Monday, January 16, 2012

Wildlife Bytes 16/1/12

Leading Story

Flying Foxes

The Qld Environment Department has issued its fourth permit in six months to allow people to break up flying fox camps, with the latest at Jericho in the west. It brings to reality a prediction in August by scientists and conservationists that the Government would cave in to community pressure on the vexing issue. Permits also have been issued to Gatton, Barcaldine and Gayndah. Environment Minister Vicky Darling yesterday gave permission to Barcaldine Regional Council to trim and cut down trees to stop flying foxes roosting in the township of Jericho. Up to 12,000 little red flying foxes previously lived in the roost adjacent to the Capricorn Highway but recently moved to a new roosting site on nearby Jordan Creek. The council will be allowed six months to carry out the work as long as flying foxes do not return to the site or use nearby areas. "In that time, the council must also prepare a long-term plan to manage vegetation at the roost to deter flying foxes from returning to the site," Ms Darling said.

"Living near flying fox roosts can be distressing and I am very sympathetic to residents' concerns. "The permit applies only to the vacated roost site and does not authorise the removal of vegetation at the Jordan Creek site." In August, about 30,000 little red flying foxes were moved from Barcaldine about 90km away. Although it is not known if these are the same animals, Griffith University wildlife expert Darryl Jones predicted then they would become someone else's problem. Queensland Conservation Council chairman Simon Baltais said the Environment Department was not addressing the root cause of the problem which was habitat clearing. Flying foxes arrived in Barcaldine after Cyclone Larry in 2008 and again after Cyclone Yasi last year. Ms Darling said flying foxes played a crucial role in the environment as pollinators of native plants and trees and were protected under the Nature Conservation Act. * Courier Mail

Editorial; Kangaroo Cigarette Packaging

The Australian government has lashed out at British American Tobacco for using images of kangaroos to sell its cigarettes in Europe. British American, which is battling the Australian government over moves toward plain packaging in Australia, is selling its Winfield brand overseas with a picture of a kangaroo on the front and a map of Australia on the back. It is also using the slogan "An Australian Favourite" and Attorney General Nicola Roxon, the former health minister, is not amused."I think many Australians are going to be outraged that a big tobacco company all the way round the world is using Australia's healthy lifestyle to market their deadly products," she said. And aren't they a bunch of hypocrites? We kill millions of kangaroos every year for dogs meat, but our government is "furious" that some someone wants to put a picture of a kangaroo on cigarette packaging. What about all the Australians that are furious over the kangaroo kill? Well, we just dont count, do we?

Kangaroo Petition

Last issue of WildIife Bytes we carried a story about the Police Officer who went kangaroo shooting near Gympie, and killed 20 or so kangaroos, many which had been considered "pets" by the locals, and some were even named. The Police Officer is a 42 year old senior officer who took a young teenager out with him in mid December to carry out this senseless attack. This officer, who reportedly killed these kangaroos, has been issued only with an "Infringement Notice," which amounts to a "slap on the wrist." However, in a response to our letter to the Qld Police Commissioner, he states that he (the Commissioner) is unable to comment further as the matter is still under investigation. He did say that the Matter has been referred to the Qld CMC, and the Police Ethical Standards Committee is also investigating. AWPC have set up a petition to get this Policeman properly tried in a court of law because in Australia if you shoot just one kangaroo without a Permit, a native protected species, there carries with it a $10,000 Australian dollar penalty per animal. This is not the first time police have been involved in such behavior either, we had a similar incident in WA a few years ago, and another incident in Central Queensland also. Police Officers need to set an example to the Community. The Petition can be found below, if you have time please sign it to make sure this behavior from our Police is deemed unacceptable. Also, as this has been referred to the CMC, we need people to contact them, asking if this matter contraves any other Act, such as the Qld Animal Care and Protection Act 2001 (ACPA) According to the ACPA, its likely that the offender committed acts of cruelty by leaving live young in dead mothers pouches which were found and picked up by horse riders the following day. * WPAA
Petition here
Contact the Qld Crime and Misconduct Commission here Please take some action over this outrage.

Kangaroo Mafia

One of our WPAA Members was watching the Channel Nine Today show last week (1st week in January 2012) and this doctor (nutritionalist) was promoting kangaroo as a healthy meat to eat. She was actually promoting it as the only meat to eat!! Did not promote fish, or even lean meat, or poultry, or vegetables! So our Member wrote to her, and received a very silly response. So we built a webpage with all the details, and we thought our other Readers might like to follow up with a response too?? Her address details are online here .....
Read more, its the third story on the Page Map, called "Kangaroo meat can Kill You!!" .......

Gladstone Harbor

Controversial dredging in Gladstone's disease-hit harbour has been stopped by the State Government. The Department of Environment and Natural Resource Management issued the order on Monday because of dirty water conditions. Last year's wet season flooding has been blamed by the harbour's operator Gladstone Ports Corporation for diseases in fish. Greens spokesman Andrew Jeremijenko yesterday said it now was apparent the corporation was unable to comply with environmental conditions during normal seasonal high tides. "They are turning a once-clean harbour into a mud pit," Dr Jeremijenko said. "The harbour has been changed by this dredging project. They've had high (turbidity) readings for 21 out of the past 100 days when it should be one out of 100. "We'll see these problems in Gladstone every time we get big tides. We'll see it next month and in March and that's when the barramundi will be coming out to spawn." *Courier Mail


With voices hardly louder than an insect's buzz, the tiniest frogs ever discovered are smaller than a coin and hop about the rainforest of the tropical island of Papua New Guinea, US scientists say. Not only are Paedophryne amauensis and Paedophryne swiftorum the smallest frogs known, they are also the smallest vertebrates, said the report in the science journal PLoS ONE. The little land frog Paedophryne amauensis comes in at 7.7 millimetres. The Paedophryne swiftorum measures a bit over eight millimetres. Previously the smallest vertebrate was believed to be a transparent Indonesian fish known as Paedocypris progenetica, averaging eight millimetres. "It was particularly difficult to locate Paedophryne amauensis due to its diminutive size and the males' high-pitched insect-like mating call," said Louisiana State University scientist Chris Austin, who discovered them. "But it's a great find. The ecosystems these extremely small frogs occupy are very similar, primarily inhabiting leaf litter on the floor of tropical rainforest environments," Austin said. "We believe these creatures aren't just biological oddities, but instead represent a previously undocumented ecological guild - they occupy a habitat niche that no other vertebrate does." In fact, judging by the frequency of male mating calls they heard, Austin said the tiny frogs might be spaced as close as 50 centimetres from each other on ground beneath the leaves. *Age


Ray Revill runs the Fraser Coast TESS Wildlife sanctuary in Maryborough, and he says that the dingo pups have taken to their new home very easily. "We got them when they were around seven months old, and they're very fun loving animals. "It was a big coup for Queensland and the region to obtain the first two legally bred and registered dingos; they're microchipped, vaccinated, wormed, they get everything a domestic dog gets. "I trust them more than I would a domestic dog, that's my personal opinion."
Read more ...

Sugar Gliders

A Hollywood woman, using Facebook in a unique way, was charged Tuesday with breeding sugar gliders - small possums native to Australia - and attempting to sell the exotic animals on Facebook. Amy Young Lynn, 39, was busted with eight sugar gliders by undercover state Fish and Game officials. Authorities say undercover officials responded to Lynn's Facebook ad offering the animals for $400 a pair. The animals were seized and transported to a wildlife preserve. Sugar gliders are small possums native to Australia that have the ability to soar more than 400 feet through the air on wing-like membranes that stretch between their front and hind legs. They are bred and allowed as pets in many places in the United States, but they are banned as pets in California, as well as in Australia, as a deterrent to the common practice of taking them from the wild. How did Lynn obtain the animals? Prosecutors say two sugar gliders were gifted to her at a party; the animals later reproduced. Lynn had been charged with eight counts of unlawful possession and attempted sale of a restricted species. If convicted, she could serve up to four years in jail and a $8,000 fine. *

Black Swans

People are used to seeing swans swimming about on the river Severn at Upton, UK< but a few heads were turned when this rare black swan floated into town this week. The striking species is native to Australia and, despite being popular with wildlife parks and private collectors, has never flourished in the wild in this country. This photo was taken by Upton resident Jackie Surtees, who had heard that it had been spotted on the river. She said: “When I went down to the river on Wednesday morning I noticed the resident swans coming out of the marina. “A while later I noticed them coming upriver being chased by the visitor.” Steve Bloomfield, a conservation officer with Worcestershire Wildlife Trust, said it was a “notable occurrence.” He said: “Up until early 2000 there had only been about 40 or 50 sightings in the wild, and although the most recent survey recorded way more than that they are still reasonably scarce. “I would think that, without question, this is one that has escaped from a local wildlife site or, more likely, a private collection.” He said that it could well have been at large in the countryside for some time. He said: “Although they have never really successfully bred in the wild, they are very capable of looking after themselves.” *UK Mail


If you would like to watch a video showing the brutality of the some Indigenous turtle hunting, go here ... Everyone should see this, and it must stop! In spite of strong lobbying during the last 10 years or so, the current Queensland Government has consistently refused to include Indigenous hunting under the Qld Animal Cruelty Act. Whats happening in this video is perfectly legal, and it must stop!

Emerging Wildlife Viruses

A pilot study reported online this week in the journal PLoS ONE reveals how scientists found evidence of potentially dangerous viruses, including retroviruses and herpesviruses, in bushmeat and other wildlife products smuggled into the US. The report authors say the study shows the importance of establishing proper surveillance and testing of imported wildlife products in order to assess the potential risks they pose to public health. The products had been confiscated at several US international airports, including John F. Kennedy International Airport, George Bush Intercontinental-Houston and Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International. Among the items confiscated were raw to semi-cooked parts of baboon, chimpanzee, other non-human primates such as mangabey, guenon and green monkey, and various rodent species, including cane rat and rat.The authors note in their introduction that although we know that the global trade in wildlife has contributed to the emergence and spread of many infectious diseases, and the US is the world's largest importer of wildlife and wildlife products, it has "minimal pathogen surveillance", which makes it virtually impossible to assess the risks to public health posed by this practice. Research estimates that 75% of emerging infectious diseases in humans originate from contact with wildlife, and these diseases are transmitted through human-animal interactions inherent in the global wildlife trade. * Medical News Today
Read more ...

Climate Change

As climate change alters the temperatures of reptile habitats around the globe, tests of one lizard species suggests warmer nests could make some reptiles smarter. When researchers incubated the eggs of Bassiana duperreyi, a mountain-dwelling Australian skink, at warmer-than-usual temperatures, they grew up to perform especially well on a learning task. Herpetologists knew reptiles incubated in warmer nests developed differently, but linking hotter egg temperatures to increased intelligence is a first. “We have 16 to 17 years of data on the effects of incubation temperature on skinks. We know the hotter guys are bigger, faster, absorb more [egg] yolk,” said herpetologist Joshua Amiel of the University of Sydney, whose research was published Jan. 11 in Biology Letters. “But hardly anyone has given a look at the effect on reptile learning.”

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 *


Australia is still clearing about one million hectares of native forests and woodlands a year, resulting in a ''massive loss'' of wildlife and plant diversity, a leading environmentalist says. Stuart Blanch, a river systems ecologist appointed by the former Rudd government as a member of its Northern Land and Water Taskforce, has called for a shake-up of Australia's national reserve system to ''ratchet up'' protection of forests and tropical savanna woodlands and ''build a carbon storehouse''. Dr Blanch, the director of the Northern Territory's environment centre, wants the area of Australia's national parks and reserves to be more than doubled, from 12 per cent to 25 per cent. He has also stressed the need for a ''giant T-shaped corridor'' of protected areas in Australia's north, stretching across the Top End's tropical savannas, and '' forming a spine right down through the centre of Australia to protect our arid zone ecosystems''. Reaad More ...

AZWH Patient of the Week...Button the Swamp Wallaby

Age: Juvenile Sex: Male Transported to: The Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital by his licensed wildlife carer Helen, who had been raising Button after being orphaned. Veterinary Assessment: Dr Claude assessed Button and found that his little stomach was severely bloated. He was also suffering from bad case of gas and diarrhoea, though pathology tests cleared him of any infectious disease. Button the Swamp Wallaby Treatment: Some medical treatments attempted to resolve the bloat were unsuccessful, so Dr Claude performed an exploratory laparotomy and found that Button’s small intestines were a little tangled (intussusception), which she corrected. Dr Claude also aspirated excess air, and administered pain
relief and fluids. Future: Button is currently feeding on grasses and milk formula, and is under close observation in the Nursery ICU. He will remain in care until he is old enough for release back into the wild. AZWH Statistic: Summer is our busiest time of year for orphans, with over 275 admitted in the last two months alone. Visit our website to donate to sick and orphaned wildlife like Button.


A kangaroo was tied to the back of a car and dragged for at least two kilometres through suburban streets in Victoria's north in a stunt that has outraged police. The dead kangaroo was found lying in a pool of blood in the middle of High Street in Wodonga about 3.35am with a rope tied around its neck and paw. Acting Senior Sergeant Larry Goldsworthy, from Wodonga Police, said it was unclear whether the adolescent kangaroo was alive or dead when it was dragged behind the vehicle. Officers discovered a two-kilometre trail of blood and fur leading to where the carcass was found by a passerby. "I think the community has every right to be outraged at the behaviour of the people involved in this," Acting Senior Sergeant Goldsworthy said. "The kangaroo had a rope tied around its forearm and neck. "There was a pool of blood, missing skin and fur and when police drove around the surrounding area they found some of its internal organs on the road. "We don't know whether the kangaroo was alive or dead at the time."

Police are examining CCTV footage from surrounding streets to see if the culprits were caught on camera. Acting Senior Sergeant Goldsworthy said it was possible the offenders may have bragged about their brutal act online. "Potentially the offender may have filmed it and put it on Facebook. They could be bragging about it to their friends. Anyone with information should contact police," he said. Police said the offenders could be charged with aggravated animal cruelty if the animal was found to be alive when it was tied to the car and dragged along. The maximum penalty for that charge is two years in prison or a $60,000 fine. Anyone with information has been urged to call Wodonga Police on (02) 6049 2600 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or visit * Age

An Albury man was charged late last night over the horrific death and dragging of a kangaroo through the streets of Wodonga on Wednesday. Police revealed early this morning that the man, 19, was arrested after members of the public found references to the incident on Facebook and that reports in The Border Mail also led to people contacting Wodonga police. Police said the man had been charged with aggravated cruelty on a kangaroo. They said the man was alleged to have intentionally driven over the kangaroo and then killed it by kicking it. Police said the man also allegedly killed the kangaroo’s joey “in inhumane circumstances”. “No doubt, the matter was resolved quickly because of the assistance we gained from the public,” Sen-Sgt Damian Bould said. “We would still like to speak with any other members of the public who may have information.”

Police said the investigation was ongoing, with another man believed to have been in the vehicle at the time. The charged man is to appear before the Wodonga Magistrates Court next month. A woman walking past found the kangaroo dumped near the Westpac Bank in High Street, Wodonga, on Wednesday at 3.30am. It had been left with a rope tied around its neck and arm, while its fur and skin had been grazed from its body. The kangaroo’s neck was cut and it was face down on the pavement. The remnants of the roo left a 30-metre trail down Wodonga’s main street. Heavy rain had failed to remove a visible trail marking where the kangaroo had been dragged through the city. The other signs of the kangaroo being dragged were in Holmes Court, De Kerilleau Drive, and Lawrence Street. * Border Mail

Monitor Lizards

Frequent hunting of Malacca's giant monitor lizards for their skin and meat as well as their body liquid for aphrodisiac purposes, could drive the reptile to extinction. “Fifteen years ago, these reptiles could be easily spotted lazing along the river bank of scenic Malacca River. Now, they are hard to come by,” said city councillor Ronald Gan Yong Hoe. “In some countries, monitor lizards are protected under Endangered Species Acts. We hope the state government will move to conserve our local reptiles,” the member of the Malacca Historic City Council said. “If nothing is done, the extensive poaching of this reptile could lead to its extinction,” he said. Gan said the local monitor lizards, known locally as biawak, are large water monitor species (varanussalvator) capable of growing up to three metres long and 25 kilos in weight. He said that apart from their skin and meat, the reptlie was sought for a liquid from its body that was commonly believed to increase sexual prowess in both men and women.

Gan said the reptile's thick and leathery skin was used for clothing accessories, such as bags and belts, while its meat was said to have healing powers for ailments such as asthma and pneumonia besides increasing sexual prowess. He said that besides poaching, the reptiles were often exposed to other risks, such as being hit by vehicles when crossing roads. On a more positive note, Gan said a father and daughter from Australia, who dubbed themselves as Biawak Dundees, were rescuing and treating injured monitor lizards here. Gan added that following a proposal by Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam, the state government has made lizard- watching one of the features of the Malacca River cruise. Meanwhile, mayor Zainal Abu said poaching activities along the river bank has declined due to continuous patrols by the council's enforcement officers. However, he added, there could still be some hunting upstream and it was up to the state Wildlife and National Parks Department to curtail such activity. * The Star

Dingo Killing

The art of hunting wild dogs appears to be well and truly alive in the Bymount region, north of Roma, where local landowner, Danny Sutton (pictured), has single-handedly destroyed more than 100 wild dogs in the past six months. Mr Sutton has handed over 97 scalps to the Maranoa Regional Council since the start of July 2011. He also shot several more wild dogs from a helicopter that were not recovered, bringing his total for the past six months to over 100. Widely respected for his trapping and shooting abilities, Mr Sutton believes his tally is just the tip of the iceberg. "The dogs are everywhere now and what I've got is just a fraction of what's out there," he said. "About 75pc of those dogs were shot within a 20km radius of here."Queensland Country Life caught up with Mr Sutton at his 2270-hectare property, Freshfields, 20km west of Bymount and 90km north of Roma.

Together with his wife Donna, Mr Sutton runs a cattle operation on the property, but heads out to hunt for pups and dogs whenever he has the time. He learned the art of trapping and tracking dogs from other local landholders including Les Ridge and Garry Lee. Mr Sutton said his recent tally included around 65 pups caught in the local area. "I used to trap a lot of dogs but it can be a full-time job, and I just don't get the time now," he said. "I generally start looking for pups around July all you can do is go out and look for their tracks and try to follow them. "You can waste whole days or you can find them in 15 minutes. "Whenever I get a spare few hours I jump on the bike and go looking." Mr Sutton's talent for destroying wild dogs will no doubt put him in contention for the inaugural Golden Dogger Awards in 2012.

An initiative of the Maranoa Regional Wild Dog Advisory Group, the awards aim to reward people within the Maranoa region who present scalps for the $50 bounty from January 1 to December 31, 2012. The awards will include categories such as Golden Dogger, Inside Dogger, Outside Dogger, Novice Dogger, Junior Dogger, Most Active Landholder Inside the Fence, Most Active Landholder Outside the Fence and Most Active Kangaroo Shooter. Mr Sutton is a member of the Maranoa Wild Dog Advisory Committee and believes more landholders need to take responsibility for the growing number of wild dogs throughout western Queensland. "We need to do something to encourage more people to actively hunt for dogs," he said.
"I don't think increasing the bounty for anyone who catches the odd dog is the solution it needs to be a system where people are encouraged to get a large number of dogs. "These dogs must be doing damage to cattle herds now, too we are constantly hearing stories about people finding dead calves these days." *Qld Country Life

Animal Politics in the ACT

If you live in the ACT why should you join the Animal Justice Party? The election in the ACT will be held in 2012. The AJP need more ACT members by this February. A minimum of 100 are needed in order to be included in the election. This number has not been reached yet. Please become a member of this important political party ASAP. Let your acquaintances, friends and family know about this and urge them to join. It would be fantastic to have the AJP running in the local election this year! The Membership form is online, and can be posted to AJP po box 3126 Blakehurst NSW 2221 or if you wish can be scanned and emailed to Australia's largest kangaroo meat processor says the long awaited resumption of trade with Russia and China could take place within the next six months.

Ed comment; The ACT Greens are undoubtably the most despicable political Party in Australia. They entered the ACT Parliament through a deal with the then Chief Minister John Stanhope, who was responsible for the ongoing slaughter of thousands of kangaroos around Canberra. The ACT Greens support the slaughter, and in spite of much community opposition, they still do. Some of the ACT kangaroo experts tried to talk some sense into them, but they made a deal to get into Government, and continue to support the killing. If you live in Canberra please support the Animal Justice Party so they can get a Candidate into the next ACT election. They need more Members before February 2012. Join Now! http://

Another Kangaroo Industry Beatup

Beginning as a supplier for the pet food market in the early 1980s, South Australia-based Macro Meats supplies about 100 tonnes of kangaroo meat for human consumption every week to more than 2500 supermarkets across Australia. Managing director Ray Borda said the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) would meet with Russian trade officials in Berlin on January 16, where trade resumption was expected to be discussed. Mr Borda, who also serves as Kanga-roo Industry Association of Australia president, said while he expected the Russian Government to again request to inspect major Australian plants before giving trade the green light, he hoped an an-nouncement would be made before the end of the financial year. "The Russians asked the Australians to take part in the meeting. It is the first time since the roo ban that we have seen a positive move by the Russians, so we are all very hopeful," he said. He said AQIS was similarly preparing a document which he expected to be lodged with the Chinese Government in the coming weeks and which refuted the "baseless claims" of anti-kangaroo industry protest groups.

The Chinese Government became reluctant to import kangaroo product last year following a backlash from its decision to import seal meat from Canada and a sustained protest campaign from animal rights activists in Australia. "There is a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel ? the Federal Government is putting together a factual report to be presented to the Chinese to prove there are no animal welfare issues and the allegations coming from activists are untrue," he said. "The Russian market has also been going without kangaroo meat for three years and yet our Russian customers are still asking for it. There is more than enough demand internationally for the Australian roo industry." However, he that warned increasing international trade, even with major markets, was not without its difficulties.

He said he was concerned that the expanding kangaroo populations and big increases in harvest quotas could encourage the industry to rapidly lift production, causing an oversupply of kangaroo meat in international marketplace, which would drive prices down. He said this would set a "dangerous" precedent that would threaten the long- term sustainability of the industry. "There are more kangaroos out there than we've ever seen in history but we are still waiting on the Chinese and Russian markets to get started," he said. "Consistency is the key to our industry. We could all go out and try to sell the big supply levels we have now but we would have to sell it at a price far too low to be sustainable. It is crucial we pick up one of those two markets because gives us a greater capacity without having to prostitute our price." Whereas the wider kangaroo meat industry had struggled since the closure of the Russian trade in 2009, Mr Borda said his company has seen 25 percent annual growth in retail sales of kangaroo meat in recent years, mostly through the domestic market.

Mr Borda said the Russian trade only accounted for about 10percent of his business prior to its suspension. He said Macro Meats had taken an "under the radar" approach to marketing domestically, using the proven health strengths of the product to target health conscious consumers, including providing information and recipes to dieticians and weight loss companies. "To market kangaroo meat is not something that is easy," he said. "We spend a lot of money defending ourselves against animal activists who make silly accusations with no basis of fact. The animal activists don't want anyone to eat meat at all, but kangaroos are an especially easy target because of the general public's lack of knowledge on the issue. "Kangaroo meat for human consumption is still very much in its infancy. We have only been eating it for 15 years in this country. When you think people have been eating beef and pork for thousands of years, you are not going to be able to change that tradition overnight." *Stock and Land