Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wildlife Bytes 10/2/11

Leading Stories

Cyclone Impacted Wildlife

On Saturday, emergency responders from IFAW, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW - arrived in Cairns, Queensland to help wildlife carers still struggling from the recent floods when category five cyclone Yasi hit on Wednesday. IFAW immediately met with the local wildlife association and vets to develop a response plan for animals in the area who are suffering primarily from a loss of food sources and shelter as a result of the two disasters. "With the cumulative affects of the flood and cyclone, we are seeing a lot of need among wildlife carers in the area," said IFAW's Manager of Disaster Relief Dr. Dick Green. Initially, IFAW set up response efforts out of Cairns, which faired very well during the storm. Most debris has been cleared and power restored. The rest of the region was not so fortunate. "Mission Beach will be top priority given its accessibility and the dozen wildlife carers who need assistance to rebuild damaged facilities," added Dick Green. "IFAW will move on to areas south of Mission Beach such as Cardwell, Tully, Carmine Beach, Silkwood, Veluga when we can gain access."

In addition to Dr. Green, IFAW's team includes a wildlife vet and vet tech, who can provide immediate assistance to animals in the field and training to wildlife carers who expect an influx of animals at their facilities. One wildlife center alone had accepted 34 birds in the course of a single day. IFAW's team also will conduct an assessment of overall need. There are more than 100 wildlife care facilities in the area and it is likely that 50% or more of them have damaged structures or otherwise need assistance. With much of the natural food sources destroyed and the cost of food skyrocketing, emergency food supplies for animals will be a critical component of the response. IFAW also expects to expand sheltering facilities at centers that can receive large numbers of animals from impacted areas for up to 30 days. In the long-term, damaged structures at wildlife care facilities will need to be rebuilt and habitat restoration will be needed to bring back natural food sources for animals. "There are a lot of people doing great work for animals here," said Dr. Green. "IFAW's goal is to get the animals and the people who care for them in Queensland through this initial crisis and help them rebuild for the future." *Newswire

Tin Can Bay Marina Campaign

Wildlife campaigner Bob Irwin has stepped up his campaign against the Norman Point marina, as the deadline looms for a federal decision on the proposal. Mr Irwin, founder of Australia Zoo and father of the late Steve Irwin, says Australians have only a limited opportunity to make their feelings known before a decision is made by federal Environment Minister Tony Bourke some time after the end of the month. “The Tin Can Bay region is unique – one of the last outstanding and diverse ecosystems on the east coast of Australia,” he said yesterday. “It is home to a plethora of precious wildlife including endangered dugongs and sea turtles and rare humpback dolphins.” Mr Irwin also expressed his concern about a second marina proposal at Carlo Point. “They will severely damage the region and its critically important inhabitants. “Should development be sanctioned, it will put at risk a World Heritage listing, which is currently pending for the Cooloola region.”

Supporters said Mr Irwin is continuing his son’s legacy as the major high profile champion of conservation in the region. “I will fight as long and as hard as necessary to save this magnificent area from development. “This is no longer a local issue – this is the habitat of species that are threatened all over the world and we need to make a stand and save some critical habitat for them.” He urged Australians to take advantage of a “click and save” campaign, using internet technology to help people voice their views. “It takes three seconds to send a letter directly to Mr Bourke, asking him to reject the plans,” the supporter said. “To date, 35,000 votes have been collected online. Mr Irwin said there were now many government reports recognising that Australia’s biodiversity is declining. “The Fraser Straits Marina (at Norman Point) will bring 240 wet and 120 dry berths, while the nearby Carlo Point Marina will bring an additional 257 wet berths to these narrow waterways,” he said, adding to stress on wildlife. *Gympie Times

Fundraising for Flood Wildlife

The Australian Wildlife Protection Council Inc. is collecting funds to offer a reward for information leading to a prosecution or conviction of the person or persons responsible for running down and killing kangaroos in the grounds of Morriset Hospital, near Newcastle. All donations made in Australia are tax deductible if made out to AWPC Public Fund or just AWPC donation. Post your cheque/money order to Australian Wildlife Protection Council Inc. C/- Maryland Wilson, President, 1098 Stumpy Gully Rd Moorooduc 3933 Victoria. A tax-deductable receipt can be sent to you. OR Make a deposit straight into AWPC’s account at your local Commonwealth Bank branch: BSB 063535, Account 10090791 Please include your name and purpose as reference when making a deposit. Eg. Freda Bloggs, Morisset Reward. Also, email Maryland Wilson, kangaroo@ and leave your name and address so a receipt can be sent to you. *AWPC

Wildlife Protection Association of Australia Inc has set up a Donation Fund, where people who wish to donate to help flood-affected wildlife can do just that. Any moneys donated to this Fund will only be provided to non government funded wildlife carers groups or individuals who are actively working on helping wildlife flood victims, orphaned or injured. Funding will be provided to wildlife carers for fuel to get into the flood affected areas, and for wildlife food, over the next months. We know who these carers are, and where they are, and we'd like to help them too, so if you would like to help the wildlife flood and cylcone victims you can donate here, tax-deductible within Australia. Donate here.....

QWRC has also set up a trust fund to receive donations for wildlife carers affected by floods. Donations can be made to the wildlife disaster relief fund by direct deposit to the QWRC Trust Fund account BSB 814-282 and account number 30932248 and QWRC ask that people please use their surname as a reference. They will ensure all funds are distributed where they are most needed.

A new Fundraiser which we absolutely support has just been announced. Sydney Pet Rescue & Adoption has launched the Animal Flood Victims Emergency Appeal, and together with various other rescue groups, they are working hard to raise funds to support animals affected by the recent devastating floods in Qld. The Wildlife Protection Association of Australia is one of the organisations they have chosen to support with the Appeal. We will be using the funds they raise to support foster carers in the worst affected and priority areas, with financial support to assist with the rescue and foster care of wildlife.We thank SPRA and all the rescue groups who are working hard with them, for their support. Please click on this link to find out more about the appeal:

The Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital at Beerwah is also fundraising to help cover the cost of treating an influx of wildlife flood victims. Go to the Hospital website to donate.

Wildlife Groups in Victoria are arranging for food for wildlife and otherwildlife carers supples to be sent to Queensland. If any wildlife carers need anything, please contact us at and we will forward your details to them.

Bob Irwin is calling on the public to give generously towards helping set up cassowary feeding stations and longer term habiat protection in Mission Beach and surrounding areas after cyclone Yasi hit this area hard last week. Donations collected from Bob Irwins website Rainforest Rescue’s website and Save the Cassowary website will be pooled together and donated to the cause. More about Cassowaries below...........

A fundraising campaign is being undertaken by Vegan Warriors urging the government to stop killing Fraser Island Dingoes has been given a huge boost thanks to a generous artist and Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital. Sunshine Coast artist Leigh Hutfield painted the stunning "Wild Beauty of Fraser Island". This beautiful piece has been donated to Vegan Warriors to raise awareness and funds for the Fraser Island Dingo Campaign. The painting is being displayed at the Austalia Zoo Wildlife Hospital and is for sale for $2,500. Half of the money from this sale will go to the Hospital to help with their thankless work saving our precious animals. Gail Gipp, General Manager from the Hospital says "The painting donated by Leigh Hutfield is a beautiful piece of art that is admired by both the staff and the patrons that visit the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital. The painting really captures and reflects what a magnificent and beautiful species that the dingo is." Jaylene Musgrave, Founder of Vegan Warriors has had support from Heather Mills, Paul McCartney's ex wife who sent her a statement last year imploring the Qld Govt to save the world's purest strain of dingoes. Jaylene's music industry background means she has a number of rock star supporters including Xavier Rudd, John Butler Trio and Hilltop Hoods. Jaylene is urging anyone who finds the current Govt's management plan, which includes hazing, shooting, baiting and starving the dingoes and their pups, shameful, to write to Kate Jones, Environment Minister and to contact Jaylene to be a part of the campaign. *Vegan Warrior Media Release

Wildlife Smuggling

Malaysian wildlife trafficker Anson Wong received a five-year jail sentence after his bag filled with 95 live boa constrictors suddenly burst open on a luggage conveyer belt at Kuala Lumpur airport in August 2010. The spectacular incident was unlucky for Wong, one of the biggest traders in the region, but the bust might have been expected. Authorities in the South-East Asian region have increasingly been on the lookout for high-profile wildlife smugglers. Wong's sentence reflects a growing regional awareness that wildlife crime is a major problem, suggests Elizabeth John, a spokeswoman at the South-East Asian office of wildlife trade monitoring agency TRAFFIC. However, clamping down on animal smuggling remains an ongoing battle. Some argue that legalising the wildlife pet trade would solve the problem of wildlife smuggling ..... but that doesnt seem to be the case in Australia, where since legalising some species of pet wildlife in Vic, SA, WA, and to some extent in Queensland and NSW, people are regularly caught driving South from Queensland or the Northern Territory with a carload of illegally captured wildlife......
Read more about wildlife smuggling ...


If migrating birds were awarded frequent-flyer points, the ruddy turnstone would surely be travelling free in first-class for the latter part of its life. Australian scientists have just recaptured a turnstone on a beach at Flinders, Victoria, that had completed a 27,000- kilometre round-trip to its breeding grounds in Siberia, for the second consecutive year. The findings suggest that turnstones - stocky, medium-sized waders with short orange-red legs, often seen on Sydney shores in summer - fly more than 500,000 kilometres on the trans-Pacific route during their lifetime. *Age
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Cane Toads

It may sound counter-intuitive, but for blue tongue lizards in the Kimberley, severe bouts of food poisoning may save their lives. University of Sydney scientists are using blue tongue lizards, GPS tracking and nausea-inducing food in a bid to stop native reptiles eating poisonous cane toads. Before the lizards are released into the wild for tracking, they are taught to dislike the invasive cane toads, a process called conditioned taste aversion. Graduate student Samantha Price-Rees said 18 blue tongue lizards near Kununurra had been fed cane toad-flavoured baits laced with chemicals to induce nausea. Ms Price-Rees said laboratory tests had shown the lizards learnt to associate illness with the cane toad food after eating the bait and getting sick. "So when the lizards encounter a toad in the wild, hopefully they will avoid it," she said. University of Sydney Professor Rick Shine said research had shown blue tongue lizards and goannas were two of the most vulnerable species to cane toad invasion. At Fogg Dam, near Darwin, populations of blue tongue lizards had fallen by up to 90 per cent after the arrival of cane toads. Ms Price-Rees said scientists hoped to determine whether toad baits could be used as a large-scale method of cutting native lizard deaths. Cane toads have began inundating Kununurra and the Ord River Irrigation Area, with locals reporting hundreds of the pests in backyards and irrigation channels. *

Cattle Back in the HIgh Country

Federal Environment MinisterTony Burke is locked in a stalemate over whether to challenge the Victorian Government's re-introduction of alpine grazing. "My department is still working with the Victorian department to determine whether or not the (alpine grazing) trial breaches federal environment law," Mr Burke said. The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act states the Federal Government must approve any activity that has a "significant impact on a National Heritage Place". Victorian National Parks Association spokesman Phil Ingamells said he understood the Federal Government had to get the facts from the Department of Sustainability and Environment before it took action. "But I don't think DSE is providing that information," Mr Ingamells said. The grazing trial is not due to start until October. The Victorian Government however, put 400 cattle into the park last month to assess GPS tracking collars and the impact of grazing on fuel loads. * Weekly Times

WA Cockatoos Saved

More than 40 wildlife volunteers joined the Department of Environment and Conservation in an operation to save Carnaby's black cockatoos at risk from the Perth Hills fires. DEC senior wildlife officer Rick Dawson said yesterday about 130 cockatoos, some injured and others babies, at the Kaarakin Black Cockatoo Rehabilitation Centre in Martin were rounded up and put in boxes as the fire front approached. He said the birds remained in boxes overnight on Sunday but as of yesterday, fortunately, did not have to be moved. "There were about 12 DEC trucks that came from nowhere and they managed to contain that northern line," he said. "If they hadn't been there they would have been moved. It was pretty hairy." Anyone needing to report injured wildlife should call the Wildcare hotline on 9474 9055. *WANews,

Ghost Nets

Meetings will be held in Darwin today to address an issue that threatens the existence of some marine species. GhostNets Australia will combine with Government representatives, marine organisations and Community Rangers to develop a strategy to combat drifting fishing nets. "Ghost nets" pose a very real threat to sea creatures as they can be difficult to see and be up to 10km long. GhostNets Australia project co-ordinator Ricki Gunn said that in the 2008 turtle nesting season, community rangers set up camp on a remote Gulf of Carpentaria beach. "In a three week period 65 turtles were found washed up in fishing net, of which 63 were rescued," she said. It's believed that over 90 per cent of the "ghost nets" in Gulf waters are not of Australia origin. The north-westerly monsoonal flow from South East Asia picks up the nets and pushes them through the Arafura Sea into the Gulf of Carpentaria. Ms Gunn said that many of the nets discovered on beaches are of the same design and material, suggesting the "same place of origin". The reasons for the large numbers of drifting nets are many and varied. Ms Gunn said they include sheer ignorance, rough weather, snags, illegal fishing and "turf wars". "Nets are being deliberately sabotaged when vessels drive over those belonging to other boats," she said. Today's meetings are an effort to draw on resources and work together to get the situation under control. *NT News

Pet Kangaroo Killed

A kangaroo's escape bid ended in tragedy when it hopped away from its owner into the path of an oncoming car, German police said. The escape caused costly damage to the car and a messy end for the marsupial. The 49-year-old owner had kept the kangaroo for many years as a house pet and had never before encountered any problems, said police in Oberfranken, southern Germany. "However, at the weekend, the kangaroo got a taste for freedom and jumped out. Despite several attempts, the owner was not able to recapture his pet," police said. The animal apparently took an extended journey around the surrounding area, because it did not meet its unfortunate fate until Monday evening, authorities said. The 30-year-old driver who collided with the roo was treated for shock. The accident caused an estimated ($1342) of damage to his vehicle. "The owner, who lived a mere 200 metres from the site of the collision, had the unfortunate task of dealing with 'his dead sweetheart'," the police announced sadly. *


An anti-whaling group claims Japanese whalers are catching well below their planned quota this season. Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's Paul Watson says the whalers have only caught up to 40 whales this season and are losing money. "I'd be very surprised if they've taken many whales at all," he said. "They're really under siege and they're running. I think it's going to be a financial disaster for them this year. "They're in debt now for over almost $200 million in subsidies to the government and I don't see how they can continue to carry on going down there and losing money, more every year." The comments come after the Japanese fleet and Sea Shepherd Conservation Society protesters had another violent confrontation in the Southern Ocean on Friday. Sea Shepherd says whalers were throwing bamboo spears and a whaling ship tried to ram one of the conservation group's boats. Japan's Institute of Cetacean Research did not respond to the ABC. *


Six conservation volunteers kidnapped by armed gunmen in northeastern India were working for the World Wildlife Fund for Nature, authorities said Monday. The six post-graduate students, three of them women, were seized at gunpoint Sunday in the Laopani forest in lower Assam's Kokrajhar district on the Bhutan border, police official R.N. Boro told the Press Trust of India. The kidnapping came just hours after a decision by local Bodo tribal groups to renew their campaign for a separate state, the BBC reported Monday. The students, who were installing cameras for an elephant and tiger census operation at the time. *

Taiji Dolphins

Fishermen use tarpaulins in a bid to cover up the slaughter of dolphins - as secret filming exposes their horrific killing methods. Officials had claimed the mammals were destroyed humanely after 2009 Oscar-winning documentary The Cove told how 2,000 were killed every year in Taiji, Japan. Fishermen said that piercing the animals' spinal cord with a sharp spike killed them instantly. But video shot using cameras hidden on cliffs overlooking the waters show what really happens. Hunters are seen driving a spike into dolphins' flesh before ramming a wooden plug in the wound to stop the blood turning the sea RED. They then DROWN the animals by tying their fins and pushing them underwater. Ric O'Barry, 71, who trained TV dolphin Flipper and made The Cove, last night said: "The dolphins thrash in agony for minutes. It is beyond cruel. We knew it was a lie, but couldn't prove it until now." Activist Dieter Hagmann, who revealed the video for German conservationists Atlantic Blue, said: "The video confirms our worst fears. "The fisherman work in shielded secrecy and supposedly use a bloodless humane method of killing. The footage exposed the cruel truth." The Japanese government defends the killings for meat as traditional. *Sun


The number of reported shark attacks last year increased worldwide but declined in Florida, according to the University of Florida's International Shark Attack File annual report released today. Ichthyologist George Burgess, director of the file housed at the Florida Museum of Natural History on the UF campus, said Florida typically has the highest number of attacks worldwide, but 2010 marked the state's fourth straight year of decline. Florida led the U.S. with 13 reported attacks, but the total was significantly lower than the yearly average of 23 over the past decade. The U.S. led the world in shark attacks — an average year by U.S. standards — followed by Australia (14), South Africa (8), Vietnam (6) and Egypt (6). The most unusual event occurred off the coast of Egypt in early December with five attacks, including one fatality. The attacks occurred within five days and four of the five were attributed to two individual sharks. * Underwater Times

Starving Kangaroos

In last weeks Wildlife Bytes we mentioned the story about starving kangaroos in WA.

According to the WA Dept Environment and Conservation they were aware of this mob of landlocked kangaroos in 2008 and their risk of starvation after beingcut off from their main food source by development and multi lane highways. DEC passed responsibility to the developers to look after them. Not surprisingly the developers did not care for these landlocked kangaroos and have consequently starved. If you would like to make a complaint about this please contact:

RSPCA WA, Telephone:(08) 9209 9300 FAX: (08) 9248 3144, Email: Honourable W R Marmion BE MBA MLA, Minister for Environment; Water, Address: 77 St George's Terrace, PERTH WA 6000, Telephone: (08) 9220-5000, Fax: (08) 9220-5001 e-Mail:

And/or Write a letter to the editor to:

Beware of the Emu

Iron Knob ( SA ) residents have taken to hiding in the local post office in recent weeks to steer clear of male emus guarding their eggs at the football oval across the road. Donna Smith said the town - population about 150 - was looking forward to the chicks hatching in the coming months but meantime, residents with mobility scooters would continue to motor past the oval at record speed. "There is about one emu to every 15 people in the town," Mrs Smith said. "The way we're going, we might need an emu crossing for them." *Adelaide Now

Kangaroo Sticker

The RSPCA says a campervan hire company is promoting the deliberate killing of kangaroos by putting a sticker ''Kangaroo's, run the f---ers down!'' in its vans. The mock blood-splattered stickers have been placed on the dashboards of Wicked Campers' more than 1000 vans. Wicked chief executive John Webb says the stickers educate his clients, often foreign tourists, to go straight ahead when a kangaroo bounds across the road, and not to swerve and possibly roll the car.

Mr Webb, who said he was an animal lover, said clients' accidents involving kangaroos had been slashed by 90 per cent since he started introducing the stickers five years ago. The wording was a ''pisstake'' and a souvenir for tourists, although his wife has made him change the word ''f---ers'' in future to ''buggers''. 'It's a bit of fun, a bit of a laugh,'' he said. But animal activists don't see the joke. ''It's openly encouraging cruelty to protected native wildlife,'' said Australian Society for Kangaroos co-ordinator Nikki Sutterby. 'Kangaroo numbers are at critical densities … so for them to be encouraging this sort of cruelty is vile.'' She said it appeared neither a joke nor a safety message. ''My impression is that they're sending a message to actively run down kangaroos. It's not saying, 'for safety reasons, don't swerve'.''

Jaylene Musgrave from activist group Vegan Warriors called for the ''disgusting'' stickers to be removed. RSPCA inspectorate services manager Greg Boland said: ''To my mind, it actually promotes that it's acceptable to run down kangaroos and other wildlife.'' He said ''it may not be taken in the lighthearted manner it's meant to be, especially by international tourists''. Drivers deliberately running down a kangaroo could face a $28,000 fine or two years in jail under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, he said. Sergeant Michael Kayrooz from the Victoria Police driver training unit said drivers seeing a kangaroo should ''brake firmly, if you can, in a straight line, and if you can avoid the kangaroo, great.'' *Age

Flying Foxes

Flying foxes have returned to Adelaide from the eastern states in what seems to be turning into an annual pilgrimage. Professor of Urban Ecology Chris Daniels said a small colony had taken up residence this year in the Botanic Gardens. "There's only a very small number have turned up, about 30 or so," he said. At least 1,200 grey-headed flying foxes flew into Adelaide last May and moved into a pine tree at suburban Fullarton. "With the big mob last year they all went into a pencil pine which seemed to give them some protection," Professor Daniels said. "It was a lot colder, a lot later in the year, some protection against the cold." Last year the colony was moved on by people making loud noise near their roost, but experts are unwilling to see the same tried this year, as the flying foxes have brought their young with them. "This is the first time we've seen babies and that's presenting a real challenge because we also know the numbers of this species across Australia are dropping quite alarmingly," Professor Daniels said.

The grey-headed flying foxes are believed to have migrated west since numbers of black-headed flying foxes increased and forced them out of their eastern habitats. Professor Daniels said it was natural for the creatures to flee to South Australia. "These are forest-dwelling animals. [If] they have lost their forest habitat in Queensland and New South Wales then they will move around," he said. "These animals are refugees. We may have a really important conservation role to play in saving the species." *ABC

Flying foxes are causing serious health concerns on Magnetic Island in the wake of Cyclone Yasi. Picnic Bay man Julien Van der Schouw required 14 injections at the Townsville Hospital after a frightening encounter with a flying fox this week. But the Monday night attack had an incredible sequel, with a flying mammal descending on Mr Van der Schouw yesterday afternoon as he was on his way to thank those who helped him out during the first incident. Mr Van der Schouw holds grave fears for the safety of residents in the island community following an influx of the desperate creatures. Skies over the island have become littered with flying foxes left homeless after Cyclone Yasi decimated vegetation. Flying foxes have the potential to carry lyssavirus, a rabies-like virus that can be fatal to humans. They may also carry Hendra virus which, to date, has only affected humans via horses.

Mr Van der Schouw was bitten multiple times on the arm while having a quiet cider at the Picnic Bay Hotel on Monday night. He was left with 10 puncture wounds down his left arm, requiring a course of antibiotics and a continual course of injections in the coming weeks. Experts are recording a large number of flying foxes in cyclone-effected areas after strong winds washed the nectar from flowers, destroying their main source of food. Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service director of wildlife management Nick Rigby urged residents to be aware of the potential dangers. "Members of the public should not handle or approach flying foxes. Anyone who comes into contact with a flying fox should seek medical advice," he said. * Townsville Buletin


Victoria's ban on processing kangaroos is robbing the state's agricultural industry of more than $13 million a year, according to the Kangaroo Industry Association of Australia. The association recently presented the Victorian Farmers Federation with a management plan to put to the State Government. It argued handing shooting rights to commercial harvesters rather than amateur shooters delivered animal welfare advantages. It also estimated more than $2 million would be created by processing kangaroos, with savings of more than $10 million in the form of less damage to farmland. Victoria's increased kangaroo numbers made headlines last week when they forced the cancellation of the Hanging Rock Australia Day races.

KIAA executive officer John Kelly said developing a management plan was the first step toward legalising commercial kangaroo harvesting in Victoria. "For Victoria to process roos, the state has to write a management plan and get it approved by the Commonwealth Government, which is a fairly significant undertaking," he said. "The state has to be convinced that it is an appropriate thing to be doing, and I would hope that the lobby from the VFF would help convince them to do so." He said any proposal could take 18 months. VFF president Andrew Broad said kangaroo processing had merit. Victoria and the Northern Territory are the only Australian states or territories that do not have a commercial kangaroo harvesting plan. *Weeklytimes

Racing at Hanging Rock is on hold until a new kangaroo management plan is put in place, as debate rages on how to stop another race event being cancelled at the reserve. East Ward councillor Joe Morabito told Leader last week he would push for shire-wide management plans on kangaroos and wombats. Cr Morabito, who is a member of the Hanging Rock Reserve Committee, said kangaroos were running amok in the Macedon Ranges. “There were many visitors at Hanging Rock on Australia Day, huge economic losses were suffered and the problem is still there,” Cr Morabito said. But he did not favour a cull of wildlife, only a proper management plan. However Macedon Ranges Wildlife Network spokeswoman Fiona Corke said management plans overseen by government bodies was code for a cull. “People go to Hanging Rock for the occasional event but it is a permanent nature reserve and link for kangaroos roaming through other parts of the Macedon Ranges.”

Kyneton and Hanging Rock Racing Club officials met Macedon Ranges Council and racing boards last week with plans to meet DSE and discuss future events. Club chief executive Mark Graham said the kangaroo management plan failed on the day. “Three times in 45 minutes a mob of kangaroos charged down from the eastern hill and three times in 45 minutes a number of kangaroos got on to the course by jumping a fence,” he said. “We plan to run the New Year’s Day picnic races next year but a better plan will be in place before it can happen.” *Macedon Leader
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Pet reptiles

Born Free USA, a leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation, says that a snake bite that sent a Fair Lawn, NJ man to the hospital in critical condition on Monday, is just one of thousands of unnecessary occurrences between wild and exotic animals and humans. Every year, captive wild animals kept as private “pets,” as well as in zoos and circuses, are involved in incidents that result in human injury or death. Millions of reptiles -- snakes and lizards -- in private possession pose severe safety risks to humans, including the transmission of deadly diseases, strangulations, and bites. Snakes are the most common “pet” reptiles - about 3 percent of U.S. households possess 7.3 million pet reptiles.

According to Will Travers, Born Free CEO, “By their very nature, exotic animals are dangerous creatures. This New Jersey man kept three snakes as ‘pets,’ not only putting his own life at risk, but that of his family and community. Given the life these animals are forced to endure as pets, it is no surprise that they exhibit their natural instincts to the detriment of their owner and the public at large. These animals are time bombs waiting to explode.” Born Free USA tracks such incidents through its online database ( designed as a resource for the media, lawmakers, activists and the public, to help shed light on the magnitude of the issue.

The database lists more than 1,450 attacks and incidents reported that have occurred since 1990, searchable by state, species, and key word, and includes a map graphic marking each location -- a shocking visual to illustrate how geographically widespread the problem is. History has proven that injury or death can happen at any time, anywhere, as a result of someone keeping a wild animal as a pet, a captive animal escaping from a zoo, or an animal used for entertainment. Travers wants people to know that “Wild animals in captivity are ticking time bombs when it comes to public safety. They should not be confined. They deserve better than that.”

Born Free USA asks the public to report any incidents that may not already be in the database, by emailing details to Born Free USA is a nationally recognized leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation. Through litigation, legislation, and public education, Born Free USA leads vital campaigns against animals in entertainment, exotic “pets”, trapping and fur, and destructive international wildlife trade. Born Free USA’s Primate Sanctuary in Texas is home to more than 500 primates rescued from laboratories, roadside zoos, and private possession. Born Free USA brings to America the message of “compassionate conservation,” the vision of the U.K.-based Born Free Foundation, established in 1984 by Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, stars of the iconic film Born Free, along with their son Will, now CEO of both organizations. Born Free USA’s mission is to end suffering of wild animals in captivity, conserve threatened and endangered species, and encourage compassionate conservation globally. *BornFree


Mission Beach's famous cassowary population will struggle in the coming weeks as fruit smashed to the ground during Cyclone Yasi begins to rot. Their habitat in the wet tropics rainforests, that hugs the Mission Beach township, has been ripped to shreds and the canopy has disappeared leaving the endangered birds exposed to the elements. Tully vet Graham Lauridsen said no doubt some would have been killed in the cyclone. "We know that some of these cassowaries would have perished, especially at this time of year when there's lots of chicks around," he told AAP. Now that the immediate threat of the cyclone has passed, possible deaths from starvation are not expected to be seen for another month or more, or when falling fruit rots away. "In a month or six weeks time is when cassowary issues are going to take off big time," Mr Lauridsen said.

The State government said wildlife officers were due to visit the ground on Monday examining the cyclone's impact on cassowary rainforest habitat. "We haven't made a clear decision about whether we will establish feeding stations again but of course it will be on the table," Queensland Environment minister Kate Jones said. Bob Irwin, father of late wildlife warrior Steve Irwin, has also launched a campaign to save the cassowaries. He said the Bob Irwin Wildlife Fund will work with community and government organisations to protect the birds. The Mission Beach cassowary population which ranges anywhere between 40 and 200 is one of the most healthy in Australia. They have become iconic for the region, and the local council even uses the name in its title, The Cassowary Coast Regional Council.

Locals are protective of the cassowaries and some are doing their bit to help. Rob Jeffrey said the birds are highly territorial and he has been feeding one of two that live on his two acre property. "I've been looking after the male but I haven't seen the female since the cyclone hit," Mr Jeffery told AAP. "I know they're resilient. They've been handling this for the last thousand years." Steph Curnuck owns the caravan park that backs on to a cassowary corridor. She said all the locals love the birds even if they are not conservationists. "I don't think I know of anyone, even if they're not part of the green scene, who wants to see harm come to them, they're such beautiful creatures," she said. Huge road signs dot the road into the town every two kilometres telling visitors to slow down and avoid collision with the large birds. Anneke Begraaf from the Save the Cassowary campaign said one of the dangers will be collisions with cars when the birds start straying to find their next feed. "People will be pre-occupied on the road trying to organise their food and water and not paying attention to cassowaries," she said. "The first priority is to get their lives sorted and after that the cassowaries will become a priority. Another issue will be heat exhaustion. The big black birds now have little canopy for shade from the tropical sun, and waterholes used to cool down will have a lot of debris." *Ch9 News

State Government Feeds Cassowaries....but not Fraser Island Dingoes

Immediate action to help rare Cassowaries recover from Cyclone Yasi A specialist Cassowary Response Team has been immediately formed to lead the recovery of this iconic bird impacted by Cyclone Yasi near Mission Beach. Climate Change and Sustainability Minister Kate Jones said an action plan had been developed, and the first priority to undertake aerial surveys was already underway. The next priority is the consideration of aerial food drops in targeted locations to supplement food sources for the birds. Finally, feeding stations are being investigated to be set up throughout the cassowary habitat to draw the birds away from local residences and roads as they search for food supplies. Ms Jones said the aerial surveys already undertaken have identified significant damage to the overstorey of the canopy around Mission Beach. "More aerial surveys are being carried out today, to fully assess the extent of the damage in crucial cassowary habitat," Ms Jones said.

"Aerial food drops are being considere d for later this week to supplement food sources where the birds' natural supplies are depleted. "Discussions with independent experts and conservation groups are also underway to consider the most appropriate locations for feeding stations, to ensure the safety of the birds. "New monitoring cameras will also be deployed to ensure we have the best possible information on the movements and welfare of the cassowaries." Ms Jones said the iconic cassowaries were hit hard during Cyclone Larry in 2006, and now this threatened species has been hit again. "While some areas are still inaccessible on the ground, it's expected that cassowary habitat further south, along the coastal range between Mission Beach and Ingham has also suffered significant damage," Ms Jones said.

"Cassowary habitat and food supplies were also impacted by Cyclone Larry and so our wildlife experts are drawing on experiences then to ensure our actions now are successful.
"It's vital that members of the public don't feed cassowaries - for their own safety and in the interests of the birds' survival long term. Cassowaries that come to expect food from humans can become aggressive and dangerous. "Our Cassowary Response Team will be actively engaged with the community, including local cassowary conservation groups and local government as they develop our full response. "We're determined to ensure we give these incredible birds and their habitat every chance of recovery." Gov. Media Release, Media Contact: 3239 0818

Comment from one of our Networks, and we agree totally.

Mission Beach has declared an emergency feeding program for the endangered Cassowary, so they don't starve.

What about setting up an emergency feeding program for the Fraser Island dingoes who are actually starving to death? Many have been found dead with nothing but grass and sand in their stomachs. Yet they are guarded by hired thugs to stop people from feeding them. Do we have to have another cyclone or other disaster before we see a need to stop this ongoing suffering? Those MIS-managing them thought it would be smart to feed them poison biscuits 'to deter them' from taking food from tourists. Jennifer Parkhurst was fined $40,000 and given a suspended jail term for taking pity and feeding them. The charge was "interfering with dingoes". What sort of a country makes up such a charge?

An excerpt from the Australian Wildlife Protection Council's newsletter; Christmas 2010. Volume 21 Number 3:
"15 months ago, Jennifer Parkhurst, a widely respected woman and insulin-dependent diabetic, was rudely awakened at 7am by Qld Dept of Environment and Resource Management squad pounding on her door. The next 6 hours were spent in a terrified state of shock, watching her personal possessions and professional equipment being confiscated and carried off by the DERM 'goons'. She didn't realise the vindictiveness and persistence of the louts employed by the Qld Gov't to manage Fraser Island and the unfortunate, hapless dingoes. They confiscated most of her belongings, including her paintings, photographs, personal documents, even Gov't documents legally obtained under FOI. The dingo family Jennifer photographed were later killed out of sheer bloody-mindedness, although the perpetrators said they were destroyed after 'exhibiting increasingly aggressive behaviour'. [Bullies are actually cowards beneath all the posturing].

If you haven't yet had a chance to look at Jennifer Parkhurst's moving Fraser Island dingo YouTube clip, see it now.....and there's more dingo info below.......

Cllimate Change

The Government's key climate change adviser, Ross Garnaut, says Australia needs to catch up to the rest of the world in its efforts to address climate change. In a speech to the Lowy Institute in Sydney, Professor Garnaut has given a scathing update on his 2008 climate change review. He says Australia is the worst offender in the developed world as it has the highest level of greenhouse gas emissions. "Certainly through the last 10 years, Australia's been a significant drag on the global effort. We would cease to be a drag if we came up to an average sort of effort," he said. "Stopping being a drag is a big step forward for Australia." Professor Garnaut says it is in the nation's national interest to move to a low carbon economy. He would not be drawn on what he will be recommending to the Government concerning a price on carbon or an emissions trading scheme, saying he will reveal more at his address to the National Press Club next month.

But he says that Australia's move to put a price on carbon pollution would make it easier for the US and Canada to take action too. These three countries have the highest emissions per head of population in the developed world. "We will make it easier for our friends in North America who want to do a lot, like the United States government - it wants to do a lot. It's finding the politics heavy going like we are here," Professor Garnaut said. Not only does he say Australia is an influence on the US and Canada but also on countries in the developing world. "If we don't do anything, we can be pretty sure that there's a whole lot of developing countries that would find that a good reason not to do anything," he said. But Transport Minister Anthony Albanese has hit back at claims that the Government is dragging its feet, saying it remains determined to put a price on carbon.

The Gillard Government would need the support of the Greens to introduce a carbon price and Greens deputy leader Christine Milne approves of Professor Garnaut's call to action. "I am very pleased to read Professor Garnaut's recent report. In particular he's pointing out that Australia, the US and Canada are really dragging the world back," she said. "And he has had a good look, showing that China and the EU are moving ahead very strongly and that that has big implications for compensation to trade exposed industries." She is pleased to see Government has set up the multi-party climate committee but says the Government needs to work on delivering a carbon price in Australia. "It's not a silver bullet," she said. "We also need regulatory measures. We also need other complimentary measures to bring on the renewables in the time frame we need so that we can make the transition away from fossil fuels." *ABC

Arkaroola Sanctuary

A SA State Government decision will allow a company to drill for uranium in the Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary. The Sanctuary's owner Marg Sprigg said the decision was a disaster, and South Australian Liberal Senator Nick Minchin described it as one of the most reckless decisions of the State Labor Government. A poll on the AdelaideNow website found more than 80 per cent of more than 2000 respondents opposed mining in the area, and comments published online were overwhelmingly negative. Marathon Resources' drilling rights were suspended in February 2008 after it was found to have illegally dumped exploration drilling waste, which it was later forced to clean up. The company's drilling rights were reinstated yesterday for one year from now after it agreed to new environmental conditions, and chairman Peter Williams said the company planned to start drilling as soon as possible. Mr Williams reiterated that the company's initial breach had been inadvertent and it was possible for minerals exploration and other activities to coexist. "All we're asking to do is give us the chance to demonstrate what we believe will be a highly prospective ore deposit there," Mr Williams said.

"It is very large and it will be in the national interest, in the state's interest obviously if we can pursue it." The area in question is currently covered by a Class A environmental zoning, under which mining is only allowed when there is an over-riding national or state interest. Ms Sprigg said she was shocked she was not kept aware of the process by the State Government and could not see how the company could drill for minerals without causing a lot of environmental harm. "That means opening up a heck of a lot of country, a heck of a lot of environmental damage," she said. "As far as I'm concerned the environmental damage would be huge. I find it shocking that we haven't been involved in this discussion process." Greens MLC Mark Parnell said it was an "appalling" decision. The company has strong ties to the Labor Party. Former Labor senator John Quirke is the registered lobbyist for Marathon, while another former Labor senator, Chris Schacht, is a company director. *AdelaideNow

Fraser Island Dingoes

Jaylene Musgrave was only a youngster when she was first introduced to the harsh realities of livestock slaughter. Her father was a meat inspector at the Kilcoy abattoir and although she didn’t know it at the time, her exposure to his work was to shape not only her future lifestyle choices but also her passion and career. The Coolum woman who founded the organisation Vegan Warriors is now a passionate campaigner for animal rights – from the dingoes of Fraser Island to kangaroos, wombats and battery hens Jaylene clearly remembers the turning point in her life as the day she came home to find her childhood chicken “friends” on the dining table. “I have been vegetarian since I was 13, when I first realized the connection between what I ate and the animals slaughtered in the process,” she said. “I see all animals as friends and I feel my heart’s in the right place in wanting to protect them. “I turned vegan five years ago, about the same time that I created the animal rights organisation Vegan Warriors.” Following years in the music industry, playing personal assistant and publicist to the likes of Jimmy Barnes and The Divinyls, Jaylene decided to use her publicity skills and connections to champion a cause close to her heart. “I created Vegan Warriors because I wanted to use my skills in publicity and marketing to raise awareness about animal cruelty.”

Vegan Warriors’ latest campaign is against the controversial treatment of the Fraser Island dingo population, which has garnered support from celebrities including John Butler Trio, Xavier Rudd, Oka, Vanessa Amrosi and Paul McCartney’s ex-wife, Heather Mills. Jaylene is heading a campaign petitioning the government to stop the current management plan for the animals, which she says includes hazing, shooting, baiting and starving the dingoes and their pups. “The treatment of these animals is just disgusting,” she said. “There are reports of these animals emaciated and weak. The current management plan is pushing the species to the brink of extinction.” The Fraser Island dingoes are the purest strain of dingo left in Australia, due to their geographic isolation from mainland wild dogs. Control measures were increased after a dingo attacked and killed nine-year-old visitor Clinton Gage on Fraser Island in 2001. But Jaylene believes the current management plan is inhumane and needs to be stopped or drastically modified.

She says that the State Government is more concerned about tourism dollars than the welfare of the native animals. “Fraser Island is the only World Heritage Listed Site that does not have a cap on tourism. “The Government has no respect for these animals, and insists that there is no problem with the current management plan.” Jaylene is calling for an independent agency, informed by experts in the field, to take over the management of the dingoes. She also believes that land should be purchased on the island and set aside specifically for the dingoes. “Experts have said that relocation of the animals to another part of Australia will not be successful, as it is not ideal for the animals to be separated from the pack.” In addition to the host of national and international stars that have lent their support to the cause, local celebrities have come forward to offer a hand. “The help from these celebrities has been invaluable, both in raising publicity and awareness of the issue,” she said.

The latest offering is a painting donated by Sunshine Coast artist, Leigh Hutfield, to raise funds for the cause. “Wild Beauty of Fraser Island” is being displayed at the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital, and is on sale for $2500, with half the profits to go to the hospital. Since its launch, Vegan Warriors has been actively campaigning for the protection and better treatment of local fauna, including wombats and kangaroos, as well as focusing on factory farming. The organisation was created in response to a deficient of local animal activism. “I realised there was a real lack of an animal rights movement here on the Sunshine Coast and I decided that it was about time that somebody did something about it,” Jaylene said. Over the past five years she has assembled an army of supporters, including animal rights lawyers, solicitors, barristers, university lecturers and award-winning writers, but she extends an invitation to anyone that loves animals and wants to speak out against animal abuse to contact her and become involved. *Sunshine Coast Daily

Ed Comment; the reason the Queensland Labor Government wont change the Fraser Island dingo "management plan" is by doing so they will have to admit they got it wrong...for 20 years they have got it wrong! Back in the 90's when the "plan" was developed they didnt listen to the voices of commonsense in the community, they just went ahead with their own "experts" and did it all wrong. The Queensland Labor Government just doesnt have the capacity to admit they were wrong for 20 years and change the "plan"......simple as that.