Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Wildlife Bytes 20/10/10

Lead Stories

Climate Change

The government has co-opted almost 40 union leaders, business, mining and industry executives, as well as environment groups and charitable organisations, to advise it on climate change policy. The full list, published yesterday, underscores the government's strategy of spreading as far as possible ownership of the policy to put a price on carbon, which is now likely to be decided late next year. While the policy will be devised by the parliamentary Multi-Party Climate Change Committee, comprising Labor, the Greens and independents, the government will take advice from two roundtables. As reported in the Herald recently, the business roundtable will include executives from mining giants such as BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Woodside Petroleum, as well as the National Australia Bank. The full list of 18 includes the chief executive of Qantas, Alan Joyce, the head of Woolworths, Michael Luscombe, and the chairman of Shell Australia, Anne Pickard.

The second roundtable of non-government organisations has 20 members, ranging from Don Henry, head of the Australian Conservation Foundation, to the ACTU president, Ged Kearney, one of five union leaders, Tim Costello of World Vision and Tim Flannery, representing the Coast and Climate Change Council. Like the Climate Change Committee, the roundtables will meet once a month until the end of next year with the aim of developing support among their constituencies. The NGO roundtable will advise on compensation needed for households and on jobs that could be created. The business roundtable will advise on business and economic impacts.

Since the Senate twice defeated the emissions trading scheme and deferred it during the last term, the Gillard government has been determined to build a wide consensus before legislating. It has left open the options of an emissions trading scheme, a carbon tax and a hybrid. Under a yet-to-be-declared strategy, the government aims to have a policy operational by mid 2012, well before the next election, due in mid to late 2013. The plan is that people will become accustomed to the scheme, as they did the GST, and there will be little desire to revoke it come the election. By enlisting the services of so many third parties, the government also plans to isolate the Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, who again yesterday was railing against a carbon price as an impost on the cost of living. *Age

WA's Freshwater Fish Disappearing

WA's freshwater fish are dying. An unprecedented investigation of the State's lakes reveals nearly 60 per cent contain no native species. The year-long survey by the Department of Fisheries and National Resource Management covered from Geraldton to Busselton and east to Northam, looking at the fish bio- diversity of 114 lakes. Only 50 lakes contained any native fish. Department scientist Craig Lawrence said the findings were alarming, particularly because of the large number of feral fish which have been partly blamed for the rapid native decline. Loss of habitat because of urban sprawl and the drying up of nearly half the lakes were also blamed. "For the first time we are getting a clear picture of the situation and the results are concerning," Dr Lawrence said. With native fish a major source of food for recreational fishing species and keeping down insect populations such as mosquitoes, the department will look at breeding native fish for restocking. "These are the species that control Ross River virus and, in the future, dengue fever, and they are also the basis of the food chain," Dr Lawrence said. "It would be very hard to have a recreational marron industry if there was no food for the marron." Only 9 per cent of the lakes contained exclusively native fish species, 66 per cent had introduced freshwater species and 12 per cent had no fish.

The same source reports that WA's most endangered animals have for the first time been ranked according to their likelihood of extinction. The list compiled for The West Australian by the newly formed Threatened Species Council reveals how close some animals are to being lost for ever. The rankings look at population size and the likelihood of survival based on threats from predators, disease and the encroachment of urban sprawl on habitats. Frogs, turtles, birds and mammals all feature on the list of 16 animals, with the Gilbert's potoroo, which is found only on the south coast, ranked as the species most likely to disappear, with fewer than 100 left in the wild. Classifications from critically endangered through to vulnerable are based on the International Union for Conservation of Nature rankings. Environment Minister Donna Faragher established the council to address the near-600 threatened species of flora and fauna around WA. She said several WA agencies were conducting research into endangered species and the council would help make their work more effective. "There are a range of reasons why we have species that are threatened, whether it is through habitat loss, feral pests or disease, we don't always know all of the science behind it and that is why we need these agencies to be doing that research," she said. Mrs Faragher said there was no guarantee that the species on the list would be around in 10 years, but her department and other agencies had made a significant commitment towards ensuring they were. Department of Environment and Conservation director-general Keiran McNamara, who chairs the council, said monitoring the abundance of many species on the list was often difficult because of their small size, low numbers, and cryptic behaviour. Mr McNamara said fox-baiting had helped some threatened species but in some cases it let cats in as predators. *WA Now


At the BioDiversity Conference which opened this week in Japan, UN officials issued a global warning that the rapid loss of animal and plant species that has characterized the past century must end if humans are to survive. Delegates in Nagoya plan to set a new target for 2020 for curbing species loss, and will discuss boosting medium-term financial help for poor countries to help them protect their wildlife and habitats. "Business as usual is no more an option for mankind," the CBD executive secretary said in his opening statements. "We need a new approach, we need to reconnect with nature and live in harmony with nature into the future." We dont think that will happen any time soon. Our new Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke didnt even attend the Conference. A new assessment by the World Wildlife Fund states that the Earth's 6.8 billion humans are effectively living 50 percent beyond the planet's biocapacity in 2007. The report said by 2030 humans will effectively need the capacity of two Earths in order to survive. On another twist, we've heard that Burke has delayed giving the koalas better protection, by saying he wants to review the matter.* WPAA


The United Nations is attempting to negotiate a new international agreement over the next two weeks to stem the increasing loss of biodiversity. More than 190 countries are meeting in Japan, but already there are expectations the conference may not deliver. It is one of the most important meetings since the Kyoto protocol conference in 1997. Scientific studies have revealed a 40 per cent species loss since 1970 and governments globally have failed to meet targets set for 2010. Humane Society International spokeswoman Alexia Wellbelove says Australia can step up and become a world leader in protecting biodiversity. "We really want Australia to wake up to this agenda and the fact that we've got a new government - it's a perfect opportunity," she said. "We've got one of the highest extinction rates in the world, one of the most amazing biodiversity treasures and species. "So it's really time we turn it around and say, 'right, we're going to position ourselves as a world leader and really take some action'." Ms Wellbelove says politicians have forgotten about the importance of biodiversity. Australia's Environment Minister, Tony Burke, is not attending the Nagoya meeting. "Biodiversity has pretty much become the poor cousin to climate change and the political will to this issue has really declined," she said. "The UN wants new more ambitious targets to reduce the loss of animals and plants." *ABC


Badgers are known as one of nature’s shyest creatures – bashful in daylight and wary of humans. But a Macclesfield nurse and her family are being pestered by them for dinner. Debbie Bayley said: "They will come up at 7.30pm and if I haven’t put out some food for them, they’ll actually tap on the window to remind me! "I put out a plate of dog food, dog biscuits, or sometimes peanuts for a treat." Debbie, 43, a health adviser at Macclesfield Hospital, who lives in Furness Vale, High Peak, near Disley, says it all started six months ago. "Something was making the garden light go on, and then our gardener spotted one at the bottom of the garden, so we started putting food out." Then Debbie’s partner David Wilson, 48, a police officer at Macclesfield station, spotted a badger at 3am. She said: From that night they’ve just kept coming – first there was one, then three and just this week we’ve got five. A whole family, with adults and a one-year-old comes right up to our patio window – it’s amazing." Debbie, who is now a member of the Cheshire and Wirral Badger Group, part of the Badger Trust, says it’s extremely rare for a badger, which can eat up to 200 worms night in the wild, to make itself so at home. "They’ll tap on the window, roll on the floor and they’ve marked their territory with a dung pit at the bottom of the garden. It’s mating season now so we hope there’ll be a baby next year." Debbie’s badgers, who have a sett at the bottom of the garden, have become so famous that tourists come from miles to sneak a peek in a special ‘badger watch’ she has set up. "We’ve had a couple from the Isle of Man a couple from Australia, and lots from nearby towns." Along with her group, Debbie is campaigning against government plans to cull badgers to prevent bovine TB. She said: "Anyone who saw our family of badgers would never have the heart to kill them." If you want to book a spot to see Debbie’s badgers in action, email her at baileysbadgers@hotmail.co.uk. *Manchester Mail

Endosulphan Banned

Australia's pesticides regulator has ended the use of a chemical banned in more than 60 other countries. The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) announced on Tuesday that agricultural products containing the insecticide endosulfan are now no longer registered. The three current approvals for endosulfan have also been cancelled, and the five products containing the chemical will be phased out over the next two years. This follows a federal government department's assessment which found the spray drift and run-off from prolonged use of endosulfan was harmful to the environment. The study concluded long-term risks could not be mitigated through restrictions on use or variations to label instructions. APVMA says risks to human health were not a factor in its decision to end the use of the chemical. The United States ended all uses of the insecticide in June after its environmental authorities accepted it could cause nerve damage and reproductive complications in farm workers and is a hazard to wildlife. WWF has welcomed APVMA's decision but are critical of the association for not acknowledging human health risks. "Endosulfan is a very nasty poison but there are many other dangerous pesticides still posing unacceptable risks to Australian farmers and wildlife," WWF Australia spokeswoman Juliette King said. "We need better processes to ensure the faster removal of pesticides when they are known to be dangerous." Ms King said the APVMA has been reviewing the safety of at least eight dangerous chemicals for more than 13 years while they remain on shelves. *AAP

Native Pets

New research has found breeding threatened native animals like quolls as pets could become a lucrative industry that would help prevent their extinction. A team of biodiversity researchers has released the study examining the feasibility of a breeding industry for native mammals, focusing on the eastern quoll and mitchell's hopping mouse. Like the northern quoll, which is threatened by the spread of cane toads, the eastern quoll has been all but eradicated on the mainland by predators such as foxes. The study found that breeding native mammals as pets could lead to them replacing domestic cats, which threaten small native animals. A pet breeding program could also help build a greater understanding of the animals' needs. The study recognises that a breeding industry would have to be regulated but as long as keepers are well trained, there should not be any major welfare issues. One of the report's authors, Rosalie Chapple, says she hopes the research leads to more captive breeding programs. "I do have a fair bit of scepticism about it," she said. "I think to have the debate is really good because that in itself has the chance of raising public awareness of the problems of extinction, but to the extent to which a small initiative like this can make a difference to conservation is very questionable." *ABC

Another Dead kangaroo

Police are investigating if a kangaroo found dead with shocking injuries in Wyndham Vale this week was the victim of a sick practical joke. The kangaroo’s broken and battered body was found by residents in a park near the corner of Akoona Way and Paringa Pass, on Monday at 8pm. A wheelie bin with blood on it and a plank of wood with hair and blood on it was found near the kangaroo’s body, police said. Wyndham North Sen-Constable Barry Thorpe said this afternoon that following an anonymous call, police were now investigating whether the body of the badly injured kangaroo was left inside a house nearby as a sick practical joke. He said police believed occupants of the house returned to find the dead kangaroo inside and not knowing what to do, carried it in a wheelie bin to the Wyndham Vale park where it was later found by people living nearby. Police were today trying to contact people believed to be involved, including the person believed to have left the kangaroo at the house. No charges had been laid. Animal Cruelty Hotline investigator Barrie Tapp said an external post mortem conducted this week showed the kangaroo had suffered external head trauma, a broken left leg, grazes and bruises on its head and abdomen, and bleeding from the mouth. The cause of this was inconclusive, he said. He said the female kangaroo was aged less than two years old and would have been dead at least 48 hours. Anyone with information is asked to phone Sen Constable Thorpe on 8734 1100 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000. *WyndhamVale Leader

Dophins and Dugongs

A Senate estimates hearing has been told that military personnel try to move wildlife such as dolphins and dugongs away in the lead up to military exercises in a sensitive marine area. Exercise Talisman Sabre is held every two years at Shoalwater Bay in central Queensland with joint live firing exercises between the Australian and United States defence forces. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority monitors the environmental impact of the exercises. The authority's chairman Russell Reichelt told Greens Senator Scott Ludlam that before they start, big animals like dolphins and dugongs are moved out of the area. "We do actually have people escorting dolphins and marine mammals and so on out of the live firing area," he said. But Senator Ludlam has indicated he believes it is not good enough. "Am I the only one who's finding that faintly ridiculous?" he asked. "What about things that are smaller, like fish or birds or turtles?" *ABC

Introduced Pest Fish

IT has been dubbed the "dance of the fish" by Blanchetown residents, who are witnessing the largest European carp spawn in the River Murray for decades. With Lock 1 now overwhelmed with floodwaters, hundreds of the pest fish launch themselves every minute from the muddy waters, releasing millions of eggs. The latest ritual has exceeded all others in the past decade, most likely because of the high river flows, local fishermen say. South Australian Research and Development Institute scientists have exploited the phenomenon, removing tonnes of carp in traps and using electric shock fishing techniques to catch and tag native fish to study as part of the Murray Darling Basin Authority's native fish strategy. "It is quite a remarkable sight," said kayaker John Wilmshurst, who had paddled from Waikerie. *Adelaide NOw

Meanwhile last month, a giant goldfish that had evaded fishermen for six years, has finally been caught. Fisherman Raphael Biagini, 30, took 10 minutes to reel the giant orange koi carp, which weighs the same as an average three-year-old girl, from a lake in the south of France. The fish, too large for any bowl, is thought to be one of the largest of its kind ever captured. "To begin with, we couldn't tell what was at the end of the line, but we knew it was big," Mr Biagini said. "The fish was a good fighter, but not enough to win." After an impromptu photoshoot, the fisherman from Montpellier returned his prize catch to the water. *Daily Telegraph

Exotic Leather

Swatch Group has responded to an outcry against exotic leather after a Swiss television channel exposed the unacceptable conditions that surround the obtainment of exotic animal leathers.
Schweizer Fernsehen televised a report showing the cruelty of exotic-leather trade in Indonesia. It was revealed that lizards set for slaughtering are often tied up and kept in plastic bags for days while snakes are skinned alive. Other reptiles are supposedly bludgeoned with hammers. In a statement, the executive management of Swatch Group – which has a strict set of ethical guidelines – said it would investigate if any exotic leather was used in its products and if so, would undertake on-site inspections of all its leather suppliers. “Products from such doubtful sources as those described by Swiss television have no place in the Swatch Group product offering,” the company said in a statement. Despite Swatch’s strict stance against exotic leathers, they only constitute a small proportion of the leather in Swatch watches. Nearly 100 per cent of the leather is obtained from controlled animal breeders in the United States. * Jewellery News Magazine

Kangaroo Bashed

An anonymous caller to an animal welfare service could hold the key to solving the bashing death of a kangaroo found bludgeoned in a park on Melbourne's western outskirts. The Animal Cruelty Hotline has been investigating the grisly find in a park near houses in Wyndham Vale, near Werribee. Nearby residents found the body of the kangaroo about 8pm (AEDT) on Monday. Animal Cruelty Hotline investigator Barrie Tapp ordered an autopsy on the battered kangaroo, which he said revealed injuries "consistent with injuries caused by a bashing". A bloodied piece of wood was found beside the body, which is thought to have been dumped at the park. Mr Tapp said an anonymous caller phoned the hotline on Tuesday evening with details of the incident but did not call back as promised. "We want that person to call us back. They left some information that will be of use to us," he said. "We have people of interest and we are confident those people will be caught ... but we'd like to hear from that person again. "Their call will be treated anonymously." Nigel Williamson of Nigel's Animal Rescue was at the scene on Monday night and suggested the body had been there at least 48 hours and may have been taken to the site in an abandoned wheelie bin. Mr Tapp said the culprits must be punished. "It's about time people stood up and dobbed in these bludgers because animal cruelty is just getting out of hand," Mr Tapp said. "The RSPCA and the Animal Cruelty Hotline are both reporting a 10 to 20 per cent increase in incidents this year." Early speculation suggested the kangaroo may have been hit by a car and bludgeoned in a crude and callous attempt to finish off the stricken animal. Anyone with information should phone the Animal Cruelty Hotline on 1800 751 770 or 0409 144 803. *NewsLtd


A crocodile, in position to lunge at a group of people too close to the water's edge, was captured on camera and has made the email rounds across the Territory. The picture on our front page shows the group, which includes a small child, standing at the barrage at Shady Camp - one of the Territory's best-known saltwater croc hot spots - taking happy snaps of the 4.5m saltie. They appear blissfully unaware the croc could easily snap at them. The huge reptile was feeding on fish while the tourists watched on with their feet almost in the water just metres away. "One of them had just told me how crocs can come out of the water at 40km/h," the photographer said. Over and over again people labelled 'croc idiots' surprise with their lack of respect for the huge predators lurking in Territory waters. Earlier this year a woman became infamous after having a dip with crocs at Shady Camp, wearing a pink bikini. In September, a group of women competing in the Secret Women's Business Fishing Challenge at Corroboree billabong got the fright of their lives when a 3m saltie lunged for one of the women in the boat. And at the end of the last wet season several photos emerged showing people climbing on, or even in, baited crocodile traps in rivers and billabongs across the Top End. *NT news

Fraser Island

A controversy is looming over a push by the Fraser Island Aboriginal community to have the tourism hotspot returned to its traditional name, K'gari. The Butchulla/Badtjala people want the World Heritage-listed island to be renamed, replicating the change that turned Ayers Rock into Uluru. But the move has divided island residents and tourism operators, with some fearing the island's international recognition could be lost. The State Government has confirmed it is considering a proposal for dual naming of the island, with Fraser to remain its primary name. The Butchulla people want K'gari which means ``paradise'' and is pronounced Gaarri to come first. They have been supported by the Fraser Island Defenders Organisation and various advisory committees. But Fraser Island Residents Association president David Anderson said he did not see the value in changing the name. ``I think it would affect recognition. If you change it to K'gari, it's not going to mean anything (to the wider public),'' he said.

Europeans named it Fraser Island in honour of Eliza Fraser, who was shipwrecked there in 1836 and claimed she was held captive by Aborigines. However, Butchulla elder Malcolm Burns, 61, co-chair of the island's indigenous advisory committee, said Aborigines had saved Eliza Fraser, and she was a liar who did not deserve remembrance. ``What would you rather? An island named after a liar, or an island named after paradise?'' Mr Burns said. Eliza's story, which inspired painter Sidney Nolan and author Patrick White, highlights the conflict between white and black history. Eliza was beached with her husband, Captain James Fraser, and crew after their ship, the Stirling Castle, sank en route to Singapore. She was taken in by Aboriginal women, stripped and painted, forced to nurse the children, dig for roots and source honey, and witnessed the spearing death of her husband.

When she was eventually rescued, Eliza went on to embellish her story to English audiences before lapsing into obscurity. ``To us she was a liar,'' Mr Burns said. ``She said our ancestors were cannibals and treated her inhumanely. But they helped her, they saved her ... because she couldn't handle the harsh environment. ``When she went to England, she conned the aristocracy and made a fortune telling her lies.'' Fraser Coast Regional Council Mayor Mick Kruger said he understood the argument for K'gari but said ``it's known as Fraser Island all over the world''. But anthropologist Dr Annie Ross, a cultural adviser on the island's scientific advisory committee, supports the change. ``When Europeans name something and take away the traditional name, it disempowers the traditional people, it takes away all the knowledge associated with that name and place,'' Dr Ross said. *Qld Sunday Mail

On the 3rd, 4th and 5th of November, photographer Jennifer Parkhurst, whose home was raided early one morning earlier this year by Qld Parks and Wildlife goons, faces the Supreme Court in Maryborough for photographing the Fraser Island dingoes. They confiscated most of her belongings, including her paintings, photographs, personal documents, even the Government documents legally obtained under FOI. She faces 44 charges of "interfering with the dingoes", and faces fines of up to $300,000 or four years jail. Jennifer was instumental in bringing public attention to the horrific mis-management of the dingoes, and the criminal procceedings are believed by most people to be a form of "payback" by the Queensland Government. If anyone in the area could be at the Court in Maryborough to offer Jennifer some support, it would be very welcome. *WPAA

Flood Aftermath

Stagnant floodwater from recent heavy rain in Victoria is now poisoning some of the river systems in the state's north-west. The black tide is killing off tens of thousands of native fish. Tim Betts was shocked when the Wakool River, which runs through his farm near Swan Hill, turned black. He noticed hundreds of small fish with their mouths out of the water gasping for oxygen. But he was devastated when huge Murray Cod started floating to the surface.. "It was like you were in the middle of your worst nightmare. They were floating, lining the banks. They were everywhere," he said. "The place started to stink." Locals are now wondering if there are any live fish left in the Wakool River between Barham and Swan Hill. Thousands suffocated when floodwaters from the Murray River, which turned black and toxic in wetlands, flowed into the Wakool system, removing oxygen from the water. Farmers say while it was a natural occurrance, water authorities could have lessened the impact.

The Wakool River, which runs adjacent to the Murray, is pitch black for 200 kilometres. Locals say they pleaded with the Murray Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) to quickly release some of its environmental water. But farmer John Lolicato says it waited too long. "The MDBA has got a huge parcel of enivronmental water. The simple fact is that no-one was prepared to release it," he said. Tracey Forde's family usually showers and washes up in water from the Wakool. "We can't do that. It's toxic. It is like black oil," she said. "It smells and everything is dying in it, so there's no way we are going to wash in it. So we have to buy water," she said. Tim Betts brought a ute load of fish over from his farm to show locals at Barham. Mr Betts believes the fish kill is another example of the Murray Darling Basin Authority being out of its depth and failing to listen to locals. "Step back and take a look at yourselves," he said. "Look at this river system and appreciate it for what it is, and just don't let she'll be right attitude go. Lets do something now." The Murray Darling Basin Authority says it did act on local concerns and sent water down the Wakool, but it took at least a week to reach the worst area. *ABC Ed Comment; Its not just Victoria, we found dozens of dead bass in previously flooded areas in Brisbane, some stuck in trees that had gone underwater.

New Coal Gas Contamination

The State Government has ordered immediate testing on a Coal Seam Gas (CSG) project in southern Queensland after another contamination scare. Traces of banned carcinogenic chemicals have been found in eight exploration wells in the Surat basin during routine tests by Australia Pacific LNG. The company has Australia's largest CSG reserves. Queensland Environment Minister Kate Jones says she is waiting for more tests before she takes any action. "The company advised me that there is no evidence of environmental harm," she said. "However they are undertaking further testing and I have asked that that testing be undertaken by an independent service provider." Ms Jones says the company has acted responsibly by coming forward to report the contamination. "I'm pleased that Australia Pacific LNG gave the Government a briefing on the small levels of detection," she said. "We are expecting to see the testing results this week. "Once we have those results that will be able to confirm whether there has been any environmental harm." In July, an Underground Coal Gasification project in the South Burnett was suspended after similar chemicals were detected in farm water supplies. Environmentalist Drew Hutton says the latest contamination scare is more proof these projects are harmful and dangerous. "This process has gone wrong," he said. "There should not be those chemicals in the fluids that are coming up from the wells and the fact that it's in 8 wells shows there's some sort of pattern going on here. "We need to get to the bottom of it and if somebody has done the wrong thing then they need to be held to account for it." *ABC

Climate Change

International marine scientists say the worst coral bleaching in more than a decade has struck reefs across the South-East Asian and Indian oceans in recent months. They say that the coral death could be the most damaging bleaching event ever recorded. It has hit the area known as the Coral Triangle, which has more than 500 coral species making it the richest marine biodiversity zone on the planet. But over the past six months, there have been some significant changes. Andrew Baird, from the ARC Centre for Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, says the bleaching is far-reaching. "A lot of reports have come in from the Andaman Sea - so Thailand down [to] Singapore, Malaysia - the scale is huge," he said. "It probably extends from the Western Indian Ocean, right across into the Coral Triangle and also there's bleaching in the Philippines and it's starting to get hot in the Pacific. "So it looks like this event will be as big as the last global bleaching event which was 1998."

Dr Baird has been working in Aceh on the boundary of the Coral Triangle. He says the impact there has been severe. "What we've seen there is a bleaching event that was caused by hot water back in May and what we've documented is about 80 per cent of the Acropora, which is typically the most predominant coral species... are dead," he said. "There's a cyclic event in the Indian Ocean called the Indian Ocean Dipole, which is similar to El Nino events, and [causes] warm water pools in the west of the Indian Ocean. "So this is a natural cyclic event but almost certainly human-induced climate change is increasing the intensity of that event." Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, also from the ARC and the director of the Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland, says it is one of the worst coral bleaching events to hit the South-East Asian region. "It only takes a small change in sea temperature to push coral beyond what they can stand," he said.

"So we've seen, over the past 20 years, repeated assaults on reefs and this one seems to be one that's going to be up there with some of the most severe events seen in the South-East Asian region." "If you look at the satellite sea surface temperature measurements, they're showing that seas are about one to three degrees warmer than the long-term averages for the region. "And that if [the] ocean remains at it for a month or two months, is enough to cause reefs to experience severe coral mortality." Tony Mohr, the manager of the climate change program at the Australian Conservation Foundation, says the same sort of bleaching is happening around the world. "The bleaching that we're seeing right now in the Coral Triangle area is symptomatic of other bleaching events that we've seen in other major reefs around Australia, and around the world," he said. "It's really showing that climate change is not something that's going to happen in the future - it's something that's affecting systems right now.

"In the Coral Triangle area, there are a lot of people who are dependant on the coral to maintain fisheries, and those fisheries support a lot of people for basic sustenance. "Of course it will also have an impact on the species that exist on the corals and there's a lot of different species - it's commonly regarded as the Amazon of the oceans in that area." He says reducing greenhouse gas emissions will help to protect this coral life. "We really need to make sure that we reduce greenhouse gas pollution," he said. "That's the main driver for these bleaching events that are occurring more frequently than they once did. n"That's the main thing that we need to do to protect their future, but we also need to make sure that ocean acidification, another impact of greenhouse gas emissions, is also reduced." *ABC

Interesting Websites

One stop online shop for people who care about animals. Vegan food, household, health, beauty, pets and family. No animal testing or ingredients. http://www.crueltyfreeshop.com.au

Located near Australia Zoo at Beerwah in Queensland, Australia, the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital was opened in March 2004, inspired by the memory of Lyn Irwin (Steve’s mum), who was a pioneer in wildlife care in Queensland. It was her dream to establish a wildlife hospital, and unfortunately this was not realised until after Lyn had passed away. Lyn’s dream now provides a lifeline for nature's innocent victims – her work lives on. http://www.wildlifewarriors.org.au/wildlife_hospital/

Is kangaroo meat "good bush tucker?" http://www.nokangaroomeat.org