Thursday, December 15, 2011

Wildlife Bytes 16/12/11

Kangaroos and Wallabies

An increase in kangaroos and wallabies on local roads around Young (NSW) could have something to do with the cherry harvest, according to a local wildlife carer. “Animals, particularly wallabies, hang out in the orchards, but when the pickers come in they take off to other areas,” said Sandra Latham from Wildcare. “They’re trying to keep away from people, but as a result they end up crossing a road at some point,” Ms Latham said. She has suggested drivers stick to the speed limit and install animal warning whistles on their vehicles, to avoid a collision. “If people do hit wildlife, by law they’re supposed to stop, they should never leave an injured animal on the side of the road.” It’s currently high season for joeys, so motorists who come across dead kangaroos or wallabies are being urged to check their pouches. “And if anyone sees an injured animal, or finds a joey, they should contact a wildlife group or a vet,” Ms Latham said. *Young Witness

Australia Zoo Patient of the Week, Rupert the Green Tree Frog

A green tree frog was found In a house at Mooloolah Valley with a gash near the left shoulder. Transported to: The Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital by the concerned home owner. Dr Amber found that Rupert’s wound was an old one and in the early stages of healing. The 78g frog is otherwise very bright and active, and hopping around well. Dr Amber applied a topical antibotic cream to Rupert’s wound to help stave off any infections. The cream will be applied daily over the next week. Rupert will spend the next week in care at the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital, and will then be assessed for release back to the wild near where he was found. AZWH Statistic: No animal is too small for treatment at the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital! We have treated over 29 native frogs so far in 2011. *

Gladstone Harbor

Almost 75,000 Australians have signed a petition calling on UNESCO to intervene and help put a stop to dredging in Queensland’s World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef. Lobby group GetUp! presented the petition to a UNESCO official in the French capital, Paris, today on behalf of the 74,708 Australians who signed it. Their concerns centre on an approval to dredge 46 million cubic metres during the next 20 years within Gladstone Harbour, which is inside the World Heritage area of the reef. So far, 1.5 million cubic metres have been dredged to make way for two Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) projects, export hubs on Curtis Island and an expansion of the port itself. *Econews

Kangaroo Kill at Longreach

We were contacted today (thursday) by an ally from Longreach, who informed us that a non-commercial kangaroo kill was to undertaken at Isisford Airport, near Longreach. The shooting took place on the 14th and 15th of this month around the airport at Isisford which is about 115klms from Longreach. The reason given was 'safety' this airport has around 3-4 planes coming in each week some are medical planes the others are private aircraft owned by 4 loxcal graziers. The airport is partly enclosed with a fence but the Roos can come and go, the landing strip is tarmac and according to Longreach Council there has been a huge build up in Roo numbers putting the safety of the aircraft at risk. The Council is looking at other measures for control after this shoot, but the Council spokesperson didn't know what they were. Andrew McKenzie who is the Director for Corporate Service his details are.... ph. 07 465841111 and the switch will put you through or get him to ring back. The phone for the Isisford Council is 07 4658890 The notice about the kill was placed in the Longreach Leader, which is how our informer found out about it. Several of us on Thursday emailed the Longreach Council asking the the kill be cancelled for Thursday night, but we havent received a reply as yet. If you have time please contact the Longreach Regional Council and ask them to implement non-lethal kangaro control measures. Email: *WPAA
PS As we go to mailout, we've heard that there are very bad storms in Longreach last night so teh kil was cancelled! We should also mention 4 graziers have properties at Isisford, largest is Isisford Downs owned by the Packers! *

Dingo Day

It was a rare opportunity for families to get up close and personal with wild animals at the annual Dingo Day in Apex Park. Several young dingoes mixed closely with the crowd, attracting attention and affection from young and old at the annual event, hosted by lobby group Save the Fraser Island Dingo. But the key message of the event was: "If you want to pat a dingo, do it here and not on Fraser Island." Hundreds of people stopped to check out the action, which included a bouncy castle, sausage sizzle and live music - and many left with a paw print painted on their faces. Group president Malcolm Kilpatrick said the annual Dingo Day aimed to raise awareness about the challenges faced by the dingoes, and to educate people about how to treat the wild animals. "With Christmas holidays coming up, a lot of people are going over to Fraser Island - it's a notoriously high-risk time for interactions with dingoes," Mr Kilpatrick said. "We are trying to educate people that they need to keep their children within arm's reach, and they need to stay well away from dingoes on the island." The two visiting animals, Honey and pup Coda, were brought by Durong Dingo Sanctuary owner Simon "Dingo" Stretton. "People have been really curious about them because they've never been allowed to pat a dingo before," Mr Stretton said. "Instead of thinking dingoes are mean or killers, people are walking away with a different attitude." *FC Chronicle


Thirteen numbats from Perth Zoo are on their way to a new home at a NSW wildlife sanctuary. The numbats, five males and eight females, were selected from the zoo’s breeding program to be released at the Scotia Sanctuary south of Broken Hill. The sanctuary protects two wild populations of numbats from feral predators, Environment Minister Bill Marmion said. “All the numbats at Scotia Sanctuary are descended from the population at Dryandra Woodland near Narrogin, although half the original founders arrived via another Dryandra-descended population at AWC’s Yookamurra Wildlife Sanctuary in South Australia,” he said. The numbats will be tracked via radio collars donated by community group Project Numbat, which raised the $250 for each collar via its membership. Feral foxes and cats have drastically reduced the numbat population and they are listed as an endangered species. PerthNow

Climate Change

The 190 nations that participated in extended UN climate change talks in Durban, South Africa, agreed to deal on Sunday that commits them to take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions within a decade. The result of over two weeks of discussions is a commitment period that effectively extends the Kyoto Protocol and maps out a path to a legally binding global agreement in 2015 to limit and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, with a deadline of 2020 for all countries to begin taking action. Although Greenpeace called the deal a win for polluters and many were dismayed at the lengthy timeline for action, the deal (which now includes key players China, India and the United States) was broadly welcomed. ABC News / Reuters provides a good summary of the key measures agreed in Durban. *Network Item

Grebes Down

Thousands of migratory birds died on impact after apparently mistaking a Wal-Mart car park in the US and other areas of southern Utah for bodies of water and plummeting to the ground in what one wildlife expert has called the worst downing she has ever seen. Crews went to work cleaning up the dead birds and rescuing the survivors after the creatures crash-landed in the St George area on Monday night. By Tuesday evening, volunteers had rescued more than 2000 birds. "They're just everywhere," said Teresa Griffin, wildlife program manager for the Utah Department of Wildlife Resource's southern region. "It's been non-stop. All our employees are driving around picking them up, and we've got so many people coming to our office and dropping them off." Officials say stormy conditions probably confused the flock of grebes, a duck-like aquatic bird most likely making its way to Mexico for the winter. The birds tried to land in a Cedar City Wal-Mart car park and elsewhere. *Age
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Biodiversity Loss

Australia lacks the scientific data to deliver effective environment policies and track their impact, according to the latest federal State of the Environment report. The report's findings on the continuing decline of native wildlife has prompted Australian National University ecologist Professor David Lindenmayer to urge the Gillard Government to ''stop treating science as a luxury'' when funding environmental programs. 'We are seeing millions wasted on revegetation programs that will not, and cannot deliver because they are not underpinned by scientific programs that will tell us whether or not they are working,'' Professor Lindenmayer said. ''Can you imagine making a major business investment without the economic capability to measure the return on that investment.'' The co-director of the ANU's climate law and policy institute, Andrew Macintosh, has also called on governments to ''think beyond the press release'' when drafting environmental policy. ''Ministers must have the ticker to ask for, and take frank and fearless advice on the progress of the programs they announce,'' he said. *Canberra Times Read more ..


Police in Tokyo have arrested a man accused of trying to sell a stuffed giant panda, an endangered species, to Chinese tourists for three million yen ($38,000). Shang Erqiang, 40, a Tokyo restaurant operator originally from China, was arrested last week, a police official told AFP. Reports dubbed the animal as an "80 per cent real giant panda" because its head and ears appeared to belong to another animal, possibly another type of bear. Television pictures showed the animal being displayed in a bamboo-decorated glass cage. Japanese law protects the trade in endangered animals and carries the threat of fines and imprisonment. Pandas are revered in China, and Beijing often uses the bears as diplomatic gifts to other countries. Just 1600 remain in the wild in China, with about 300 more in captivity. *AFP

Jungle Radio

Jungles Radio is a cutting edge Live Radio & Podcast Program that explores various topics in Reptile, Amphibian and Invertebrate care as well as important worldwide Wildlife Conservation issues. Join your host Danny Mendez, a Zoologist, Zookeeper, and Naturalist with a rich background in the professional zoological world as he explores various topics of interest and brings you the best interviews from all over the world and leading experts in the field. Urban Jungles Radio is LIVE every Friday night at 10pm EDT. or 1pm Queensland time at


Rats will free distressed cagemates from a trap, even when there’s no evident reward for the help—and even when it might cost them a little food, a study has found. Scientists say the phenomenon is an unusual finding of empathy in animals other than primates—humans and their evolutionary relatives, the apes and monkeys. Empathy has often been considered unique to primates, though a re­lated phenomenon dubbed “emotional contagion” has been identified among a wider variety of species. In that effect, an animal experiences the emotions of others. Read more ...

Wildlife Carers Dictionary

The Wildlife Carers Dictionary is a free online resource full of words and phrases often used in the wildlife carers community. It would be a useful resource for first time carers and long time carers alike as well as vets, vet nurses, zoo and sanctuary keepers and just anybody who loves to learn about Australian native animals. The Wildlife Carers Dictionary can be downloaded at

Become a Wildlife Warrior

By making a one-off donation or joining our monthly giving program you can become part of a global wildlife force that is working hard to preserve our natural environment. Monthly Giving Program; Sign up to become a regular giver for wildlife conservation! Donations start from as little as $2.50 a week and can go to helping our native wildlife at the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital. Nearly 100 wildlife emergency calls are received every day at the Hospital, Up to 30 different species are admitted to the hospital every day, Currently around 80 koalas undergoing treatment, Approximately 70% of patients are victims of car accidents or domestic pet attacks, The cost to treat one animal ranges from $100 to thousands of dollars To sign up or find out more please visit
Wildlife Pets

South Australian police are on the lookout for Pinocchio, a freshwater crocodile stolen from a home in Snowtown over the weekend. Police said the 70cm croc was taken from a locked enclosure at the home in the mid-north town between Friday last week and Monday. The enclosure was in the rear yard of a home and was purpose-built to house various wildlife. Last week thieves also made off with two pythons and a crocodile from a reptile store in Adelaide. The two green tree pythons, both four years old, were 1.2 metres long and the two-year-old Johnston's freshwater crocodile was 60cm long. World Wildlife Fund (WWF) spokesman Glenn Sant said it was likely the reptiles would be exported or sold to collectors. "You can basically assume they will go into the illegal wildlife trade," he said last week. "They're worth a lot of money overseas." Police said they did not believe the two incidents were connected. *NineMSM


Wild ravens purposefully show objects to their mating partners—the first time this behavior has been observed in the wild except in the closest relatives of humans, scientists report. The researchers consider these actions as part of a class of behaviors called deictic gestures, which include pointing and showing and which are aimed at drawing attention to an external object. Such gestures are thought to reflect complex intelligence and to represent the starting point for the use of symbols, and therefore language.
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Golden orb spiders add a chemical to their webs to deter invading ants, scientists have discovered. Scientists from Australia and Singapore had set out to discover why ants were rarely found on the webs of the spiders, which are widespread in the warmer regions of the earth. "We found that large golden orb web spiders add a defensive alkaloid chemical onto the silk, which stops the ants from walking on to the web when they come into contact with it," team leader Associate Professor Daiqin Li, from the National University of Singapore, said in a statement on Wednesday. Professor Mark Elgar from the University of Melbourne said the team was impressed by the strength of the ant repellent used in the webs. "The orb spider is potentially vulnerable to attack from groups of ants while sitting in its web waiting for prey," he said. "So the chemical defence in web silk may have evolved to not only protect the spider, but to reduce the time and energy that would otherwise be required to chase away invading ants." The team also found that only the larger spiders produced the compound. The researchers hope the discovery may provide new opportunities for pesticide production. *Network Item

Green Politics

The State of the Environment report released yesterday reveals that most of Australia’s plants and animals are on the path to extinction, Australian Greens environment spokesperson Senator Larissa Waters said today. The report also acknowledged from the outset that the environment was a national issue that required national leadership. “The call for national leadership is completely at odds with the Federal Government’s intention to delegate many environmental protection powers to the states,” Senator Waters said. “This is why I’ve introduced my water bill, which would give the Federal Government the power to protect water from mining operations at the national level and demonstrate the greater environmental leadership which is so desperately needed. “I have also introduced a bill to allow newly discovered species to be emergency-listed as threatened, so they can receive immediate protection. “The report also recognised that port development and shipping accidents pose a major threat to our marine environments – a timely warning for the Government to stop treating the Great Barrier Reef as a coal and gas highway. “Australia’s unique and precious wildlife is daily sliding closer to extinction – if the Government has any intention at all of preventing this crisis, it will support my two bills and take the strong action necessary to protect our wildlife and our environment.” *Qld Greens Media Release


Tens of thousands of trees planted to save southeast Queensland's dying koalas will save fewer than 30 animals, a lobbyist says. Environment Minister Vicki Darling this week planted the last of 30,000 trees on a property at Daisy Hill, south of Brisbane. It was part of a $48 million, six-year plan to purchase eight parcels of protected land around the Sunshine Coast and Moreton Bay regions to save the critically endangered animal. Australian Koala Foundation president Deborah Tabart told AAP the 379 hectares purchased would support approximately 30 koalas if well vegetated. ``It is really a drop in the ocean,'' Ms Tabart said. ``I would be much happier for her to say I have saved 30,000 hectares for koalas.'' Ms Tabart said the saplings would take five years to reach a maturity suitable for koalas. Koala numbers in the state's southeast corner have plummeted almost 60 per cent in the past three years. ``It's time for the average Australian to realise this is just a bandaid,'' Ms Tabart said. ``Those areas are where the Urban Land Development Authority have cut down a lot of trees.'' The koala has not been added to the list of fauna protected under the federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act despite lobbying from the Australian Greens and environmental groups. Koalas are considered critically endangered in southeast Queensland, which is one step away from extinct. *

Wildlife Trafficking

Mine site workers in the North West are being recruited by environmental authorities to try to stop the trade in smuggled reptiles amid claims that many animals are being taken from the Pilbara and sold on the black market. Unlike mammals, reptiles are simple to transport because they can be easily immobilised and are able to survive for days without food or water. There is a lucrative domestic and international trade in Australian snakes and lizards with some fetching $20,000 overseas. Even bobtail lizards can bring in up to $7500 on the Asian black market. In the past two years, two fly-in, fly-out workers have been arrested for smuggling reptiles including a Pilbara mine site worker who was arrested at Perth Airport in September after carrying two Stimson's pythons and a sand swimmer skink on a flight from Newman. He was fined $3700 with $119 in court costs over the smuggled reptiles and a third Stimson's python and a pygmy python found at his house.

Department of Environment and Conservation wildlife officer Matt Swan said that 67 native animals had been seized by authorities this year with pygmy pythons, Pilbara olive pythons, banded knob tailed geckos and pygmy spiny tailed skinks among the most heavily targeted species. With illegal collecting taking place in remote locations, the DEC is turning to mine site workers to be the eyes and ears of the department. "Wildlife officers raise the issue of illegal reptile collecting in discussions with mine site staff whenever they visit a site," Mr Swan said. "DEC recently delivered a presentation to staff at the Perth headquarters of a mining company on smuggling and how to detect it. Smuggling can be a cruel practice depending on the way reptiles are handled and transported. "High mortality is associated with overcrowding, lack of ventilation and the use of tape or other materials to restrict the movement of animals, causing severe stress." Anyone with information about the removal of reptiles should call the DEC Wildcare hotline on 9474 9055 or the Customs hotline on 1800 061 800. *TheWest


Roo shooter Rob Aspinall wants to assure Bulletin readers that no professional hunter would skin, disembowel and dump kangaroo carcasses at the side of the road. Rob, a commercial roo shooter for 15 years, says he was as shocked as anyone by the gruesome images of six skinned carcasses on the edge of a road at Kabra this week. "It makes no sense and I have no idea why someone would do it," he said. "But I know one thing; whoever it was is an idiot." Rob is one of about 830 licensed shooters in Queensland and says none of them would risk losing their accreditation by acting cruelly or inappropriately. "The regulations are very strict. There are limits on the numbers we can shoot, and the method of the kill. It has to be clean, one shot to the head so the animal doesn't suffer," said Rob who is based in Rockhampton and travels to properties as far away as Dingo, Emerald and Sarina. Shoots have to be conducted at night and the carcasses have to be taken to an approved wild-game chiller within a few hours of being killed. "All the kangaroos I harvest are for human consumption and they have to be at least 16kg before I shoot them."

Rob says while it might be possible to make a living as a professional shooter, the rewards are not great and the lifestyle is "not real good". "It's a lot of effort and at the moment roo carcasses are fetching 75 cents a kilo. Most shooters do it to supplement their income from another job." Rob decided to speak out fearing readers might think that a professional shooter was responsible for the carnage at Kabra. And Inspector for the RSPCA for the Rockhampton region Laurie Stageman said the killing of these kangaroos was most likely done by "yobs". "I doubt it very much that this was done by a professional shooter," Mr Stageman said. "They have a code of conduct that the professional roo shooters follow, they shoot them, tag them and they go to the chillers and are sold. It's against their profession, they already cop enough flak for what they do." Rob says he and a partner shot about 500 roos last year, but his total will be down this year. On a good night they kill about 30 roos. It makes no sense, whoever it was is an idiot. *Morning Bulletin

At least 26 kangaroos were shot and killed during the 12-month NMIT Eden Park cull, Freedom of Information documents show. But discrepancies between documents released by Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE and the Department of Sustainability and Environment make the exact number of animals killed unclear. NMIT reports say 27 kangaroos were shot, while department documents say it was 26. Several documents requested through FoI by the Australian Society for Kangaroos were not provided. In October last year, the department granted NMIT a permit to cull 300 kangaroos at its 320ha Northern Lodge stud farm. Despite numerous requests for information by the media and the public, the department and NMIT never publicly revealed how many kangaroos were killed. One document shows shooting began at Northern Lodge on March 10, with a department wildlife officer in attendance. Two kangaroos were shot on that day, with another 24 killed on March 17.

Two more shots were fired on March 19, but no kangaroos were killed. The document, approved by department secretary Greg Wilson on May 9, said “to date, no further shooting has taken place”. It is not known whether more shooting related to the cull occurred between May 9 and the day the permit expired on October 18. Nancy Worland reported hearing shots while visiting her daughter in Eden Park in January. Wildlife volunteers monitored the TAFE property from March 21 until the cull permit expired. Australian Society for Kangaroos spokeswoman Fiona Corke, who obtained the documents, said it was difficult to know exactly how many kangaroos were killed.“I don’t know what to believe; I don’t know if it was 27 or 100,” she said. The documents show that two joeys were euthanased after their mothers were killed. How do you think NMIT and the department have handled this issue? Tell us at *Whittlesea News

Videos about the Kangaroo Kill

Australian Society for Kangaroos would like to thank Voiceless for the grant to fund this Community Service Advertisement and for their dedication, commitment and ongoing contribution towards saving the lives of millions of kangaroos. We would also like to thank Rob Thomas and management for allowing us to use his hauntingly beautiful song, Now Comes the Night in this Community Service Advertisement. Due to music licencing agreements our TV ad can only be seen in Australia, we apologise to overseas viewers however please feel free to browse our website to discover more about the plight of kangaroos. Big thanks to the production team: Moving Stills Production Company, Nick Carrafa and Szumai Anderson. Produced, written and directed by Fiona Corke and Nikki Sutterby. Watch the Advertisment

And the VIVA! video, The Commercial Killing of Kangaroos for meat and leather - this video show the reality of the trade. Please visit to order a free Go Veggie pack!
Watch Video

WA Fires

They are the forgotten victims of the bushfires in the South-West - species of native animals and birds that may have been completely wiped out. Conservationists and animal carers say populations of highly endangered possums, black cockatoos and other native species may now be locally extinct in the Margaret River, Nannup and Augusta regions. The wildlife disaster is a result of at least two fires that burned through more than 70,000 hectares and destroyed more than 40 properties after a series of prescribed burns by WA's Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) flared out of control in November. FAWNA president Jeff Falconer, who is in charge of animal rescue efforts in the region, told AAP this week the fires had wiped out almost entire populations in some areas. ``Probably 90 per cent of the wildlife in those areas where the fire was fairly bad would have been killed,'' he said. Mr Falconer said the combined Nannup-Augusta fire, which burnt about 50,000ha, was ``the biggest on record'' in WA's South-West. Conservationists have been scathing of the decision to hold the burns in spring, during the nesting and breeding seasons, saying young animals and birds wouldn't have stood a chance.

Busselton Possum Centre president Ute Wicke told AAP she had pleaded with the DEC two months ago not to conduct the burns during breeding season. ``We were particularly worried about the burns that get away - like we've just seen,'' she said. Ms Wicke said the fires had ``devastated'' some of WA's healthiest populations of endangered ringtail possums around Margaret River. ``At this time of the year, the possums have very vulnerable young with them - they are just out of the pouch - and they don't have a chance,'' she said. ``So not only the adult population dies, but so does the next generation. ``We really feel we might have lost the best habitats and ringtails will go locally extinct in those areas.'' Ms Wicke said the aftermath of the fires had been heartbreaking, after she found 25 dead possums and many other animals that were ``unrecognisable''. Margaret River Vet Clinic owner Michel Noey said she had treated about 20 possums for burns following the fire, and had been called out to euthanise a number of injured kangaroos.

She said possums were especially vulnerable to bushfires. ``They can't hop, they can't move fast,'' she said. ``I guess the (injured animals) that haven't been brought in by now would have died of their wounds or dehydration.'' Dr Noey said such was the ferocity of the fires, little would remain of any animals that had perished in the bush. Dave Patterson of the Nannup Black Cockatoo Rehabilitation Centre said the DEC had been warned for many years not to carry out burns during the nesting season. ``But the DEC just keeps doing it and doing it - they don't listen,'' he said. ``It's in the middle of the breeding season for the red-tails (black cockatoos), so any chicks that were in a nest hollow would have been killed. ``These birds are critically endangered - the population can't sustain it. ``There will definitely be local extinctions here because the birds that have survived now can't find anything to eat. ``We're already getting a lot of birds in here that are really undernourished - they're starving.''

Mr Patterson said the biggest impact had been on endangered Baudin's red-tailed black cockatoos, which are only found WA's southwest and number fewer than 10,000. ``But it's been devastating for all native animals in the region,'' he said. Conservation Council of WA director Piers Verstegan said the long term impact would be deadly. ``The removal of a massive food source and potentially huge numbers of individuals is going to be a critical blow to endangered species in the area,'' he said. The main problem with prescribed burns, apart from the timing, was the ``arbitrary'' 200,000ha target the DEC tried to meet each year without any ecological basis, Mr Verstegan said. ``The DEC, which is supposed to be responsible for maintaining our natural environment and the species within it, is applying what we believe to be a completely reckless regime of prescribed burning,'' he said. ``The target approach needs to be scrapped.''

A DEC spokeswoman said prescribed burns were usually conducted in spring and autumn when weather was mild and fires were easier to manage. ``In southern parts of WA, spring burning is undertaken when fuels are still reasonably moist from winter rains,'' she said. `As the spring progresses and the effect of sun and wind continue to dry the fuels, it makes them more flammable and the opportunity to undertake safe burns decreases.'' Anyone wishing to donate to the southwest fire animal rescue and rehabilitation appeal can contact Mr Falconer at FAWNA on 0438 526 660 or visit, or Ms Wicke at the Busselton Possum Centre on 0420 939 890 or visit * PerthNow

New Species

A wildly-coloured gecko, a fish that looks like a gherkin, and a monkey with an Elvis-like hairstyle are among the more than 200 new species discovered in the Greater Mekong region last year, environmental group WWF has said. The area's diversity is so astonishing that a new species is found every two days, but regional cooperation and decision-making must take centre stage to preserve its richness, the group added. The dangers posed to local wildlife were highlighted earlier this year, when WWF said that Vietnam's Javan rhinos have been poached into extinction. "While the 2010 discoveries are new to science, many are already destined for the dinner table, struggling to survive in shrinking habitats and at risk of extinction," said Stuart Chapman, Conservation Director of WWF Greater Mekong, in a statement.

Among the new species highlighted in the report "Wild Mekong" is a gecko with bright orange legs, a yellow neck, and a blue-gray body with yellow bars on its bright orange sides, discovered on an island in southern Vietnam. Then there is a black and white snub-nosed monkey whose head sports an Elvis-like hairstyle, found in Myanmar's mountainous Kachin state. Locals say the animal can be spotted with its head between its knees in rainy weather as it tries to keep rain from running into its upturned nose. Other featured creatures among the 208 new finds include a lizard that reproduces via cloning without the need for male lizards, a fish that resembles a gherkin, and five species of carnivorous pitcher plant, some of which lure in and consume rats and even birds. "Mekong governments have to stop thinking about biodiversity protection as a cost and recognise it as an investment to ensure long-term stability," Mr Chapman said.

"The region's treasure trove of biodiversity will be lost if governments fail to invest in the conservation and maintenance of biodiversity, which is so fundamental to ensuring long-term sustainability in the face of global environmental change." Despite restrictions, trade in wildlife remains an active threat to a range of endangered animals in the region, with some hunted because body parts - such as rhinoceros horns - are coveted ingredients in traditional Asian medicine. Others, such as Mekong dolphins, face threats from fishing gear such as gill nets and illegal fishing methods, prompting the WWF in August to warn that one dolphin population in the river was at high risk of extinction. The Greater Mekong region covers Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and the southern Chinese province of Yunnan. * Telegraph UK

Noxious Carp

The pest of many waterways in the southern Australian state of Victoria could soon be the toast of Europe’s fashionable dining tables. A European carp control program on the Lower Ovens River will see many of the higher quality fish sent overseas where their eggs, or roe, are seen as a tasty delicacy. Some food entusiasts say the roe from carp is just as delicious as the expensive Russian or Beluga caviar, which uses the roe from sturgeon. AAP newsagency says those fish that don’t make the grade will be sent to Baranduda, near Albury-Wodonga and will be worm-farm composted to produce an organic liquid fertiliser in a bid to clear the waters of the pest. Jarod Lyon, fish ecologist at the Department of Sustainability and Environment’s Arthur Rylah Institute said cutting carp numbers is crucial to protect other species. “The program includes installing specially designed cage traps to protect two wetlands from the damage caused by carp, while nets protect other wetlands and electrofishing is used to back it all up by removing the carp from the river itself,” he said.

“The Lower Ovens Heritage River is a high conservation value aquatic ecosystem for threatened native fish species including the iconic Murray Cod and Trout Cod. “Cutting carp numbers is an important part of the effort to protect those species,” he added. Mr Lyon said professional fisherman Keith Bell is part of the integrated carp control program. “Whilst most carp caught are composted to produce an organic liquid fertiliser, Keith exports some of the higher quality fish and even their roe to Europe for human consumption.” The cages have been installed on the Lower Ovens River near Peechelba, between Bundalong and Wangaratta. Wetlands and billabongs connected to the Ovens are key carp breeding grounds and by preventing the carp from getting into the wetlands, ecologists are hoping to reduce their numbers. The fish are particularly targeted in October and November when they spawn in wetlands. *EcoNews