Monday, December 19, 2011

Wildlfie Bytes 20/12/11


In an odd twist, an American law firm that prides itself on supporting a local no-kill animal shelter has decided to represent the Japanese whaling fleet in their lawsuit against the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. Miller Nash, with offices based in Portland and Seattle, will act on behalf of The Institute of Cetacean Research to seek a court order against the Sea Shepherd to prevent them from “engaging in activities at sea that could cause injuries to the crews and damage to the vessels.” SSCS founder Paul Watson dismissed the suit, calling the allegations just another form of harassment. “I don’t believe they have a case and I doubt a U.S. court would take this seriously,” he said in an earlier statement. “Unlike Japan, the courts in the United States don’t automatically do what the government demands that they do.” *Ecorazzi

Environmentalists Monday called on Yahoo! Japan to ban all sales of whale, dolphin and porpoise products on their fee based Store and Auction sites after discovering that whale products sold via the Yahoo! Japan sites were contaminated with toxic mercury pollution. Mercury can cause brain and neurological damage in humans. The Environmental Investigation Agency, a non-profit environmental group based in Washington and London released new results of eight whale products purchased recently from Yahoo! Japan Store sites and tested by a laboratory in Japan earlier this month. Five of the products exceeded the Government of Japan safety guidelines for mercury contamination in seafood for human consumption. The average concentration of mercury in the eight products was 1.78 parts per million, more than four times higher than the “safe” level of 0.4 set by the Government of Japan. One whale meat sample was more than 16 times the limit for mercury at 6.5ppm. The sample was sold as “dried whale from Taiji.” Taiji is the town where the Oscar winning documentary “The Cove” documented mass killing of dolphins in the nearby bay. *Read More ....

New Online Wildlfie Magazine

Check out this fabulous new FREE wildlife e-mag by Andrea Devos -

North Stradbroke

The Queensland Government has declared one of its most visited tourist islands a National Park, but the move has angered local conservation groups. Environment Minister Vicky Darling says Sunday's announcement declaring 13,000 hectares on North Stradbroke Island a national park keeps an earlier promise by the State Government. "We remain committed to delivering on our promise to protect a further 30 per cent of North Stradbroke Island and end sand mining by 2026,'' she said in a statement. However, the island's conservation groups say two-thirds of the area that has been declared a national park has been degraded or destroyed by mining. Sand-mining company Sibelco had advocated the state government plan to stagger national park declarations to allow it to extract resources before moving on, Nikki Parker, spokeswoman for Friends of Stradbroke Island and Stradbroke Island Management Organisation, said. "This government has declared high conservation areas will be national park in the future but only after they have been irreversibly damaged and destroyed by sand mining,'' she said in a statement. The LNP says the announcement is a bid to win green votes before the state election, due in March. Opposition environment spokesman Andrew Powell says taxpayers will have to pay for rehabilitating land that Sibelco degraded. "The cost of rehabilitating local vegetation due to bad planning is estimated to be in the millions,'' he said in a statement. *Courier Mail

Kangaroos Shot

The senseless slaughter of kangaroos and livestock on a Booral acreage has shattered members of the close-knit neighbourhood who were forced to endure a weekend of terror. More than 20 kangaroos, mainly females with joeys, and at least one cow, were killed by rogue shooters on land they had no permission to be on. It was Friday night that residents of Wheeley St were first alerted to the shining of a spotlight and cracking sounds of gunfire in the paddocks backing onto their properties. Carmel and George Watson were among the first to sight the culprits who, they were shocked to discover, were allegedly a father and his two children. Police officers from the dog squad were called to confront the shooters and evict them from the land owned by a farmer from town, who had no idea the killing spree was taking place. Residents thought it was over, but on Saturday night the shooters returned, killing well into the night and yesterday morning. It was only when a group of local horse riders arrived on their Sunday morning trail ride that the extent of the carnage was finally discovered. Horrified residents banded together to check the kangaroos' pouches for joeys. Some were lying next to their mothers and had been shot at point blank range. Three were found alive and taken to a wildlife carer in Maryborough. The Watson's and their neighbours want justice for the creatures they have come to love. They say they would understand if the kangaroos were damaging a farmer's land, but could not understand why anyone would kill animals just for the fun of it. Police are investigating. * Fraser Coast Chronicle

Hunting can be Dangerous to your Health

A Florida man has become the second hunter in two weeks to be shot by his own dog. Billy E Brown, 78, was driving to go deer hunting when his bulldog, Eli, managed to discharged a rifle into his leg. He had been heading for a deer hunting spot in Pasco County with a friend when he was shot in the thigh, reports Fox News. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesman Gary Morse said: "His friend was riding next to him in the front seat, with the dog and the gun in between them." As the trio drove down a rough limestone road, Eli "got excited in the truck" and knocked against the rifle, firing off a round. Hit just above the right knee, Brown was rushed to hospital in Tampa where he underwent surgery. His condition is described as stable. Late last month, a Utah hunter was shot in the buttocks by his dog during a botched duck hunt. Doctors removbed 27 pellets of bird shot from the 46-year-old's body following the mishap. *

Kangaroo Industry

Kangaroo killiing enthusiast Professor Mike Archer has an interesting article in the online magazine "The Conversation". Of course he spouts a lot of nonsense, but if you read the article, dont forget to read all the comments. They are more entertaining than the article itself, most comments are from academics, and it gives an insight into the strange and weird attitudes to wildlife that some of these academics have. Unfortunately some of these people will eventually work in government departments, which may explain why the Government rarely gets it right!

Read the article here ...

Fossil Wildlife

Fossils from a tusked, wombat-like creature as big as a cow have been identified in Tasmania for the first time. The dicynodont, similar to a mammal, lived about 250 million years ago, predating dinosaurs. The University of Tasmania unveiled the fossils and images yesterday for the first time, five years after bushwalkers Bob and Penny Tyson stumbled upon the fossil site on the Tasman Peninsula. Researchers from Queensland Museum and Latrobe University joined UTAS to describe the first dicynodont (pronounced de-sign-adont). "Dicynodont have been found everywhere else in the world, every other continent including Antarctica ... this fills an important gap in our knowledge of these mammal-like reptiles and where they lived," said Queensland Museum head of geosciences Andrew Rozefelds at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery yesterday. Dr Rozefelds, a former TMAG deputy director, said the bone was part of a skull and a partial tusk and was the largest to be found in Australia. It was only the second record in Australia of this age. *Mercury
Read more ...


A group of critically endangered sunset frogs have been translocated to the South West in the hope that they will establish a new population there. A total of 31 frogs and 252 tadpoles will be moved from protective care at Perth Zoo to a peat swamp near Walpole. With only 30 known populations of the sunset frog in a small corner of the South West, it is hoped the zoo-bred frogs will successfully establish a new population outside the known distribution area of the species. The Department of Environment and Conservation project officer Dr Manda Page said the sunset frog had been identified as at risk of becoming extinct due to its very restricted distribution and dependence on a specific habitat — a habitat that is a relict of an ancient environment. “It lives in poorly drained peat-based swamps at the headwaters of drainage systems in a 300km2 area near Walpole and Nornalup and is vulnerable to environmental changes caused by a changing climate, as well as disturbances from feral animals, feral pigs in particular,” she said. “The release site for the frogs and tadpoles was chosen because it provides suitable habitat and extends the known range of the species. The West
Read more ....


A new and extreme sport is sweeping coastal skies. "Crow gliding' is a risky and breezy answer to snowboarding and sees our black feathered friends hitching a ride on unsuspecting hang-gliders. So far there hasn't been many people able to capture these birds in action but Noosa's Mike Drinkwater was able to snap a shot (pictured) when he was photographing sea eagles at Sunshine Beach. Mr Drinkwater said at first he had no idea what the bird was trying to do but after he rode the hang-glider for a few seconds, flew off and then jumped on again, it was clear he was just having fun. "The crow was riding on the edge of the hang-glider," he said. "I grabbed my camera to take a closer look - I was amazed. "He was surfing the sky. He was probably thinking 'I reckon I can land on this'." The cartoonist who dabbles in photography said he never imagined he would snap such an unusual shot. "I was there to photograph a different type of bird," he said. "But the crow ended up stealing the show." *Sunshine Coast Daily

Water Birds

Talk about great weather for ducks. Scientists have counted the third highest number of water birds in eastern and central Australia in 29 years. Almost a million birds were counted in an area covering about a third of the continent and it's all down to two great rain-bringing La Nina seasons. One of Australia's longest-running wildlife surveys has found that widespread flooding across the Lake Eyre and Murray-Darling Basins has rejuvenated rivers and wetlands and produced an explosion in waterbird breeding. Survey leader and director of the Australian Wetlands and Rivers Centre at the University of NSW, Richard Kingsford, said yesterday he was astounded by the numbers. "This is all down to the factories of the Lake Eyre and Murray-Darling basins," Professor Kingsford said. "They have given us a tremendous bounce back in bird numbers after years of drought." Prof Kingsford said the richness of breeding species was also high and the floods had seen a turn around in a 30-year decline. Researchers saw 22 species, including black swan, Pacific black duck, Australasian shoveler, chestnut and grey teal, hardhead, freckled duck, plumed whistling-duck and Australian shelduck.

Each October since 1983 waterbirds are counted across 10 survey bands - each 30km wide - extending from the east coast to the NT border and from the Whitsunday Islands in Queensland to south of Melbourne. "We haven't reached the previous heights of the early 1980s but this result highlights the importance of a series of floods and environmental flows over a large part of the continent," he said. Wetland habitat was again extensive in the Cooper Creek catchment, as well as in the Diamantina and Georgina river systems, which state Environment Minister Vicky Darling announced last week would be protected under landmark wild rivers legislation. The nation's State of the Environment report, released last week by Environment Minister Tony Burke, said Australia faced challenges from the legacy of centuries of over-consumption and pollution of environmental resources. Australian Conservation Foundation spokeswoman Denise Boyd said the report sounded an alarm to all Australians about the health of the country's environment. "The report states in its findings that climate change poses 'the largest future threat to our inland water systems' and that land clearing averaged about one million hectares per year for the past decade," Ms Boyd said. *Courier Mail

Kangaroo Kill

The shooters who killed a number of animals and alarmed Booral residents over the weekend were on the property with permission. Garnet Bengston, the owner of the property, said there was a misunderstanding about the shooters. He said that when the incident was first reported to police on Friday he did not realise that shooters who had used his land for many years had arranged to come out for the weekend. Mr Bengston told the Chronicle that the person who was on the property had phoned his wife on Friday to ask permission to be there but she forgot to tell him they were coming. "But the shooter had previously been given permission to be on the property over the years," he said. Mr Bengston said the shooter "was a responsible member of society." As for the dozens of dead kangaroos and one dead cow, Mr Bengston said "there is just far too many of them (kangaroos) but I just don't know what to do about that."

He said the cow that was shot was already dying. "We lose cattle all the time because of plastic bags and rubbish," he said. The Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM) said the killing of kangaroos for recreation was legal under certain circumstances. The DERM website states the following about the issue: "You need a licence, permit or authority to harvest macropods, whether for recreation or commercial use. In Queensland, DERM issues these." "You cannot harvest macropods in protected areas, such as national parks or in state forests." "Recreational harvesters can only use the macropods that are taken for their personal use and have annual limits." At this stage it is unknown if the shooters had the required permit. *Fraser Coast Chronicle

Ed Comment; we have written to DERM to ask if these ratbags had Permits, because clearly they have breached the Code of Practice.