Monday, November 8, 2010

Wildlife Bytes 9/11/10

Lead stories

Fraser Island Dingoes

A wildlife photographer who became emotionally attached to a pack of dingoes on Fraser Island and filmed herself feeding them has been fined $40,000 and sentenced to a suspended jail term. Jennifer Louise Parkhurst faced 46 charges under the Nature Conservation Act and Recreation Areas Management Act. The 43-year-old Rainbow Beach woman yesterday pleaded guilty in Maryborough Magistrates Court to all charges, despite previously indicating she would contest the allegations. Defence lawyer Kristy Crabb said Parkhurst became “emotionally invested” in the dingoes known as the Hook Point Pack after seeing three pups die of what Parkhurst believed to be starvation in 2008. Ms Crabb said Parkhurst only fed the dingoes at the insistence of her former boyfriend Adam Randall. Footage that Parkhurst had filmed was played in the court as part of the prosecution's case.

The films showed Parkhurst feeding the dingoes on several occasions, including a scene from Christmas Day 2008, in which Parkhurst's voice can be heard narrating. “It's Christmas Day and the pups are getting a beautiful, beautiful present, something they've never had before. “This is a jailable offence, hopefully it's not the wrong thing to do, but ... they've never had roast chicken before.” Parkhurst narrated another film sequence after the dingoes had finished their Christmas dinner. “Well they loved that,” she said. “Three roast chickens, one of them free-range, which cost a fortune.” The next segment of film showed Parkhurst hand-feeding the dingoes some gift-wrapped dog treats. On other occasions the dingoes were fed bread, raw meat, dog biscuits, cheese and fruit – mostly coconuts that Parkhurst and her friends had collected from the beach and cracked open for the animals.

The dingoes' taste for fruit was mentioned by Parkhurst in several of the film sequences, in which she commented “fruit is their favourite food – they love it so much ... they didn't like the apple all that much, but didn't they love the mango ... they love coconut more than anything else...” On one occasion Parkhurst's 12-year-old god-daughter accompanied her to the island. The film shows the girl eating a packet of chips and a dingo pup trying to get the food. The animal then becomes bolder and nips at the girl's ponytail before grabbing her singlet and biting the child on her hip area. As the girl starts to cry, Parkhurst is seen growling at the dingo and telling the animal it had been naughty.

DERM prosecutor Ralph Devlin said Parkhurst's actions undermined the State Government's Dingo Management Strategy and increased the risk of dingoes becoming aggressive towards humans. “It was a deliberate and covert campaign in which she portrays herself as the saviour of the dingoes and the rangers as the oppressors,” Mr Devlin said. “She has, in many respects, a commendable view about the conservation of the environment. “There's a range of opinions on the effectiveness of the department's dingo management strategy. Whether the current dingo management strategy is successful or not is irrelevant to her offending.” Mr Devlin referred to a statement by a zoologist who said it was normal for predators generally and dingoes especially to be “lean and wiry”. Five of the six pups Parkhurst interacted with were destroyed by rangers after exhibiting increasingly aggressive behaviour toward island visitors, Mr Devlin told the court.

Magistrate John Smith said it was clear from the recordings that Parkhurst knew she was breaking the law. He said her actions in taking a child within such close proximity to the dingoes should be condemned. Mr Smith imposed $40,000 in fines and sentenced Parkhurst to four concurrent nine-month jail terms, wholly suspended for three years. Parkhurst walked out of the courtroom smiling yesterday afternoon and told waiting reporters that she was “very shaken”. “It's been a long, difficult journey. None of it has been pleasant.” Ms Parkhurst said her next plan was to have a holiday. “Not on Fraser Island.” * Fraser Coast Chronicle.... WPAA Editorial Below.

Species Disappearing

A major report on the world's threatened wildlife says around 50 species of mammals, birds and amphibians are moving closer to extinction every year. The study, known as the Red List of Threatened Species, has been published by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and released during a biodiversity conference in Japan. The list provides the most comprehensive evidence yet about the pressure modern humanity is putting on the natural world. Around 25,000 species have been assessed and one-fifth of them are threatened with extinction. It shows amphibians are declining at the fastest rate, while birds are doing best. But for the first time there is evidence that on a global scale, conservation projects are making a discernible difference. Conservationists say the key is to learn from this and put more money into programs which can return depleted species to their former health.

Dr Simon Stuart from the International Union for Conservation of Nature says a number of species are recovering. "In Africa, we found that 10 per cent of the near-threatened and threatened species either have stable or increasing populations," he said. "A great example is the white rhinoceros. So we can show for sure that when we focus conservation efforts and really address the threats and put enough money into it, then you see positive results." The Federal Government has released a 10-point biodiversity plan to protect Australia's most vulnerable plants and animals, delivering a range of targets for 2015, including adding another 600,000 square kilometres of land and water as conservation zones. But Alexia Wellbelove from Humane Society International says the targets are not ambitious enough and the Government needs to commit more if the goals are to be achieved. "Without a significant increase in funding, the strategy won't be able to be achieved with the current lack of funding for biodiversity," she said. "We really aren't going to get progress made on this issue so what Humane Society International is calling for is significant increase in funds. "We need specific government officials responsible for delivering this strategy and we look forward to receiving more detail on this." * ABC/BBC


The Fraser Island dingoes......What can we say? Jennifer Parkhurst, a widely-respected woman, and an insulin-dependent diabetic, was rudely awakened 15 months ago at 7am by the DERM squad pounding on her door. She then spent the next six hours in a horrified state of shock, watching her personal possessions and professional equipment being pulled apart, then carried off by the DERM goons. We don't think Jennifer Parkhurst realised the vindictiveness and persistence of the louts that are employed by the Queensland Government to manage Fraser Island and the unfortunate dingoes. Some statements made by the prosecutor in the Fraser Coast Chronicle story above were quite wrong. A claim that "the dingo family were destroyed by rangers after exhibiting increasingly aggressive behaviour toward island visitors" are false, the dingo family were killed out of sheer bloodymindedness. You can watch these beautiful animals at the link here which shows the group of dingoes playing. All these dingoes in this footage have since been killed by the Queensland Government. We've said it before, many times, and we say it again, the Fraser Island Dingo Management Plan is the greatest wildlife management blunder ever committed in Queensland, and it's obvious that the Queensland Government will persist with this terrible strategy until there are no Fraser Island dingoes left. There are times like this when I am so ashamed to be a Queenslander. More about the FI dingoes below. *WPAA Ed.

Tin Can Bay Marinma Proposal

We have just A SMALL WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY to urgently stop the marina developments in this area, before a final decision is made by the Environment Minister as early as Nov 2010.
Please join me in protecting this delicate environment, on behalf of all the marine wildlife, including the endangered dugong, that call the Great Sandy Strait ‘home’.
'Click and Save Tin Can Bay' (in just 3 seconds) at Bob Irwin. For more details check Bob's Blog here

More Kangaroos Killed

Four youths and their dogs have been implicated in the illegal hunting of kangaroos within Cootamundra’s wildlife sanctuary on Rathmels Lane on Friday evening. The youths were spotted by vigilant locals who were concerned as to what they were up to and have been handed over to police who are continuing to investigate the matter. The entire population of kangaroos in the sanctuary has now been hunted, with the last of the animals killed last week. Nearby residents Carol and Ted Willis, who have resided on Rathmels Lane for close to 10 years, said they have lived near the nature reserve for long enough to know when something is wrong. “Our old dog was whinging and trying to get my attention,” Mrs Willis said. “When I looked across to the reserve I saw a number of youths walking along the fence line in the sanctuary and then a kangaroo ran down the hill and collided into the fence so hard I heard it from our garage.”
Read more

Kangaroos.......Good article here about the kangaroo Industry ....

Wildlife Poaching

Three suspected poachers were shot dead in Kenya in the past week in two incidents for killing five elephants, Kenyan wildlife authorities said on Monday. Kenya Wildlife Service said its rangers shot dead two poachers in the southeast of the country, arrested another, and recovered two assault rifles and seven elephant tusks. rangers in the Meru National Park in central Kenya also shot dead one poacher on Sunday night. "The suspects had shot dead an elephant...and were in the process of hacking off the tusks using axes when the KWS rangers ambushed them," KWS said. "A major operation is arrest other suspects on the run. They are believed to have sustained injuries from last night's shoot-out." A ranger wounded in the firefight was recovering. In a separate incident, poachers killed another elephant on Monday in the world-renowned Maasai Mara Game Reserve, officials at nearby Siana Mara Conservancy said. *

A wildlife trade racket has been busted in Assam's Kokrajhar district with the arrest of four smugglers who used to tranship elephants through inter-state border with forged documents, police said. Meanwhile a staggering number of 91 elephants had been illegally traded through the statet on different occasions in the past one year, they said. The matter came into light following the interrogation of a person named Rabindra Singh, who was arrested on October 29 at Srirampur check gate along the Assam-Bengal border. *

Bluefin tuna Scam

An investigation has uncovered an illegal trade in bluefin tuna worth billions of dollars that ignored official quotas to supply the growing global market for raw sushi. Regulators will meet in Paris later this month to discuss new measures to protect the fish. The bluefin is the most prized of all tuna. One large specimen can be sold for more than $100,000 in Japan, where most of the world's catch is eaten as sushi. But as the love of sushi spread worldwide, over-fishing has hit stocks hard and the average size of the bluefins being landed is falling. Investigators say the regulations to protect stocks are being flouted by 10 countries, including Italy, Spain and France, where six fish captains face prosecution. *ABC
Ed Comment; Its also been alleged that the European tuna farms have been involved in bluefin tuna trafficking and moneylaundering. *

New Pest Toad

Quarantine officers are doing everything within their power to protect Queensland from an amphibian worse than the cane toad. But while the black-spined toad is currently being kept at bay, international travellers are being asked to help out on the frontline of defence. The black-spined toad is one of the region’s most unwanted pests, the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service said. Like the cane toad, the South-East Asian toad has no natural predators. It is a carnivore and poses a huge threat to native species. Unlike the cane toad, the black-spined toad exhibits an uncanny ability to adapt to colder climates, making it a far more formidable pest. AQIS northern region scientific manager James Walker said at least 20 toads had been caught in Far North Queensland within the past decade, most of them located onboard ships. *Cairns Post


Feathers are flying in the the City of Sydney Council corridors with the Greens councillor Irene Doutney leading the charge against a plan to shoot about 18 sulphur-crested cockatoos that have caused more than $100,000 damage to a building. The site of the proposed cull is the Sydney Campus Apartments, private student accommodation on the corner of Broadway and Bay Street, Ultimo. Two cockatoos were killed in August with the consent of the National Parks and Wildlife Service. The building's strata managers claimed it and another block nearby had been damaged by a flock gnawing away at it. The parks service initially approved a permit to kill 20 birds but the cull was stopped after a public outcry. The flock flew the coop. But the hunt is on again, with Cr Doutney revealing another permit is to be issued to kill the flock. Cr Doutney said she had attended a conference in Japan which discussed ways to encourage wildlife back into cities. "Here we have a situation where we are doing the opposite." *AGE

Parrot Virus

A virus is threatening a breeding program for the critically-endangered orange-bellied parrot. Scientists say the stomach virus is common in many bird species in Australia. They lose feathers and their immune system breaks down. Veterinary professor from Charles Sturt University, Shane Radial, says an outbreak of the disease in a captive breeding program could be fatal for the species, as there are only 50 birds left in the wild. Normally the parrot would not have such close interaction with other birds but that is not the case in captivity. "Infections just find it easier to spread from one bird to another," he said. Professor Radial says there is no known cure and it is hard to try antibiotics because of the size of the birds. *ABC

Fraser Island Dingoes

The Save the Fraser Island Dingoes group has engaged a legal team to try to change dingo management laws on the island off south-east Queensland. The group is a major supporter of wildlife photographer Jennifer Parkhurst, who was last week fined $40,000 for feeding dingoes on Fraser. Secretary Karin Kilpatrick says many of the island's dingoes are starving and she wants the State Government to conduct an urgent wildlife study to find out if the dingoes have enough natural food sources. She says the Government's dingo management strategy is not working and the dingo feeding law needs to be changed. "At the moment, it's a stalemate," she said. "We just can't seem to agree that there is a problem and that's what has to be acknowledged first of all. "Solicitors have come on board so that we are doing everything by the law. "As I said, time will tell just how far we progress with this. "We have received advice from the legal people and political advice as well as scientific advice and we'll keep working with these people to change the strategy and hopefully also legislation." *ABC

New Children's Educational Books

These educational books for children provide fun activities that promote a love and knowledge of our animals that might lead to future generations learning the importance of clean natural water systems - mature hollow trees - hollow logs - ground cover - native grasses and other habitats essential to the survival of Australian species.
Fun for kids 7 years and upwards, see them here ..........


The Greens want native forest logging across Australia banned. A motion pushing for the national ban has received unanimous support at the party's annual conference in Launceston. The proposal is similar to a deal signed in Tasmania last month to phase out harvesting of some high conservation native forest. Greens' leader Bob Brown says his party is now calling for a similar process to begin in other states and territories. "We want to see this be an historic breakthrough for Australia's native forest and wildlife," he said. "We think the Federal Government has got the wherewithal to coordinate that. Industry is looking for transformation." *ABC


Now you can download a FREE eBook "Birdwatching Tips For Beginners" by Wildlife Protection Association of Australia President Pat O'Brien. Subjects included are; Why Watch Birds? What Equipment Do You Need? Binoculars, Practice Using Your Binoculars, Field Guides, Field Guide Organization, Notebook, Camera, BirdWatching Etiquette, Where To Find Birds, What Kind of Bird is That? Bird Identification Tips, Clues To Identification, Shape and Size, Plumage, Behavior, Habitat, Voice, Bird Watching With Your Ears, Backyard Birding, Bird Waterers, Bird Baths, Bird Houses, Landscaping for Birds, etc. Pat O'Brien has been birdwatching for many years, and now he has put together a free eBook of tips for Birdwatching Beginners!

Download here ...... or here..... Go to the websites, then rightclick on the download link and "save as". *WPAA


Indian Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh has blamed fans of Harry Potter for the demise of wild owls in the country as children seek to emulate the boy wizard by taking the birds as pets. The hit books and films, which are popular in India, feature a snowy owl called Hedwig who is a feathered sidekick for the Potter character and used to deliver mail. "Following Harry Potter, there seems to be a strange fascination even among the urban middle classes for presenting their children with owls," Ramesh said on Wednesday, according to comments reported by the BBC. His remarks came as wildlife group Traffic presented a report called Imperilled Custodians of the Night, which warned about the declining owl population in India. Researchers found that a growing number of owls were being trapped, traded or killed in black magic rituals. Traffic called for tougher measures to protect the bird ahead of Diwali, one of the biggest Hindu festivals, which starts on Friday. It said owls were sometimes sacrificed on auspicious occasions. *AFP


Virginia (US) scientists are monitoring caves to determine the possible spread of a disease threatening entire bat populations along the East Coast. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says more than a million bats have died so far in the Northeast, where white-nose syndrome was discovered by an upstate New York caver in 2006. The Roanoke Times reports that to get a better idea of what's happening in Virginia, scientists are monitoring bats in the caves where they hibernate. The disease is named for the white markings it leaves on an infected bat's snout, ears and wings. It's a fungus that irritates bats' skin and can awaken them from hibernation prematurely and cause them to starve to death. Scientists told the newspaper that when bats are awake when they shouldn't be, they burn off crucial body fat as they flap around the cave. *Virginia AP

Brumbie Kill Cancelled

A plan to kill thousands of wild horses in the Kimberley that sparked widespread public outrage has been cancelled by the State Government. The aerial cull of about 5000 brumbies on Lake Gregory cattle station, managed by the Aboriginal Lands Trust, was slated to go ahead next month. Indigenous Affairs Minister Kim Hames said yesterday he had weighed in to stop the kill. "A cull of wild horses had been planned, however I developed the view that I did not support the proposed cull," he said. Dr Hames credited a "passionate speech" made by Labor MP Lisa Baker as the catalyst that had galvanised his opposition to the cull. The decision was applauded by animal rights activists yesterday, who said they sent a petition signed by thousands of people protesting against the cull to Regional Development Minister Brendon Grylls. More than 8000 others had sent emails and letters of protest to Dr Hames and Mr Grylls. *The West Australian


Climate Change and Sustainability Minister Kate Jones has described as a sick and cruel act the shooting of a young koala at Jimna today. Ms Jones said the young koala is in a critical condition at Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital after being wounded by a shotgun. "I'm absolutely disgusted by this cruelty and hope the young koala can recover," Ms Jones said. X-rays of the female joey, believed to be 14 to 16 months old, revealed it has 15 pellets lodged in its body, including one in its skull. Veterinarians at Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital who carried out emergency surgery on the joey have been able to remove only three pellets so far because of the critical condition of the joey. "I understand the joey was found by a member of the public in the Jimna area on Friday night," Ms Jones said. "There was a report that the joey's mother was dead, also probably shot, but the body has not been found to confirm the report. "Harming a koala is a serious offence under Section 88 the Nature Conservation Act 1992. The penalty for deliberately shooting a koala is a $225,000 or 2 years imprisonment, "I urge anyone with information about the shooting of the koala to contact Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service on 1300 130 372." *Sunshine Coast Daily

Fraser Island Dingoes Media release

National Dingo Preservation and Recovery Program (Inc. A0051763G ) says the Queensland Government’s prosecution of Wildlife Photographer is Disappointing
The National Dingo Preservation and Recovery Program (NDPRP) today expressed its disappointment at the Queensland Government’s prosecution of wildlife photographer, Jennifer Parkhurst, for her study of the dingoes on Fraser Island. Yesterday, Ms Parkhurst received a nine month suspended jail sentence and a fine of $40,000 in the Maryborough Magistrates Court in Queensland. NDPRP President, Dr Ian Gunn, today stated that: ‘It is extremely disappointing that the Queensland Department of Environment and Resource Management and the Queensland Minister for the Environment, Kate Jones, have adopted such a punitive approach to this matter. It could have been resolved in a more conciliatory manner.’ Dr Gunn reaffirmed the NDPRP’s support for the role Ms Parkhurst has played in exposing the Queensland Government’s mismanagement of the high-conservation-value dingo population of Fraser Island and for the government’s lack of transparency concerning dingo management on the Island. He stated that:

‘The NDPRP certainly hopes that the prosecution of Ms Parkhurst has not been in retaliation for her public criticism of the Queensland government’s mismanagement of the dingo population on Fraser Island.’ Dr Gunn contrasted the punitive approach of the Queensland Government with that of the Victorian Government: ‘The approaches of the Victorian and Queensland governments to the management of dingo conservation issues could not be more different. We have just been through an exhaustive, transparent and inclusive consultation process on dingo conservation in Victoria, involving all stakeholders, including farming interests. As a result, Victoria now has the most progressive policy on dingo conservation in Australia. Unfortunately, this approach stands in stark contrast to the defensive and repressive approach taken by the Queensland authorities.’ Commenting on the high quality of Ms Parkhurst’s documentary material on the Fraser Island dingoes, some of which was used as evidence against her, Dr Gunn stated that: I have no doubt that, if not for these legal proceedings intervening with Ms Parkhurst’s documentary work on Fraser Island, it would have resulted in the best documentary material on Australian dingoes yet produced. It is a great loss to all Australians that this will now likely not eventuate.’ *Media release from NDPRP


Three Torquay College students will not face court after they bashed a kangaroo to death. Police officially cautioned the year 8 boys this week after they attacked a kangaroo last month while on school camp in Anglesea. Torquay police Detective Sergeant Craig Blunt said the caution was an opportunity for the boys to "redeem themselves". "All three boys were interviewed and everyone was very co-operative," Sgt Blunt said. "They were eligible for a caution, and they have now had their chance. "The details of the caution were fully explained to the children and their parents and they are fully aware of the consequences." The attack caused controversy around the state, with readers flooding to the Geelong Advertiser website to post their opinion on the issue. "How dare you do this to an animal. You should be dealt with to the full extent of the law no ifs or maybes, you knew it was wrong," Ronaldo, of Ocean Grove, said. "When people think of Torquay it won't be for its beaches or surf carnival any more," Fiona Kelly said.

RSPCA chief inspector Greg Boland said deliberate acts of animal cruelty carried the maximum penalty of two years in jail or up to $28,000 in fines. "We are very concerned about any situation that involves animal cruelty. With animal cruelty of this magnitude it is a real concern," he said at the time of the attack. "Certainly some form of serious intervention needs to take place." Mr Boland said the incident constituted aggravated cruelty under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. "The RSPCA considers this (incident) is at the higher end of the spectrum of animal cruelty," he said. Torquay College principal Pam Kinsman declined to comment to the Geelong Advertiser. * Geelong Advertiser


The World Wildlife Fund Australia has joined calls to scrap a proposed coal export terminal at the mouth of the Fitzroy River. It says the waters around Balaclava Island – where Xstrata wants to build a $1 billion terminal capable of handling 35 million tonnes of coal a year – are a vital habitat for Australia’s only native dolphin. The distinctive and elusive snubfin dolphin is categorised at extreme risk and Port Alma is home to the most-southerly population. Lydia Gibson, the fund’s marine species manager, said the 70 or so snubfins could easily be wiped out by such a large-scale industrial development. Xstrata, which says the terminal construction project could create 800 jobs, has yet to prepare a detailed Environmental Impact Statement. But Ms Gibson confirmed WWF Australia would join local groups such as the Fitzroy Basin Association and Capricorn Conservation Council in opposing the terminal. “The snubfin is extremely rare and because it is elusive scientific understanding of its numbers and habits is not great. But what we do know is that there are only 70 or so around Balaclava

Island and this pod is distinct and isolated from others. “Losing just a few individuals could lead to extinction in these waters.” WWF Australia has also attacked the development of LNG plants at Gladstone and says the accumulative impact of resources projects along the coast will create carnage for wildlife. “Without a strategic approach to managing the impacts on wildlife, it will be death by a thousand cuts for marine turtles, inshore dolphins and dugongs.” Campaigners are concerned about the effects of dredging on an unprecedented scale as well as chemical and noise pollution and boat strikes. Xstrata’s proposal is to load huge bulk carriers at Balaclava Island after transporting the coal by rail to `Raglan and then on a 13.5km conveyor belt across wetlands. * Morning Bulletin

Kangaroo Forum

INVITATION UTSpeaks: Killing Skippy...Will kangaroos survive being seen as lean, tender meat and damaging pests?

How did kangaroos stop being wonders of the Australian bush, becoming only good for food or sport?
Why do conflicting opinions abound about how many kangaroos Australia should maintain and how many we can sustain, if these animals are intensively harvested in the wild for meat? Despite industry reassurances, do kangaroos and their pouch young suffer cruelly at the hands of hunters? Based on cutting-edge UTS research, this public lecture addresses the contentious issues of harvesting and eating kangaroos as a means to protect the environment and examines the laws and regulations that govern the well-being of one of our most treasured national icons.

Dr Dror Ben-Ami
During his 15-year research career, UTS Institute for Sustainable Futures Associate Dror Ben-Ami has maintained a focus on wildlife, conservation biology, road ecology and kangaroo and wallaby ecology. He has researched the Eastern Grey Kangaroo in north-western New South Wales and was a postdoctoral research fellow in wildlife disease dynamics at Israelâ?Ts Ben Gurion University. Dror now works with the Sherman Group in developing environmental technology investment concepts and conducts research with the UTS kangaroo think tank â?" THINkK.

Keely Boom
Keely Boom is a research fellow with THINkK and an animal rights expert. Her research focuses on the law and policy governing the killing of kangaroos. Keely was the first intern to be taken on with animal protection institute Voiceless and served as an intern with the legal unit of Greenpeace International in Amsterdam. She is a PhD candidate at the University of Wollongong and is Executive Officer of the Australian Climate Justice Program. When, Tuesday 30 November 2010, 6.00pm drinks for 6.30pm start, Concludes 7.45pm, Where, University Hall, UTS Science Building 4, 745 Harris Street Ultimo

UTS is only ten minutes walk from Central Station, Eddy Avenue and Railway Square bus stops. Parking is available for those with a disability or special need to drive: Peter Johnson Building, Basement Car Park, 702-730 Harris St. Ultimo. RSVP Monday 29 November 2010, Register attendance with Robert Button, Email: Tel: 02 9514 1734


A day of celebration, education and exciting entertainment will be held in support of the Fraser Island Dingo.. SAUSAGE SIZZLE, RAFFLES/EDUCATIONAL MATERIAL, MUSIC, SKYDIVING DISPLAY
HELICOPTER FLYOVER, WILDIFE PRESENTATION by Tess Wildlife Sanctuary. Culminating at sunset with the lighting of 3000 CANDLES creating a giant 60 metre effigy of a Dingo. This amazing display will be designed by JORGE PUJOL, foremost expert in candle-lit public art statements who has promoted humanitarian and environmental causes around the world.. Community involvement is essential to make this momentous day a success, candles/bags will be available from 10AM ..$2 per bag. VENUE: DAYMAN PARK..HERVEY BAY DATE: SUNDAY 5th. DECEMBER. COMMENCING: 10AM till SUNSET. All are invited to participate in this spectacular event.. For any enquiries please contact: Karin...(Save Fraser Island Dingoes) Ph: 07 4124 1979

Flying Foxes

The way appears to have been cleared for bats to be dispersed from around the Maclean High School next year. What the Maclean High School P&C Association sees as a breakthrough occurred after a Federal Government department, which could have blocked any dispersal moves, stepped aside if certain conditions were met. P&C president Lorraine White said she hoped the move meant there would be plans in place to disperse the bats when they arrived next year. “The Feds (Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities) seem to be saying they want it to be a school and not a bat colony,” she said. “We are happy. “It means someone has been listening. “We hope it can run smoothly and not get interrupted by parties who might not like to see it happen.” Mrs White said there had been fewer flying foxes than initially expected this year, perhaps because persistent rain had taken much of the blossom from trees, leaving little food in the area. But she wanted to make sure if they returned next year, authorities would have the capacity to disperse them.

The Federal Environment Department’s decision would allow for dispersal between August 1 and October 31 for five years in an area within one hectare of what is known as the school’s western carpark. Other conditions include that the action must be taken before the grey-headed flying fox colony establishes itself at the site and only when there are fewer than 2500 grey-headed flying foxes present, and that a qualified ecologist with expertise in grey-headed flying foxes must be present. They would have the authority to stop the dispersal if they believed it necessary. In a letter to the P&C, Member for Page Janelle Saffin said she had always assured the school community that once the Department of Education (DET) made a fresh application, prepared by an appropriately qualified consultant, there was a good chance of a positive outcome. “While I have been more than happy to provide advice and assistance in this case, future matters of concern should be directed to the Federal Member for Cowper, who has responsibility for representing the town of Maclean,” she said. A spokesman for the DET said the federal offer of permission to disperse was welcome, and the department would continue to work with the state authority to ensure appropriate dispersal. “The department will continue to work with local, state and Commonwealth agencies, and with the working party, to address broader issues associated with the flying foxes in the area,” he said. * *Ed Comment; Why did anyone ever think that a Federal Labor Government had any concern for wildlife?


The need for landholders to keep stock behind barbed wire and away from roads has crashed head-on with the long-term survival prospects of the native Australian mahogany glider. The Australian government says there is less than 2500 mahogany gliders left in their wild habitat extending from Ollera Creek 50km north of Townsville to the Hull River at Tully. The habitat range extends about 100 kilometres inland. Acclaimed Australian wildlife artist and animal carer Daryl Dickson from the Kennedy Valley between Cardwell and Tully, said barbed wire fences were threatening the nocturnally active mahogany glider with extinction. She said there could be as few as 1500 mahogany gliders left in the wild. Ms Dickson is hoping that the old wars fought between landholders and people trying to come up with solutions to preserving threatened wildlife can be forgotten and that a new era of cooperation can begin. She said landholders, with their knowledge and observations, could prove invaluable to coming up with ways to shore up the survival prospects of threatened species such as the mahogany glider. She said the nocturnally active mahogany gliders were commonly caught on the top strand of barbed wire on fence lines as they glided from one feeding tree to another during the hours of darkness. * Townsville Bulletin

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Exotic Pet Scam

Exotic pets are being "sold" online, but authorities fear it's an illegal scam that animal lovers should keep their paws off. One website is offering capuchin monkeys and cheetah cubs for adoption in South Australia, while interstate pet lovers seeking companions with a twist are being tempted by tiger cubs, chimpanzees and pythons. RSPCA national spokeswoman Lisa Chalk said there were several websites claiming to sell exotic animals. "The internet has fuelled the buying of pets online and it is a real problem and more often than not it is a scam," she said. "In America you can keep exotic animals as pets but in Australia it's not like that. That's why we are very skeptical of these sites." She said the difficulty in importing exotic animals would provide legal hiccups. "They would have to get into the country which would be the first big hurdle and also it's really hard to keep one of these animals as a pet," she said.

Department of Environment and Natural Resources manager of investigation and compliance Hannah Dridan also warned consumers not to be fooled by the offers. She said there had been a few calls regarding the online advertising for capuchin monkeys during the past week, highlighting how common the scam has become. "These websites exist but a lot of the links you see are simply ploys to get unsuspecting people to part with their bank details," she said. "Tigers, for example, generally cannot be traded in to any country in the world but that doesn't stop people from trying to sell them. If you come across a website like this you should notify the relevant government area." Ms Dridan said in SA penalties of up to $100,000 or two years jail might apply, but federal penalties and breaches of international treaties might be harsher. *Adelaide Now


Saltwater crocodiles - the ultimate killing machines - are living right on Darwin's doorstep. Yet, experts warn we still know too little to manage the vicious animals. Statistics obtained by the NT News show more than 200 crocodiles were trapped in the Darwin region this year. At least two crocodiles were captured dangerously close to the city centre - one at Ludmilla Creek and another at Rapid Creek. Internationally-renowned crocodile expert Professor Grahame Webb said a major review would look into understanding the transitory population of problem crocs. "No one knows the dimension of the problem," he said. "We still don't know who these crocs are, where are they coming from, where are they moving to and why are they moving." The call for a review came nearly two years after 11-year-old Briony Goodsell was taken by a 3m crocodile while swimming in a flooded creek in Lambells Lagoon on Darwin's rural outskirts. Her March 2009 death sent shockwaves through the community. And the NT Government had to react quickly - announcing a major boost to its crocodile management plan.

Since then, it has introduced: TWO new staff to the already existing three-man team of crocodile catchers; TWENTY new traps to the already existing 40 traps; A SECOND pontoon boat; THE Be Crocwise education program; A NEW law to fine people jumping on croc traps; and AN EXPANDED 50km crocodile management zone around Darwin. Prof Webb's company Wildlife Management International was awarded a contract to review the Territory's strategies in dealing with crocodiles last month. He said there was no easy fix to the problem but more research was needed to understand problem crocodiles. "Could you (manage crocodiles) better and could you do it more efficiently? I think both of those answers are 'Yes'," he said. "I see it as something we should be aggressively improving all the time - this is about a problem in which people's lives are concerned. But we often don't understand what we're trying to manage." *NT News *
Ed Comment; Amazing, all that money spent, all those crocs captured and killed, and people still go swimming in and around Darwin. It's not the crocs that need to be managed but the stupid people who go swimming there.


In an Australian first, Tasmania will consider declaring its entire coastal seaboard a whale sanctuary after a 5km gap was discovered between the state and the official start of the Commonwealth's marine protection zone. The Tasmanian Greens will move in State Parliament this week to ensure the gap is filled between the state's seaboard and the Australian Whale Sanctuary, which begins three nautical miles away. The Greens also propose to pressure local boat and plane operators not to assist the annual Japanese whale hunt. It follows uproar earlier this year when it was discovered the Japanese Institute of Cetacean Research chartered a Tasmanian plane for spy flights from Hobart to track the anti-whaling protest fleet. The call comes as the Japanese whaling season officially gets under way. Greens environment spokeswoman Cassy O'Connor revealed the bold proposal to the Mercury yesterday in an effort to better protect whales as well as to give the tourism sector a much needed boost.

Under current laws the Australian Whale Sanctuary includes all Commonwealth waters from the three-nautical-mile state waters limit out to the boundary of the Exclusive Economic Zone. They forbid the hunting of dolphins and whales out to 370km from the nation's coast. The small area left between the state border and the start of the sanctuary is protected under the Tasmanian Whales Protection Act 1988, which prohibits in general the taking of whales but does not ban assisting in catching them. It also does not stop people interfering with whales and does not specifically declare state waters a whale sanctuary. Ms O'Connor said with the recent sightings of whales giving birth in the River Derwent for the first time in almost two centuries and the proximity of the state to the annual fight between Sea Shepherd protesters and the Japanese whalers it was time for Tasmania to take a stand.

She said local boat and plane operators should refuse to help whale hunters and instead should use their equipment to take tourists to see the whale pods instead of conducting spy missions. "These incredible creatures travel, rest, feed, play and give birth in our waters," Ms O'Connor said. "What better way for Tasmania to welcome and encourage their place in our environment than to declare that they have a permanent and formal safe harbour in our waters?" A Federal Government case against the Japanese whaling activities in the Southern Ocean was filed in June 2009 at the International Court of Justice in The Hague. The final judgments could be as late as 2013. *Mercury

Ocean Rubbish Targeted

The discovery that two of the six dolphins found dead in the Swan River last year were entangled in fishing line has prompted a major education campaign designed to encourage the boating and fishing community to take home their litter. The campaign, Clean Marine, will be launched in Fremantle this afternoon by the State's chief scientist, Lyn Beazley. Every year, thousands of marine creatures die as a result of ingesting or becoming entangled in marine debris off the WA coast and in rivers. At least 77 species of marine life found in Australian waters are known to have been impacted by marine debris. Affected species include whales, dolphins, seals, dugongs, seabirds, sharks and rays. A coalition of community and government organisations, including the Department of Environment and Conservation, Keep Australia Beautiful and the Swan River Trust, is behind the new campaign, which will target recreational waterway users who are thought to contribute around 8 per cent of the litter.

A spokeswoman for Keep Australian Beautiful said commercial operators, estimated to be responsible for 14 per cent of all marine debris, would be targeted in subsequent campaigns. An estimated seven billion tonnes of plastic litter enters the oceans every year and the United Nations Environment Program says around 46,000 pieces of plastic debris float on or near the surface of each square metre of the ocean. Many of the pieces are minute and are easily consumed by seabirds and other creatures, which mistake them for food. According to Clean Marine, a single one-litre drink bottle could break down into enough fragments to put one fragment on every kilometre of beach in the entire world. Professor Beazley said littering could have long-term devastating consequences. "It is washed into the ocean and every year hundreds of thousands of sea birds are found dead or injured as a result of eating or becoming entangled in marine debris," she said. "It also kills thousands of turtles, dolphins, seals and fish."

"In the Swan River, discarded fishing line is a particular problem affecting dolphins. "I urge every river and ocean user to do the right thing and dispose of your waste responsibly and look after our waterways and the creatures that inhabit them. "It's not difficult and through Clean Marine you can access resources and information to help you make it an easy option." Research has shown that about 70 per cent of marine litter ends up on the sea bed, 15 per cent on beaches and 15 per cent remains floating on the water's surface. Keep Australia Beautiful WA chair Mel Hay said all river and ocean users were responsible for keeping the waterways litter-free and protecting Australia's marine wildlife. "All too often a beautiful beach or on the river is spoiled by litter dumped by irresponsible people," he said. Clean Marine resources are available from fishing and boating stores, Department of Fisheries education staff and volunteers, Swan River Trust, Department of Environment and Conservation and Department of Transport officers and through the recreational fishing industry. Resources and more information about the campaign are available at or by phoning 6467 5122. *WA News

Cormorants Shot

Fishermen shot more than 2,000 cormorants last year after the Government decided to sanction the killing of the so-called "crows of the sea". Numbers of the large seabird have increased from around 18,000 in the late 90s to to more than 21,000. However this has brought then into conflict with fishermen who say the birds can eat hundreds of fish every day from fish farms and reservoirs. With their almost reptilian appearance, the birds are regarded by many as sinister and greedy, although conservationists point out that the UK holds internationally important wintering numbers. A survey by Swansea University found that most fisheries have a problem with cormorants and they are considered a more dangerous predator than mink or otters. Natural England, that hands out licences to kill the birds, said the number of birds shot has increased from 500 to 2,133. The Government agency said the birds can only be shot if the population is healthy and there was no risk of them dying out.
So far this year 1,636 cormorants have been shot by holders of government culling licences.

Dr. Dan Forman, who led the Welsh study, said cormorants can destroy a fishery. He said eight birds can kill 100 fish in one session. These birds will return to sites three or four times each day and gorge themselves till stocks are exhausted. However, he said the birds will not be wiped out completely. “This survey highlights evidence of fishery and predator conflict in Wales, especially as predator populations have increased. However, it is important to maintain a balance between protecting the economic interests of these businesses and maintaining recovering populations such as the otter. The majority of fisheries in this study perceived predators as a threat to their income”. He added “What we’re trying to do is find some way that both predators and businesses can co-exist. It’s all very well to blame the predators but we can go to Tesco – they can’t.” The RSPB said fisheries can find ways to deter the birds by putting in place nets or scaring them off, rather than killing cormorants. *Telegraph UK


Traditional owners say "rogue'' Indigenous hunters could be responsible for dwindling dugong numbers. Yesterday, state and Federal Government representatives and traditional owners gathered in Cairns in far north Queensland for a discussion about the endangered animal. The Federal Opposition wants a national dugong protection plan, as well as a moratorium on traditional hunting. Traditional owner Vince Mundraby from Yarrabah, south of Cairns, attended the meeting and says Indigenous people are concerned about the number of dugongs being killed each year. "We have rogue elements out there, Indigenous people who have not got the right or go out without permission and do unlicensed kills," he said. "These people are known in the community, so we are looking at new ways of actually identifying those people. "The rogue element is getting worse - it's very concerning especially for a place like Yarrabah with a small community of 3,500 people. "We have a small number of 10 to 15 rogues in the community. "What we are doing is working out a process to make sure that those rogue elements are compliant." *

Meanwhile Queensland Opposition climate change and sustainability spokesman Glen Elmes has criticised the State Government for failing to put a moratorium on the traditional hunting of dugongs. State and Federal Ministers met with traditional owners at Cairns in far north Queensland yesterday to discuss the future protection of the endangered species. Sustainability Minister Kate Jones says she will consult more on the issue. Mr Elmes says she should have used yesterday's meeting to declare a moratorium on dugong and turtles. "Until such time as research can be done and we know the number of surviving dugong and the protected species of turtle," he said. "[Then] we can establish what is a sustainable take for traditional purposes by traditional people." *ABC