ACT Kangaroos Set to Disappear
Based on the current kangaroo killing program of the ACT Government, the kangaroo is headed for complete eradication in the ACT, says kangaroo behaviourist Professor Steve Garlick. Professor Garlick has carried out more than 1500 kangaroo rescues, successfully rehabilitated more than 600 injured kangaroos and relocated more than 400 back to the wild, all on a voluntary basis. Animal Liberation ACT President Bernard Brennan states: ‘Through his day-to-day hands-on experience Professor Garlick probably knows more about the behaviour of the kangaroo than just about anyone.’ Professor Garlick said:
‘Using the ACT Government’s own data, and applying our intelligence about kangaroo fertility, development and morbidity, as well as the likely myopathy impact of the shooting, accidents and attacks, the residual 0.534 kangaroos per hectare the Government is aiming for in its current program of killing will mean kangaroo numbers in the six ACT reserves will never recover and will dwindle away to nothing over a surprisingly short time. In ten years I estimate there will be barely a few hundred kangaroos in total remaining in the ACT, assuming no more killing programs. As numbers continue to fall, other kangaroos will not migrate to the reserves from elsewhere, as poor planning has meant these reserves are fenced in, or bounded by major roads and suburbs.’ Mr Brennan added:
‘This target of 0.534 kangaroos per hectare is virtually half that identified by the ACT Government as sustainable in its evidence to the ACT Administrative Appeals Tribunal several years ago, in the Government’s own Kangaroo Management Plan, and in the research of the ACT Government ecologist’. Animal Liberation ACT is concerned that the ACT Government’s reckless kangaroo slaughter not only raises the spectre of significant acts of violence being perpetrated on an iconic and gentle native animal and its young, but also threatens the kangaroos ultimate survival in the ‘bush capital’. ACTAL Media Release 17th June 2011
Editorial; We are working on some serious wildlife issues that we will report on in due course, but there is a lot of kangaroo news at the bottom of this edition of Wildlife Bytes. Meanwhile, for our many readers concerned about live exports, an Inquiry into improvements in animal welfare for Australian live export markets is being held. The Committee encourages the lodgement of submissions in electronic form. Submissions can be lodged via the Online Submission System which can be accessed at: https://senate.aph.gov.au/submissions or can be sent by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Ducks Unlimited Fined
New York regulators have ordered the conservation group Ducks Unlimited to pay $100,000 in penalties for breaking environmental laws during restoration of the Shawangunk Grasslands National Wildlife Refuge, a former military airport in Ulster County. The state Department of Environmental Conservation said contractors destroyed habitat for threatened species, excavated tons of dirt without a permit and failed to control runoff into tributaries of the Wallkill River. The Middletown Times Herald-Record reports that DEC ordered Ducks Unlimited to pay a $37,500 fine and set aside an additional $62,500 for an undetermined project to benefit the environment. A Ducks Unlimited spokeswoman said the group was "disheartened that this problem occurred." The work, initiated last May, was part of a $799,000 federal project to expand the grasslands by covering old runways with soil. *SeattlePI Ed Comment; Ducks Unlimited is a shooters organisation that rehabilitates wetlands so they can shoot that ducks that fly in!
Threats to Wildlife
Now you can go here and input your thoughts on the threats to our unique and diminishing wildlife..... http://wildlifetourism.org.au/discussions/threats-to-australian-wildlife/
Malaysia has won its case against Australia's proposed Truth in Labelling - Palm Oil Bill. The Community Affairs Legislative Committee of the Australian Senate in Canberra has recommended that the Bill not be passed. Senator Claire Moore, who was the chair, said the committee is "not convinced that the issues surrounding the presence of palm oil in food products justify circumventing the existing food regulatory framework". "The committee considers that widespread and robust support from consumers, industry and conservation groups will be necessary to justify such intervention," Moore said. Independent senator Nick Xenophon moved for the Bill in late 2009. The committee said divisions were evident between industry bodies, between industry and consumer groups, and in some cases even between different conservation groups. "The committee is also concerned that, even were there strong support, intervention in this manner would cut across the current FSANZ (Food Standards Australia New Zealand Act) standards development process and state and territory laws," it said on the Australian Parliament website yesterday. *Business Times
Read more: Malaysia wins case against Aussie palm oil labelling Bill http://www.btimes.com.my/Current_News/BTIMES/articles/rup01602/Article/#ixzz1PTjH0lT1
Mouse Bait Warning
There are concerns in South Australia that grain growers aren't doing the right thing when it comes to baiting mice. Biosecurity SA has warned that if wildlife are poisoned, those involved face fines of up to $35,000. Its rural chemicals operations manager, Michael McManus, says he's heard farmers are mixing illegal baits and laying overdoses of commercial baits, which he says is unacceptable. "The products registered for in the field use, they've been tested for those situations and that's not so much of a risk," he said. "Where it's, I guess, a higher risk is that people stack baits around their houses that aren't registered for that use and birds that have access to those out in the open pick up a sort of concentrated dose." *ABC
Ed Comment; It appears that the mouse bait manufacturers, ACT, said it had been struggling to produce enough for the farmers, claiming it is an unprecedented outbreak. ACT developed the bait under the government's Co-operative Research Centres (CRC program) that provides funding to develop solutions to challenges facing specific industries. *
Malaysian wildlife officials rescued 32 tigers and a number of lions, along with other animals, from what they called on Tuesday a dirty and cramped private zoo. Zaaba Zainol Abidin, deputy director general of the wildlife and national parks department, said the animals, including 32 hybrid Siberian-Bengal tigers, were kept at the Saleng Zoo in southern Johor state in filthy conditions. "The design is bad. The water wasn't being changed, and it's so dirty. Even the droppings they didn't clean," he told AFP. The rescued animals are being transferred to a public zoo in Malacca and a wetland reserve in central Selangor state over several days, he said. He put the number of lions at eight or nine, and said crocodiles, bears and a black panther were also rescued after wildlife authorities refused to renew the zoo's permits to keep the mostly endangered animals. Zaaba said that the zoo had abused its permit in the past by purchasing an endangered tapir, a large forest-dwelling herbivorous mammal, from locals. Saleng zookeeper J. Sivapriyan said he opposed the seizure of the animals, adding that the enclosure for the animals was being enlarged. "I take care of the tigers, which are like my children," he told AFP. "I don't abuse the animals." Malaysia has pledged to better protect animals from abuse and illegal trade. A new wildlife law, which came into effect late last year, also aims to tighten control on zoos and circuses. Last year, Malaysia jailed Anson Wong, a rogue wildlife trader described as one of the world's most-wanted wildlife traffickers, for five years. *AFP
Meanwhile, Police in China who pulled over a vehicle involved in a hit and run accident were shocked to find a Siberian tiger in the boot. The 4WD vehicle had sped off after colliding with another car on a motorway near Yizhang in Hubei Province. Police intercepted it at the next toll gate, arrested the driver and then searched the vehicle. Officer Chen Yin said: "There was a strong stench coming from the boot so we opened it found something wrapped in a large canvas. "We unwrapped it and found a giant tiger sitting in a cage. We don't know why the man had it or where he was taking it but he didn't have any papers for it." Police are still investigating the case. The man remains in custody facing both motoring and wild animal offences. *Orange.co.uk
Queensland's Environment Minister Kate Jones will stand down from the Bligh Government ministry in a bid to fight the looming threat of LNP leader Campbell Newman in her inner Brisbane seat of Ashgrove. Jones today announced at a press conference in Ashgrove that she was stepping down to focus on her re-election campaign, saying she was "looking forward to a good, honest, clean contest". "He will have to fight me door to door, street to street, suburb to suburb, neighbourhood to neighbourhood in my community." "This is where I live, where I grew up and where I always want to be. " I want to make sure the people of Ashgrove continue to have someone who will serve them and stand up for our community. "There is no doubt the next election will be tough but I am determined to make sure this community has a strong voice." Ms Jones has held the inner Brisbane seat since 2006 but recent polls have suggested Mr Newman was poised to snatch victory. Sandgate MLA Vicki Darling is expected to replace Ms Jones as Environment Minister when Labor Caucus meets Monday afternoon. Nothing is expected to change under the new Minister. * WPAA
African Wildlife Disappearing
Major national parks and wildife reserves across Africa lost up to 60% of their lions, giraffes, buffalo and other large wild animals between 1970 and 2005, raising the spectre of wildlife on the continent soon being confined to isolated pockets dependent on international money for protection. Researchers at the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and the University of Cambridge studied animal population changes at 78 protected areas across Africa and found the steepest falls in west Africa, where up to 85% of wildlife had been lost in the last 35 years, and in east Africa, where nearly half of all wildlife has disappeared. The research, which was collated from parks including popular tourist safari destinations such as the Masai Mara in Kenya and the Serengeti in Tanzania, and published last year, found increases only in southern Africa. The cause of the continent-wide decline has been attributed mainly to the lack of money and people needed to police parks, as well as the encroachment of humans on animal habitats. In addition, war and the growing bushmeat trade is said to have decimated populations. *Guardian.uk Raed more ... http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/jun/20/africa-declining-wildlife
But for the red tag in her ear and some fading scars, Frodo looked like any other koala as she scampered up a towering eucalyptus tree. The moment marked a return to the wild for the furry critter who tugged on the state's heart strings when she was found blasted with shotgun pellets next to her dead mother last year. Since then, Frodo has staged a remarkable recovery, overcoming horrific injuries to be released back into the bush by her carers from the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital. Vet Amber Gillett, who nursed Frodo back from the brink, said their final goodbye on the Sunshine Coast was sweet, but emotional. There were moments when she didn't believe Frodo would pull through. Her injuries included a fractured skull and terrible internal injuries from 15 shotgun pellets found lodged in her tiny body. "Releasing Frodo back into the wild was a great feeling. She was such a special case," Dr Gillett said yesterday. "When Frodo was admitted, she was a very sick little girl and her chance of survival was unknown. "She was at risk for several months from succumbing to lead poisoning from the number of pellets in her tiny body. Luckily she overcame that." Australia Zoo rescue unit chief Brian Coulter said everything possible had been done to prepare Frodo for her new life back in the bush, including a period of minimal contact in the lead-up to her release. Frodo's carers aren't saying exactly when or where she was released. They are hoping they have seen the last of her and she will not again require their help. *Courier Mail Ed Comment; the offender who shot Frodo has never been found.
Overfishing and pollution putting fish, sharks and whales in extreme danger - with extinction 'inevitable', study finds. Fish, sharks, whales and other marine species are in imminent danger of an "unprecedented" and catastrophic extinction event at the hands of humankind, and are disappearing at a far faster rate than anyone had predicted, a study of the world's oceans has found. Mass extinction of species will be "inevitable" if current trends continue, researchers said. Overfishing, pollution, run-off of fertilisers from farming and the acidification of the seas caused by increasing carbon dioxide emissions were combining to put marine creatures in extreme danger, according to the report from the International Programme on the State of the Ocean, prepared at the first international workshop to consider all of the cumulative stresses affecting the oceans at Oxford University. *Age Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/environment/conservation/shocking-state-of-oceans-threatens-mass-extinction-20110621-1gco9.html#ixzz1PwnQW3CK
Tasmania's Parks and Wildlife Service and Marine Police are investigating the illegal fishing of gummy sharks from a protected area near Port Sorell. The remains of at least nine gummy sharks and unborn baby sharks were foundon the shore of the Rubicon river near Squeaking Point. Parks and Wildlife northern manager Chris Colley said the Rubicon was classified as a shark refuge area and taking them was illegal. The public is asked to call Fishwatch on 0427 655 557 with any information about that offence or any other fishing offences. *Mercury
The Far North's most famous aquatic holidaymaker is speeding along the humpback highway to get to the Great Barrier Reef. Migaloo, the world’s only known all-white humpback whale, was spotted swimming off the northern coast of Fraser Island on Sunday. He has joined a record number of humpbacks making their annual migration to the warm Reef water from Antarctica. Oskar Peterson, founder of the Gold Coast-based White Whale Research Centre, estimated it could take Migaloo between two or three weeks to reach Cairns. "Over the last couple of years, it hasn’t taken him long to get to Cairns and beyond," Mr Peterson said. Migaloo, an Aboriginal word for "white fella", was spotted off Port Douglas in mid-July last year. Mr Peterson believed the whale’s early appearance in Queensland waters may be a result of flooding on the mid-north coast of NSW. "He’s probably avoided all of the coastal areas of New South Wales because of the rain," he said. "He doesn’t like freshwater run-off, like most whales don’t." There are estimates at least 13,500 whales will head north this year, with the first humpbacks of the season seen by dive boats off Cairns late last month. *Cairns.com.au
Wildlife Road Toll
Animals are the forgotten victims of the road toll, states a leaflet urging Mornington Peninsula drivers to slow down and watch for wildlife. While the human road toll in Victoria stands at 294 so far this financial year -just two more than in 2009-10 - the brochure warns that native animals are being killed at unprecedented rates on the Mornington Peninsula, threatening the survival of some species. In an effort to arrest the carnage, the information pamphlet titled Speed kills wildlife too has been produced by the Australian Wildlife Protection Council and financed by Mornington Peninsula Shire. The AWPC says more than 6400 native animals were killed on Mornington Peninsula roads between October 2007 and February 2010, including 2500 birds, 1365 ringtail possums, 445 kangaroos, 322 koalas and 164 echidnas. Many die a slow, painful death and leave orphaned young which will also perish. As reported previously in the Weekly, almost all the koalas that end up in the refuge of Tyabb wildlife carer Jenny Bryant have been hit by cars and their numbers are increasing.
AWPC president Maryland Wilson said the massacre continued to rise along with traffic volumes on peninsula roads - "the situation for wildlife is absolutely dire". Rosebud-based ecologist Malcolm Legg, who worked on the pamphlet with AWPC, said animals were being run over throughout the peninsula, but especially near tracts of bushland such as Greens Bush, Devilbend Reservoir and state and national parks. He said roads transected ancient routes followed by animals to get to water and feeding and breeding grounds. Animals could also be attracted to roads to scavenge on dead animals and rubbish or, as in the case of reptiles, to bask on the warm bitumen. Mr Legg said motorists who found an injured animal should remove it from the road, if safe to do so, and call the 24-hour statewide Help for Wildlife on 0417380687. The pamphlet urges drivers to:
Be alert and take note of wildlife warning signs; Honk their horns to scare away animals; Move dead animals, if safe to do so, to discourage partners or scavenging animals becoming a road statistic; Slow down, particularly between dusk and dawn, when native animals are most active; Check the pouches of dead animals for live young; Refrain from littering as food scraps attracted animals to the road. The leaflet will be distributed throughout tourism and wildlife networks. To obtain copies, call Maryland Wilson on 59788570 or email email@example.com *Peninsula Weekly
St Andrews residents are calling for motorists to slow down and stop the carnage on the township’s winding roads. Wildhaven wildlife carer Stella Reid said six kangaroos had died this month after being hit by cars in and around the town. She said motorists were constantly ignoring Heidelberg-Kinglake Rd’s 60km/h speed limit. “I do the limit along there and constantly get tooted off the road or have a car come right up behind me,” she said. “They then overtake and speed right past.” Caledonia St resident Nick Bean said he was awoken by a “long screech” and “dull thud” about 4.30am on May 30. He rushed outside to find a dying kangaroo on the road. “By the time I arrived the driver had gone. They didn’t even stop,” Mr Bean said. “This happens all too frequently. On Friday and Saturday nights you can get people going past doing more than 100km/h.” Mrs Reid said most drivers continued after hitting wildlife. She said a woman who stopped, on Buttermans Track in April, found a joey with a broken foot. Later named Buttercup, the joey survived but her mother died. “The lady said she was on the phone while speeding home about 11pm,” Mrs Reid said. “She wasn’t concentrating and would have stopped if she saw it.” Sgt Wayne Burton said police constantly monitored St Andrews with mobile radars. Residents with specific speeding issues should contact police. Details: 9438 8300. Have you seen wildlife killed on our roads? Spread the word at diamondvalleyleader.com.au *
Another death in WA last week from a motorcyclist hitting a kangaroo, and a death yesterday in the US from a motorcyclist hitting a turkey, has sparked concern about more need for motorcyclists to be aware of wildlife on the roads. But aside from effective clothing and safety gear one safety insructor says there is one key thing motorcyclists can practice that will help them avoid crashing into animals. He says motorcyclists need to practice their stopping skills on their motorcycle. Stopping a motorcycle involves hands and feet, all four of them working at once, and it's not the easiest thing to stop properly and safely, so it takes practice. Its also something that is not taught adequately in motorcylce riding courses. He says when you're driving a motorcycle you should be constantly scanning for animals, and if you see one start slowing down immediately, because animals can be unpredictable. Another safety instructor says if a motorcyclist is about to hit an animal, they should aim for the rear end, as the animal is probably trying to get off the road, and they rarely tun around. If it's going to be close, he says, aim for the rear end of the animal as it is the lightest section to hit, and generally animals wont turn around to avoid you. Once they get moving, they rarely turn around to go another direction (except for kangaroos, of course, they can bounce anywhere!) He also claims that excess speed in areas where wildlife may be is another factor. As an ex-motorcyclist who still hobbles around from hitting a horse on a motorcycle, this editor agrees that one of the most important safety issues for a motorcycle rider, is having the ability to stop a motorcycle quickly without crashing, and on all road surfaces.
Motorists left with expensive repair bills from collisions with wandering kangaroos around Tower Hill have been given a ray of hope by a lawyer’s opinion the state government may have to pay compensation. Western District Law Association president Tony Robinson ignited renewed interest in the debate by raising the question that Parks Victoria had a duty of care for the volcanic nature reserve and its native animal population. His comments follow community debate stirred by Moyne Shire Council mayor Jim Doukas this week who called for a cull of kangaroos and wallabies. He said they were overpopulated and crossing into the path of motorists on the Princes Highway and Tower Hill rim road. Mr Robinson, when asked by The Standard for an opinion, said although no compensation was available for motorists hitting kangaroos in the wild, it could be argued Tower Hill was different. “Maybe payment could be claimed against the state if they have care of the nature reserve where it might be said that numbers have been increasing and too many have been getting out,” he said. “Might there be a claim against the state?” Cr Doukas and police have told The Standard of at least 20 reported collisions involving native animals around Tower Hill in the past two years and believed others went unreported.
They want better fencing around the reserve and warned motorists to drive carefully. The shire last year rejected a police call for lower speed zones on the rim road, but local residents are raising the issue again with a petition at the Koroit Post Office calling for speed reductions. Cr Doukas’ comments published earlier this week claiming collisions with kangaroos were a bigger issue than wandering livestock angered Koroit mother-of-five Jo Quarrell, who spent five days in hospital after hitting cows at Illowa. She said yesterday the crash left her with neck and back injuries and a big bill to replace her wrecked vehicle. “Cr Doukas complained about bills for drivers hitting kangaroos, but I got no compensation for my vehicle hitting cows,” she said. “I understand the farmer was fined about $300 for his cattle escaping, but I was advised because his fences were in good order and the gate had been left open by a third party, he wouldn’t have to pay my damages. “Why should I have to pay my insurance excess. “I’m a single mum with five children and will have to buy another suitable vehicle. Ms Quarrell said if she drives around Tower Hill she knows there are kangaroos and slows down, “but you don’t expect to run into 12 cows in the middle of the highway at five-to-seven on a Friday night”. Mr Robinson and another Warrnambool lawyer, Adam Kempton, said there were avenues for motorists to pursue compensation for damage by stock.* Standard
Parks Victoria has not ruled out culling kangaroos and wallabies at Tower Hill as it considers how to reduce safety risks for drivers on the perimeter road and Princes Highway. The issue made Standard headlines yesterday after Moyne Shire mayor Cr Jim Doukas said decisive action was needed to trim the population explosion of kangaroos and wallabies. As the edition hit breakfast tables a motorist crashed into a wallaby which bounded into his path on the Tower Hill rim road about 7am. The wallaby was killed on impact and the driver faces a repair bill of several hundred dollars. Ranger in charge, Ben Hammond, said his department was committed to reducing safety risks "where reasonably possible". "Parks Victoria is in co-operation with Moyne Shire, VicRoads, Department of Sustainability and Environment, wildlife carers and Victoria Police to progress towards better fencing, signage, speed reduction on local roads and logging of incidents," he said. "It is important to implement a variety of measures to reduce risks to drivers and culling would only be undertaken as part of a broader plan." In response to Cr Doukas' comparision with controls placed on farmers in keeping cattle off roads, Mr Hammon said "Australian wildlife is not uncommon in country areas and is the shared responsibility of the community, which is a different situation to managing livestock".
Koroit policeman Sergeant Pat McKinnon urged drivers to be cautious. He said police knew of about 20 crashes with wildlife near Tower Hill during the two years plus others that were not reported. "I've had several meetings with Parks Victoria and wrote to the shire about a reduced speed limit," Sergeant McKinnon said. "Advisory signs alerting drivers to kangaroos have been installed, but unfortunately some have been stolen. "In January a lady came within five metres of going over the side after swerving to avoid a roo." Cr Doukas yesterday said he had positive response in the community and from other councillors to his suggestion of culling. He took the issue a step further by suggesting if a cull was authorised the carcasses could be taken to an abattoir for processing. *Standard
NMIT Kangaroo Kill
Wildlife activists protesting against a kangaroo cull in Eden Park say they doubt the Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE will reassess the kangaroo population, as advised by an independent consultant. NMIT was granted a permit by the Department of Sustainability and Environment to cull 300 kangaroos at its 320ha equine centre last October. EcoPlan Australia recommended the cull in a report after doing research in Eden Park. The report estimated 710 kangaroos were on the property, give or take 70, and suggested 900 kangaroos should be destroyed over three years. The EcoPlan management plan recommended the roo population should be counted annually in June or July. A spokeswoman for the Department of Sustainability and Environment, who did not want to be named, would not say whether the count would be conducted. “DSE has approved an Authority to Control Wildlife Permit for kangaroos at Eden Park,” she said. “The permit issued to NMIT is for 12 months. A new population assessment would need to be conducted at this site as part of the application for any future permits.”
NMIT again refused to comment on the issue, a stance it has maintained since October. The Australian Society for Kangaroos has maintained a four-month vigil around the NMIT boundary and has intervened at the first sign of shooting. Society spokeswoman Fiona Corke challenged the methods used by EcoPlan to determine the initial population. “(They) used transect lines, which means you walk down a line and take down how many kangaroos you see,” Ms Corke said. “Then they walk down another line and count, but who’s to say you’re not seeing the same kangaroos twice? “And this was done over three days, so these kangaroos may have been criss-crossing over the site. “We have very little faith in this count,” Ms Corke said. * Leader Make a comment here http://whittlesea-leader.whereilive.com.au/news/story/bouncing-figures-around/
Canberra Kangaroo Doco
The ACT's kangaroo culls are to be brought to an international audience again with the release of a documentary about Canberra's roo population and the Government's attempt to control it. The film, Kangaroo Mob, is scheduled to be shown around Australia on ABC TV later this year and international distribution deals have already been signed. Local animal rights activists predict another outcry over the ACT Government's controversial culls when the film hits TV screens around the world. The film crew, from Melbourne production outfit 360 Degree Films, spent a year following a group of Canberra kangaroos, and the Territory and Municipal Services ecologists who track them. The crew followed a small group of eastern greys, part of the Government's tagging and tracking program, recording the animals' movements around the capital's nature parks and suburbs. ''Kangaroo Mob follows a few remarkable urban roos to provide a warm and entertaining look at what happens when human development encroaches and two very different species are forced to co-exist,'' the producers' pre-publicity says.
But the film crew found it impossible to avoid the annual cull. Promotional material for the film says the producers were initially given permission by the ACT Government to film last year's cull but consent was withdrawn. Producer Sally Ingleton said the crew's access to the cull was then reduced to following protesters around the city. Kangaroo Mob is being distributed internationally by National Geographic and has already been sold to TV stations in several European countries. More deals are expected. Animal Liberation ACT president and veteran anti-cull protester Bernard Brennan said international exposure would stir up sentiment against the cull. ''I think it's fantastic and this exposure is long overdue,'' he said. ''As you'll see in the documentary, the science behind the cull just doesn't stack up and they're killing our national emblem. 'The way they did it out in Belconnen; that's the worst massacre of wildlife I've seen.'' The activist said it might be an ''interesting evening'' if all the participants in the documentary, activist, ecologists and government officials, gathered in Canberra for a screening. ''The producers have promised that they would hold a screening for all the people who are in the film. But that might be an interesting evening, because there are some people there who don't want to be in the same room, ever,'' Mr Brennan said. *Canberra Times
The next time you hop down to your nearest electronics store to buy a new pouch for your iPad, be aware it could be made from kangaroo. OK, so the new marsupial-based tablet case likely won't be appearing at your local Best Buy since it's considered a luxury item by its creator, an Australian man named Arnold Aranez who also blogs under the pseudonym of "Mr. Gadget." But the case will soon be available for $199.95 as the first of several device cases made out of kangaroo leather. In his statement touting the new kangaroo-based case, Aranez goes to great lengths to describe the virtues of using kangaroos as material for high-end device cases. "Very simply, kangaroo leather is the best-performing leather in the world," he writes. "In fact, the fiber structure of kangaroo leather is the strongest of any readily available leather." The press release then describes, without listing any citations, some "recent studies" that suggest "links between the kangaroo fiber matrix and that of birds and reptiles." The press release then states kangaroos' skins are particularly strong because they "needed to survive in the harshest environments against multiple predators," thus making kangaroo leather "ideally suited to shielding tablets and smartphones from the slings and arrows of modern life." *NetworkWorld http://www.networkworld.com/news/2011/061711-ipad-kangaroo.html?hpg1=bn