it will happen or may have already been carried out. It’s very sad when a cull of 100 kangaroos which are part of our national symbol and unique to Australia has to be carried out. Yes, it’s true its none of our business and the decision is in the hands of the Waroona Shire Council and the residents of Preston Beach. However, this is quite a large cull and if it’s carried out by shooting it will be very distressing to the young kangaroos. No matter how professional the people may be who will carry this out joeys in the pouch will become distressed. Our kangaroo is a beautiful gentle animal and unless cornered by dogs or fitted out with boxing gloves by some idiot they are peaceful. Yes, its true they do live in large numbers on the golf courses but except for a lot of whoopsies I don’t know what the golfers are getting so excited about. Everyone who hits a ball is playing on the same surface which incidentally is not that good and nothing to do with the ‘roos. The answer maybe instead of culling the ‘roos, which were here even before Captain Cook is to hold a few chook raffles and put a fence right alongside the National Park. You will only need about a million dollars as the park and the kangaroos were there first. Preston Beach and the people is a great place which I am fortunate to visit on a regular basis. As a Mandurah resident my message to you is to enjoy your ‘roos. Love the kookaburras being fed on your arm because as you expand one day it will all be gone. Charlie, Letter to Mandurah Mail


A Japanese government study has found that the residents of a village whose slaughter of dolphins featured in an Oscar-winning film have dangerously high mercury levels. But the villagers are being told there is no need for them to change their diet. The study involved the testing of more than 1,000 people in Taiji, the Japanese village whose killing of dolphins was graphically shown in the Oscar-winning documentary The Cove. It found that mercury concentrations in residents are four times the national average. One of the scientists involved in the study says the results suggest that there is a connection between mercury levels and the residents' diet of dolphin and whale meat. But at a meeting in Taiji the townsfolk were told there was no need to change their diet.

The head of the town council celebrated by eating raw slices of dolphin dipped in soy sauce. The director of The Cove documentary, Louie Psihoyos, says the villagers should stop eating dolphins immediately. "All dolphin meat is toxic," he said. "Mercury is caused naturally in the environment. "It starts at the lowest end of the food chain, so it basically just accumulates up the food chain. So at the very highest levels, these animals like dolphins and whales become swimming toxic dump sites." *ABC

The State's Chief Scientist has released her report into the sudden deaths of a quarter of the Swan River's dolphin population. Six Bottlenose dolphins were found dead in the River in the five months to November last year. The Chief Scientist Lynn Beazley was called in to examine the deaths. She has found three died from ulcerative skin lesions caused by a virus, one had a fungal infection to its brain and the fifth died from broncho-pneumonia. Professor Beazley says the dolphins appeared to have died after an inflow of fresh water from heavy rainfall in winter and spring. *ABC

Australia Amongst Worst Polluters

A new study ranks Australia among the top 10 worst environmental offenders in the world. Researchers from Australia and overseas have sized up more than 150 countries on land clearing, carbon emissions and species loss. They say the findings dispel the view that poorer countries are mainly to blame for trashing the environment. The study aimed to take a big-picture look at how humans are changing the natural environment around them. Researchers from the University of Adelaide, the National University of Singapore and Princeton University pulled together figures from various sources, including the United Nations. The first list ranks impact on a global scale. Large-scale land clearing in Brazil puts that country at the top, while Australia is ninth. Professor Corey Bradshaw from the University of Adelaide says too much damage has been done to the continent since European settlement.

"Basically the richer you get the more damage you do," he said. "We have some of the highest per-capita water use and some of the highest per-capita carbon emissions. We also have the world record for modern mammal extinctions, mainly due to invasive species but also habitat loss. "So there's quite a bit of damage we've done to the Australian continent. For example, since European colonisation we've lost over half of our forests and the ones that remain are largely fragmented, so we have done quite a bit of damage." But Australia did much better on the second ranking, which is proportional, comparing the amount of available resources and the rate of loss.

Australia comes in at 120. The heavily urbanised city state of Singapore is at number one. "I think anyone who has been to Singapore wouldn't be terribly surprised by that result - I mean it's a very small country - it's mostly urbanised and any green spaces left are essentially manicured parks," Professor Bradshaw said. The researchers say their study dispels a long-held idea that countries become more environmentally aware as they get wealthier. Professor Bradshaw says it is based on what is known as the Kuznets curve. "It hypotheses that as a poor country starts to develop, it increases its environmental footprint," he said. "Then at some threshold of per-capita wealth it gains access to cleaner technologies. It has more educated public. It gets an environmental self-consciousness, if you will.

"At that point the total environmental impact should start to decline with increasing per capita wealth. "It's a very controversial thing because it depends which metrics you look at, but we found absolutely no evidence for it in either the proportional or absolute metric." Professor Bradshaw says the study provides a rationale for easing consumption. "Australia has a lot to learn certainly in terms of our consumption rates," he said. "That was definitely the aspect that pushed us into that worst position, because we do have such high consumption and... we're a very wealthy country so we tend to live to excess." *ABC

Britain's rarest wild flower is to be protected by extra police patrols to stop it being stolen when it flowers this month. The Lady's Slipper orchid at Silverdale Golf Course in Carnfoth, Lancashire, is the last remaining flowering plant in the country. Although experts have tried to re-introduce the purple and yellow bloom in other areas, none of them have flowered, reports the Daily Telegraph. Lancashire Police is now mounting a three-pronged defence of the flower amid concerns thieves may strike in May or June when the plant flowers. Officers have been ordered to ensure the safety of the orchid by including it in their routine foot patrols, meaning they will pass it every hour or so. Police will also tag the 100-year-old orchid with a coded security mark so that anyone who tries to sell a cutting to wildflower collectors can be caught.

The force is also considering spending thousands of pounds on CCTV cameras to keep a 24-hour watch on the orchid, which is protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. PC Tony Marsh, beat manager for the area, told Police Review: "We will be doing passing patrols, putting up deterrent notices, warning people about the offences and (asking them) to report any suspicious activity." Last June a thief took a cutting from the plant, leaving it with just six flowers, and in 2004 a collector tried to dig up the entire plant by its roots, but managed to get away with just a part of the plant. PC Marsh added: "The biggest threat is collectors. When flowers were taken last year, we think purely just to press and put in a book, the value on the crime report was thousands of pounds." *WebOrange.co.uk

Queensland kangaroo harvesters could be on the verge of re-entry to the lucrative Russian game meat market after the successful trial of ground-breaking time temperature monitoring technology in western Queensland. The kangaroo harvesting industry has been in turmoil since the collapse of the Russian market in July 2009 and the subsequent introduction of new regulations by Safefood Queensland that all mobile and stationary field depots must have time temperature monitoring technology 24 hours a day. With the technology not yet available in Australia, Tom and Sharyn Garrett of the Maranoa Kangaroo Harvesters and Growers Cooperative, decided to look further afield. Since July last year, the Garretts have been working with the Australian representatives of the German based company, Euroscan, which specialises in providing time temperature monitoring in the European Union (EU) cold chain.

Last week, the Euroscan CEO Ron Quaedvlieg and export manager Shiraz Gulamali traveled to Amby in Western Queensland to review the work that has been done to perfect a system for the game meat industry in Queensland. The system uses the mobile phone network to send information to a central website about each field site and mobile harvesting depot. It relays information every three minutes such as the location of the site and any temperature parameters set for the cold room such as the deep muscle temperature of carcasses and the ambient temperature of the cold room. It also monitors and relays information on when the doors of the cold room were opened and the length of time that they remained open. Mr Garrett said last Tuesday’s meeting was very positive and he was confident the technology would stand up to scrutiny from Safefood Queensland.

“This device actually works and it meets the requirements set by Safefood Queensland and the only thing left now is for the industry and Safefood to get behind it,” he said. “We have been talking to Euroscan and the company that distributes Euroscan products in Australia, SCA, about the Maranoa Kangaroo Harvesters and Growers Cooperative acting as an agent to sell these devices to the industry and that has been agreed upon which is very exciting for the local cooperative.” SCA managing director Mark Mitchell attended the meeting at Amby last week and said the technology was a great fit for the game meat industry. “We had been doing some work on other temperature monitoring procedures when Tom Garrett contacted us and what pricked his ear about our system is that the data is all recorded online and a lot of the features in the monitoring and recording process are automatic,” he said.

“This has several advantages in that it makes it easier for the harvesters to comply because it’s all automatic yet it still ensures we have that quality assurance.” Safefood Queensland project officer Andrew Wilson confirmed Safefood Queensland was now trialling the technology and said it could be the key to regaining access to the Russian market. “We have an opportunity here to move the whole wild game industry forward with regard to food safety and I think work like this would go a long way towards opening both new and old markets,” he said. “The work they have been doing certainly delivers what we are looking for with regard to time and temperature recording, traceability and food safety.” *Qld Country life

Ed Comment; It doesnt explain how they will maintain optimum temperatures in old dilapidated chiller boxes, before delivery to a processing plant, or how to overcome the up to two weeks or so the bodies have to hang in the remote area chiller boxes, and then spend 4 weeks sitting in a Coles or Woolworths supermarket waiting for the use by-date to expire!


As part of the largest captive-bred release of its kind in the state, 44 critically endangered regent honeyeaters will be released into the wild tomorrow. The birds - all banded and 25 of them boasting ''mini backpacks'' containing a radio transmitter for researchers to track their travels - are part of a national recovery program designed to boost the species' declining numbers. Listed as nationally endangered, wild regent honeyeaters number fewer than 1000 in Australia, with just 100 found in Victoria. Their numbers have declined because of land clearing, food scarcity due to drought and competition from more aggressive species. It is hoped the 44 captive-bred birds will breed with the wild population and deepen the species' gene pool. Read more http://www.theage.com.au/environment/backpackbearing-honeyeaters-on-a-mission-to-boost-numbers-20100510-uosl.html

Tasmanian Forestry

A coalition of forestry heavyweights has held an emergency meeting to discuss the timber industry crisis. The group intends to pressure the state and federal governments for a forestry assistance package and, in a startling twist, it wants conservation groups to help steer the future of the forestry industry. Members agreed there needed to be a radical shift in forest practices. The industry leaders agreed on the need for immediate action to support forest contractors reeling from a combination of the global financial crisis, the high Australian dollar, a downturn in woodchip exports and the collapse of managed investment schemes. Read more http://www.themercury.com.au/article/2010/05/10/145131_tasmania-news.html

Gulf Oil Spill Update

A German biologist says that efforts to clean oil-drenched birds in the Gulf of Mexico are in vain. For the birds' sake, it would be faster and less painful if animal-rescue workers put them under, she says. Studies and other experts back her up. "Kill, don't clean," is the recommendation of a German animal biologist, who this week said that massive efforts to clean oil-soaked birds in Gulf of Mexico won't do much to stop a near certain and painful death for the creatures. Despite the short-term success in cleaning the birds and releasing them back into the wild, few, if any, have a chance of surviving, says Silvia Gaus, a biologist at the Wattenmeer National Park along the North Sea in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein. "According to serious studies, the middle-term survival rate of oil-soaked birds is under 1 percent," Gaus says. "We, therefore, oppose cleaning birds." The oil spill -- which continues to pump more than 200,000 gallons (755,000 liters) of crude into the Gulf each day -- was caused by an April 20 explosion on a BP-operated oil rig about 50 miles off the Louisiana coast. read more http://www.spiegel.de/international/0,1518,693359,00.html

Meanwhile the CBS News reports that an estimated 3.5 million gallons has risen from the depths since the April 20 explosion that killed 11, a pace that would surpass the total spilled in the Exxon Valdez disaster by Father's Day. Read more http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/05/09/national/main6470052.shtml

Fire Management

Fighting fire with fire may not be the best way to protect property and wildlife , experts say. The warning comes from a team of Canberra fire scientists, land managers and ecologists who are calling for a new approach to fire management. In an article published in the journal Conservation Letters this week, ANU fire ecologist Don Driscoll says frequent, widespread burn- offs may not be as protective as is widely believed. He says modelling shows it is not the total area burned that really matters, but the location of the fuel- reduction burns. "It seems that burning within 100m or so of the urban fringe can have a strong protective effect, but randomly located burns have very little or no protective effect, even when a very high proportion of the landscape is burned annually," Dr Driscoll said. "Very frequent burning say, more than once every five or 10 years in eucalypt forests and woodlands can eliminate native species from the area. "So, minimising the area that is frequently burned is a win for biodiversity." Dr Driscoll says the full range of fire management options needs to be employed, rather than focusing exclusively on fuel reduction burns. "There seems to be an ingrained belief that we have to fight fire with fire, but that's only part of the solution," he said. "We need to put all of the options on the table, including fire management, engineering solutions, and social solutions," he said. *Canberra Times

Fraser Island Dingoes

Recently 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 the 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 http://www.fairdinkum-characters.com 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. http://www.animaljusticeparty.org/About_the_AJP.html 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 http://www.animaljusticeparty.org/About_the_AJP.html The animals need you......