Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Wildlife Bytes 30/6/11

Leading Stories


The population of dugongs living off the Townsville coast has taken another hit with a carcass spotted on Sunday. The dead animal was spotted by a fishing charter company and appeared to have been floating for some time. Townsville Fishing Charters operator Michael Walsh said he had been saddened to see the remains of the dugong about halfway between Rattlesnake Island and Magnetic Island. He said he had not seen a dugong in Townsville waters since beginning the company about a year ago. "It's just very sad to see," he said. The Department of Environment and Resource Management said it would not be investigating the death because the current would have moved it far from where it was sighted. However, Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service acting regional manager for marine Justine Douglas said a dead dugong was also reported yesterday on a beach near the mouth of Crystal Creek. Ms Douglas said staff would investigate the sighting of the beached carcass today at Crystal Creek when tides allowed. "This may not be the dugong that was reported seen at sea," she said.

Dugongs are listed as a vulnerable species under Queensland's Nature Conservation Act 1992, as well as nationally. Threats to the species include the danger of dugongs being hit by boats and other watercrafts as they rise to the surface to breathe in shallow waters above seagrass beds or coral reefs. Dugongs are also under threat from diminishing food sources with seagrass affected by the impact of factors such as pollution and high boat traffic. Other direct threats to the gentle species include being caught in fishing nets. The marine creatures have been known to grow up to 3m long and weigh as much as 400kg. In April, rangers were called to Magnetic Island after a 2.6m dugong carcass washed ashore at Nelly Bay. The department said the creature appeared to have died of natural causes. Wildlife Queensland president Simon Baltais said the population of dugongs and turtles had been affected by the extended period of wild weather. Mr Baltais said flooding had caused in higher silt levels in the water which blocked sunlight for seagrass to grow. He said there was a threat of the marine creatures starving because of the depleted amount of seagrass. Anyone who spots a dead dugong is encouraged to report it to the department on 1300 130 372. *Townsville Bulletin

Flying Foxes

The latest bat-borne Hendra virus outbreak has prompted renewed calls for a cull of flying fox colonies in the state. Scenic Rim Mayor John Brent, whose council takes in the affected area, said the State Government needed to urgently assess ways to protect horses by limiting or moving bat colonies. Cr Brent said the link between the bats and the fatal disease was known. "It's not sufficient to turn our backs on the root cause of the problem," he said. "Governments and their agencies were well aware of the cause of the Hendra virus and proactive action needs to be taken to address that issue where the bats are in some overwhelming numbers." Sunshine Coast horse owner Rebecca Day, who was exposed to Hendra virus last year, backed the call. "I don't believe they (flying foxes) should be protected. I do believe they are a pest and danger, not only to animals but to humans as well, and they should be seen as that," she said. "These are in plague proportions so I really think something needs to be done about it. "I'd definitely support some sort of cull or something to eradicate or move them." *Courier Mail Read more ...


A reward of $5000 is up for grabs for anyone who can help authorities find the killers of two rare dolphins. The snubfin dolphins were found tied to mangroves and weighed down by concrete blocks at Toolakea Beach, north of Townsville, last month. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) says it appears the dolphins were accidentally caught in fishing nets and the people responsible tried to conceal the bodies. The World Wildlife Fund is now offering a $5000 reward donated by ING Direct for anyone with information that can lead to the people responsible for the dolphins' death. WWF Australia chief executive Dermot O'Gorman said he hoped the reward would encourage people to speak. Crime Stoppers Queensland is assisting Queensland Police and the GBRMPA. Crime Stoppers can be contacted 24 hours a day. *AAP

Koala Fundraiser

Join performers and experts, as they raise awareness (and funds!) on the plight of the koalas in south-east Queensland. The evening will include: Film : the premiere screening of the documentary - Making Room for Koalas by Livesmart Videos, Drama : The Last Wild Koala, Music : Nina Centaine and Josh Halverson, Guest speakers, Q and A local koala action groups. A Raffle of locally donated items and services. All tickets just $22 Book online See it on Youtube - *Save the earth..... It's the only planet with chocolate!*

New Species Found

Scientists have made spectacular discoveries of more than a thousand new species on the island of New Guinea and its waters from 1998 to 2008, according to environmental group World Wildlife Fund (WWF). The remarkable finds total 1,060 new species, but due to a poor planning and unsustainable development in the country, many of these unique creatures are at risk of becoming endangered or extinct, a WWF report finds. The paper -- Final Frontier: Newly Discovered species of New Guinea (1998 – 2008) -- shows that the research has yielded positive results into the discovery of 218 plants, 43 reptiles, 12 mammals, 580 invertebrates, 134 amphibians, 2 birds and 71 fish species. “This report shows that New Guinea's forests and rivers are among the richest and most bio-diverse in the world,” WWF's Western Melanesia program representative, Neil Stronach, told AFP. “But it also shows us that unchecked human demand can push even the wealthiest environments to bankruptcy,” he added. *RedOrbit

Fraser Island DIngoes

Here is a must watch Video on how DERM are interfering with the Fraser Island dingoes.


Efforts are being made to move a flock of ibises which is contaminating wetlands in Adelaide's north-east. The number of Australian white ibises has doubled recently to about 200 at the Roy Amer Reserve at Oakden. Water from the wetlands no longer can be used to replenish the reserve's lakes or on surrounding grass. A resident, Dennis Hehir, says his house is right in the firing line of the birds' smell. "We've got to very careful which way the wind's blowing when we turn on the air-conditioning in the summer because if it happens to be coming across this way, we turn the air-conditioner on and the house will fill up with a stench, so we've got to be very careful with opening the windows here as well," he said. Port Adelaide-Enfield Council has distributed a brochure to residents asking them not to feed the birds as it tries to move them away from the area. Council official George Levay hopes the public's help will overcome the dilemma. "My main message to the community is not to feed the birds because the supplementary feeding is what has the biggest impact on them messing the wetland environment," he said. Alison Derry has been employed by the council to create a control management plan for the reserve. Ms Derry says the birds have migrated from New South Wales and Queensland and are driving out ducks and coots. *Network Item

Tassie Devils

Efforts to save the Tasmanian devil from extinction have been given a boost by the publication of the entire genetic sequence of two devils. Tasmanian devils are small carnivorous marsupials, native to Tasmania. The remaining population is in dramatic decline due to a highly contagious cancer called devil facial tumour disease (DFTD). Thirty scientists from Australia, Denmark and the USA collaborated on the study, which is published in this week's edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Former Australian researcher Professor Vanessa Hayes of the J Craig Venter Institute in San Diego - and one of the study's three lead authors - says DFTD was first spotted in 1996. "This is one of two transmissible cancers that we know of," she said. She says it is an aggressive disease with 100 per cent mortality. It causes death by starvation within two years of an animal contracting the disease. *ABC


Japan's coast guard has reportedly been asked to send a patrol boat to protect whalers from militant activists in the Antarctic. Japan's Kyodo news agency is reporting the fisheries ministry has asked the coast guard to dispatch a boat to protect the whaling fleet during this season's hunt. But it is believed the coast guard is reluctant to send a boat to the Antarctic, arguing it has no legal basis to do so. During the last whaling season, Sea Shepherd activists obstructed Japan's fleet by throwing bottles of butyric acid at ships and attempting to foul their propellers. The four whaling ships were forced to return home early after catching less than 10 per cent of their quota. * Network Item


A moving sunset display featuring 2000 candle-lit lanterns capped off an eventful day at Torquay Beach on the weekend as crowds reflected on the importance of protecting Hervey Bay's iconic humpback whales. Wildlife Crusader Bob Irwin was among the 600 people who registered for the annual Paddle Out for Whales. He officially opened the day with a speech on the importance of conserving Australia's wildlife, including the whales, before jumping in a canoe with activist Vicki Neville. Backpackers, local business owners and conservation conscious locals formed a circle out on the Bay and released flowers representing the number of whales killed in the Antarctic during the last Japanese hunting season. Organiser Amanda French said numbers were up on previous years and thanked those who had donated their time. *Fraser Coast Chronicle

Southern Right Whales Return

After being hunted to local extinction more than a century ago and unable to remember their ancestral calving grounds, the southern right whales of mainland New Zealand are coming home. A new study published today has shown for the first time that whales from a small surviving population around remote, sub-Antarctic islands have found their way back to the New Zealand mainland. Before the onslaught of 19th century whaling, historical records suggest that up to 30,000 of these impressive whales once migrated each winter to New Zealand's many sandy, well-protected bays to give birth and raise their calves. As a particularly social and acrobatic species, they could be seen from shore as they frolicked, slapped their tails and breached almost entirely out of the water. And now they're coming back, according to researchers from Oregon State University, the University of Auckland and other institutions. The findings were just published in Marine Ecology Progress Series. "We used DNA profiling to confirm that seven whales are now migrating between the sub-Antarctic islands and mainland New Zealand," said Scott Baker, associate director of the Marine Mammal Institute at OSU who initiated a study of these whales in 1995. *Underwater Times
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Kangaroo Dreaming

Miners want to run a slurry line to Maria Island from an iron ore deposit, writes Lindsay Murdoch in the Gulf of Carpentaria. They are unaware that an island they plan to develop in the Gulf of Carpentaria is a deeply sacred place for Aborigines, who believe there is a poisonous tree there that will kill them. Elders from the Marra indigenous group are angry that they have not been asked about Maria Island, where they believe the Kangaroo Dreaming travelled from the central desert before reaching its final resting place and should never be disturbed. They say miners will be unaware of the traditional song lines and creation stories of indigenous clans that are custodians of the island, including the story of the poisonous sheoak tree. The island, part of which is claimed under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act, is also home to the endangered golden bandicoot and is the only place in Australia where three types of turtles lay their eggs. *Age
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Pearl ship workers have witnessed a rare sight in nature - a huge crocodile attacking a turtle. The life-and-death struggle in Knocker Bay, east of Darwin, went on for more than 10 minutes. The saltie won. Pearl chipper Mark Beverley, 25, of Darwin, filmed the battle from a Paspaley boat. "We didn't know what was happening at first," he said. "We thought it was a shark. It was only when we got closer that we realised it was a massive crocodile killing a turtle. "The croc didn't mind us even when we got very close." The turtle put up a good fight but the saltie eventually crushed its shell. *NT News

Climate Change

West Antarctica's biggest glacier is melting 50 per cent faster than in 1994, adding to a global increase in sea levels, US and UK scientists found. The Pine Island glacier is losing about 78 cubic kilometrs (30 cubic miles) of ice per year, the researchers at Columbia University in New York and the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge, England, said today. That's up from 53 cubic kilometes in 1994. The study in the journal Nature Geoscience is based on data from a 2009 expedition. Scientists are grappling to understand how much Antarctica's ice could contribute to higher sea-levels after the United Nations in 2007 predicted they'll rise by 18 to 59 centimetres this century. Just how much of that will come from the southern continent remains uncertain. *Age
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Employees of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR-7) in Central Visayas, (Philipines) students and other local government officials planted over 10,000 mangrove propagules yesterday that covered about 10,000 square meters of coastlines within the 1,028-hectare Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary in Lapulapu City. DENR-7 regional executive director Maximo Dichoso said, we want to ensure the integrity of the coastal resources by way of mangrove tree planting and coastal cleanup activities and soliciting the help of the communities and other stakeholders. “Mangroves are salt tolerant, woody, seed-bearing plants ranging in size from small shrubs to tall trees. They occur along sheltered inter-tidal coastlines and in association with estuaries and lagoons,” Dichoso explained. Although mangroves occur on saline soils they have the usual plant requirements of freshwater, nutrients, and oxygen, Dichoso continued. The Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary in Lapulapu City is the Philippines first wetland of international importance for waterfowl and covers vast mangrove forest. * Read more


Professional marksmen have shot more than half the kangaroos in six Canberra reserves, in the territory's latest cull. But the cull was a respite of sorts for the kangaroos, with 2439 killed, compared with the original target of up to 3427. A range of factors saved the kangaroos from being shot in greater numbers, TAMS Parks and Conservation Service manager Daniel Iglesias said. These included a full moon during the 14 nights set aside for shooting, which helped the animals see and evade trackers, and cold weather, which encouraged them to stay beneath tree cover overnight. Mulligans Flat, Goorooyaroo, Mt Painter, Callam Brae, Jerrabomberra West and Kama nature reserves were closed for the culls on June 3 and re-opened yesterday. Mr Iglesias said teams counted 4482 kangaroos in the reserves, calculating a sustainable population to be little more than 1000. Last year contractors shot and buried 1890 kangaroos.

Mr Iglesias said rangers would monitor the effect this year's smaller-than-planned cull had on the fauna in Canberra's reserves in deciding next year's cull. But, he said, there had been little choice but to remove the burden burgeoning kangaroo populations placed on the reserves. ''Wherever you remove the natural predator of an animal like a kangaroo, in this case the thylacine and the dingo, they can do really, really well and they degrade the natural environment.'' Animal Liberation ACT president Bernard Brennan said the group's volunteers were searching reserves for joeys that had been left behind by the cull. And he rejected suggestions that without the cull species like the legless lizard were in danger of losing their habitat and food source. 'Basically they're all doomed anyhow, including the kangaroos,'' he said. ''Until we can establish wildlife corridors for all the animals including the kangaroos, they're doomed.'' *Canberra Times Ed Comment; the ABC states 900 joeys (baby kangaroos) were also killed.

Meanwhile the ABC reports that the National Parks and Wildlife Service has issued a warning to landholders on the Monaro in the New South Wales south east about the illegal shooting of kangaroos. The organisation's Bombala office has received reports of "roo drives", in which people are killing the animals without a licence. Fines of up to $11,000 can be issued for the offence, or jail terms of up to six months. The Area Manager of the Service, Franz Peters, says recent conditions have led to an increase in the kangaroo population. "You're not finding them on the roads as much anymore," he said. "They're breeding up because the conditions are really good. "And they're competing of course with the livestock that farmers have in their paddocks, and that's when problems occur. "The majority of people do the right thing, and all we're doing is trying to reiterate that point, that we want people to come into the office, and apply for a licence." **

Weedy Sea Dragons

The WA Government has agreed to declare the weedy sea dragon a protected species following a community campaign that saw the involvement of internationally recognised conservationist Sir David Attenborough. Fisheries Minister Norman Moore said the recreational harvesting of the marine creatures would be prohibited under new regulations to be approved by the State Government. Currently recreational fishers can take up to 30 of the delicate sea horse-like animals every day, a situation that has led to concerns of overfishing. “That potentially exposes the weedy sea dragon to unsustainable harvests, and unnecessary risk, which is easily managed by declaring them a protected species,” Mr Moore said. “The weedy sea dragons are related to sea horses and considered by some cultures as highly valuable for alternative medicine. "Making them a protected species removes any risk of this becoming an issue in WA waters and I was happy to support the change,” he said. The Cottesloe Coastcare Association and the Wilderness Society have been calling for the creature to be given the same protection in WA that it enjoys in the rest of Australia.

Earlier this month Sir David Attenborough lent his support to the campaign, describing the weedy sea dragon as being “among the most astounding, beautiful and beguiling creatures on the planet”. CCA spokeswoman Robyn Benken welcomed the Government decision today and said it was a victory for grass roots community campaigning. “It’s great it has been driven by a small community group that is very passionate about the weedy. “We have also been assisted by small dive organisations that have until now been unable to develop small tourist ventures around the weedy for fears the sea dragons would be taken,” Ms Benken said. Mr Moore said licensed operators would still be allowed to take wild weedy sea dragons from the ocean for use in the aquarium trade. He said commercial collection was monitored by the Department of Fisheries and this would continue to ensure catches remained at historically low levels. “This fishery has been assessed as sustainable, so it is important it continues to be managed sustainably and that this unique species is protected for future generations,” he said. Weedy sea dragons are found only in the waters of southern Australia and have been protected in every other State. *The


Dingoes have become such a problem in the state's (Sth Australia) north that the local MP is calling for the introduction of a $200-a-head bounty. Farmers are warning the viability of some sheep farming could be at risk if dingo numbers continue to grow. Liberal MP for Stuart Dan van Holst Pellekaan has told Parliament the dingoes are "ravaging pastoral stock in SA below the dog fence" which is meant to keep them out of farming areas. "The difficulty with dingoes is they are extremely hard to shoot, to poison and to trap," Mr van Holst Pellekaan said. Dingoes are pushing south because the bumper season in the Outback is providing ideal breeding conditions. A property near Broken Hill has lost 3000 lambs to dingoes in the past two years. Dingoes are supposed to be kept out of pastoral areas by the 5320km dog fence, which runs from outside Brisbane to the Nullarbor Plain.

South of the fence, dingoes are prescribed pests which can be shot or baited. "I believe that we ought to have a system whereby people who shoot a dingo can claim a bounty from the government," Mr van Holst Pellekaan said. He said he believed the only people who should collect the bounty would be pastoralists with leases below the dog fence who were already taking part in other government programs for the culling of dingoes. SA Farmers' Federation president Peter White said reports from the pastoral country showed there could be as many as 200 dingoes breeding. "We have seen some substantial stock losses in some areas," he said. He welcomed the idea of a bounty, saying "anything we can do to reduce these numbers is certainly a good idea". If dingo numbers continued to grow, the viability of running sheep in some areas could be at risk. The Government is unlikely to support the move with Environment Department chief executive Allan Holmes saying four major studies on bounty systems in Australia had concluded they were flawed. He said Natural Resource Management boards were best placed to deal with regional problems of this sort and bounties were not one of the recommended methods. *SA News


A university researcher says minority groups are overshadowing the debate about marine animal deaths near Gladstone in central Queensland. Almost 30 green turtles, and six dugongs and dolphins, have washed up dead in the area in the past few months. Conservationists are demanding a permanent ban on commercial net fishing near the Boyne River. Professor Jamie Seymour says people are drawing too many conclusions while evidence is being gathered. "It's really easy to blame somebody without any data, so it's really easy to stand up and go it's due to net fishing ... it's quite easy to argue that point but I don't know if it's that simple, these things seldom ever are and there's always other things that affect on top of that," Professor Seymour said. *ABC

Meanwhile, The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) says cold weather could be causing a spike in turtle deaths around Townsville in north Queensland. GBRMPA species conservation expert Dr Mark Read says turtles normally suffer in colder conditions but it is too early to know if that is the reason for the deaths. "In winter time when it starts to get really, really cold we do see animals start to be a little bit lethargic," he said. "Turtles are cold-blooded so their body temperature is controlled by the temperature of the ocean and the air. "With the drop in temperature in winter animals that might be sick or injured succumb to the cold." The Queensland Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM) began catching sick turtles yesterday to try and establish a cause for the deaths. Some researchers believe the phenomenon could be related to freshwater run-off from Cyclone Yasi in January. The Sea Turtle Foundation says the number of turtles washed-up is unprecedented. It is concerned there may be many more unreported turtle deaths at isolated beaches. Foundation project manager Julie Traweek says the information comes mainly come from popular beaches. "The ones that have been reported have been mainly from Pallarenda and on Magnetic Island," she said. "There are a lot of beaches in our area that are remote and aren't covered, so the one's we're hearing about are in the populated areas. "There's probably a lot more we're not hearing about." *ABC

Sawlogs go to China

Thousands of tonnes of high-quality sawlogs from Victoria's bushfire-devastated Central Highlands forests (near Healesville) are being secretly shipped to China, against state government policy, The Wilderness Society has revealed. "Whole sawlogs have never been exported from Victoria before, the practice has always been banned to protect Australian jobs in the local timber industry" said The Wilderness Society's Victorian Campaigns Manager Richard Hughes. "Governments of all stripes have always justified logging of native forests on the grounds that it creates jobs here in Victoria, but now even that pretence is being thrown out the door." "The mountain ash forests of the Central Highlands are essential habitat for the critically endangered Leadbeater's possum, which is threatened by logging." The Victorian Timber Industry Strategy states that all native forest sawlogs must be processed in Australia, and this is reflected in sales contracts between the state-owned timber company VicForests and timber buyers.

"VicForests is responsible for implementing the ban on whole log exports, but it appears they have allowed the system to be rorted. We find it very hard to believe that VicForests didn't know this was going on." "VicForests appear to be out of control on this issue. The State Government should immediately act to protect the Victorian environment and jobs by ordering VicForests to stop supplying logs to the operators of this export racket." "There should also be an immediate halt to the so-called bushfire salvage logging operation since there is clearly no economic benefit for Victoria, and it is causing major environmental damage." "The fact that the Victorian native timber industry has stooped to exporting whole sawlogs confirms that the domestic market for native sawlogs is drying up, and logging these forests is just not economically viable." "We should be accelerating the shift to a plantation based industry, not selling our precious forests overseas so log dealers can make a quick buck" said Mr Hughes.

An investigation by the Wilderness Society and My Environment discovered that the logs are being taken from forests in the Central Highlands affected by the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires, and trucked to Melbourne's docks where they are loaded into containers for export. Expert scientists have criticised the bushfire salvage logging, saying it threatens the survival of the endangered Leadbeater's Possum, and is doing more damage to forests that are already struggling to recover from the fires. "When the post-bushfire salvage logging began, the Government told Victorians it had to be done to provide work for people in the local communities affected by the fires," said local conservationists and spokesperson for My Environment Sarah Rees. "Now we discover those communities have been betrayed, and the timber has been shipped overseas with very little benefit coming back to the local area." "We've sold our native forests, and the tiny Leadbeater's Possum for a handful of silver, nothing more," said Ms Rees. *Wilderness Society Media Release


Global warming could shrink the habitat of Australia's duck-billed platypus by a third, researchers warned Friday, with hotter, drier temperatures threatening its survival. A confusion of bird, mammal and reptile characteristics, the timid platypus is one of Australia's most cryptic creatures, feeding at night and living in deep waterside burrows to dodge predators such as foxes and eagles. But its thick, watertight fur coat - one of the key tools to ensuring its survival in the cool depths of rivers and waterholes - could spell disaster in a warming climate, according to a new study from Melbourne's Monash University. Using weather and platypus habitat data stretching back more than 100 years, researchers were able to map declines in particular populations in connection with droughts and heat events. The team then extrapolated their findings across a range of climate change scenarios laid out by the government's science research agency, CSIRO, to model how global warming would affect the unusual native species. "Our worst case scenario at the moment suggested a one-third reduction in their suitable habitat," researcher Jenny Davis told AFP of the work published in the journal Global Change Biology.

Other human impacts, including land clearing and the damming of waterways for hydroelectric projects, had and would continue to diminish platypus homes, she added. "Under a drying climate we'll be taking more water away from the environment because of our human needs, and predators are going to become more of an issue for (the) platypus," she said. The most dire predictions suggested the platypus would disappear from Australia's mainland entirely, able only to live on Tasmania and the southern King and Kangaroo islands, said Davis. Davis said the nocturnal creature already appeared to be responding to increases in Australia's average temperature, with certain populations receding from the 1960s, when a warming trend first became evident. "Compared with 50 years ago some places have become too warm for them. Their habitat is shrinking," she said.Classed as "common but vulnerable", the platypus is already extinct in the wild in South Australia state, and Davis said she feared it could meet a similar fate to the Tasmanian devil, whose numbers had dwindled rapidly. "What could happen is that we could see a crash in an iconic animal and by the time that happens it's too late to do something about it," she said.

Platypus fur is finer and denser than that of a river otter or polar bear, and it has two layers: a long sleek outer and a woolly undercoat, ensuring it stays dry even when fully submerged in water. Their average body temperature is 32 degrees Celsius (89 Fahrenheit) - lower than most other mammals - and they overheat rapidly when exposed to warm conditions out of the water. Of most concern, however, is the drying up of waterways where they forage for aquatic invertebrates, with the platypus needing to eat about 30 percent of their own body weight every day to survive. Davis said the creature's demise was "just another warning sign" of global warming's impact on Australia's unique wildlife. *Independent on Sunday

South Australia's Agriculture Minister Michael O'Brien will push for a national fund to contain a parasitic weed in the Murray Mallee after a report found it cannot be eradicated. Branched broomrape was found near Bowhill in 1992 and some properties have been quarantined for more than a decade now. The report recommends abandoning eradication programs in favour of containment. Mr O'Brien says the weed will become a national problem unless it can be contained. "We don't have a funding regime, a national funding agreement, in place to deal with containment and I'm hoping within a couple of months we'll see a proposal that will allow us to move from eradication to containment with all of the states chipping in," he said. "I'll be looking at the industry groups that are the beneficiaries, which are the grain and horticultural industries on a national basis, to start making a contribution." A former state MP, Peter Lewis, says he helped Labor form government in South Australia in 2002 after a pledge to eradicate branched broomrape. "We eradicated TB in people, we've eradicated it in livestock, we can eradicate broomrape," he declared. Mr Lewis says a lack of political will is to blame. *ABC