Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Wildlfie Bytes 16/2/12

Leading Story...New Qld Coastal Plan

Billion-dollar port expansions on Queensland's coastline will now be exempt from environmental restrictions. The exemptions from the Queensland Coastal Plan will allow ports greater flexibility to dredge, reclaim land and build canals than other developments along the coast. The plan also exempts port developments from requirements that they not adversely affect the habitat of threatened species, or places that support a "critical life-stage ecological process", such as feeding, brooding or roosting. The plan, which came into effect on Friday, creates a statewide policy to protect against the damaging impacts of climate change, including forecast storm surges and increased intensity of cyclones. Mackay Conservation Group co-ordinator Patricia Julien said the consolidation of local coastal plans into a statewide policy was a "step backwards" as it did not include sufficient local factors. "We were not happy about the ports being excluded," she said. "Everyone should be dealt with under the same rules and regulations. If you get too many exemptions and too many loopholes then what is the point of the policy?"

Ports are rapidly expanding as Queensland's booming coal-seam gas, liquefied natural gas and coal industries ramp up production and export facilities. Abbot Point port is expected to undergo a $9bn expansion to add an extra six terminals, Hay Point will have a $2.5bn overhaul, and Weipa will be upgraded in a $1.3bn development. A UNESCO delegation will inspect Gladstone sites next month amid concerns about the impact of more shipping traffic on the Great Barrier Reef. Greens senator Larissa Waters said Queensland was continually failing to protect the environment, and the coastal plan would not stop "a repeat of the Gladstone harbour environmental disaster" along the coast. A North Queensland Bulk Ports Authority spokeswoman referred questions about the ports' environmental requirements to Queensland's Environment Department. Environment Minister Vicky Darling did not respond to The Australian yesterday. A Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority spokeswoman said ports had been excluded from the environmental park when it was established in 1975 but development activities that could potentially impact on the marine park would be referred to the federal Environment Department. *Network Item


A wildlife Rally in Brisbane this week was really well attended. A number of speakers raised many wildlife issues. WPAA spoke briefly too, and the content is below.

It's too late!

If your family, your kids, haven't yet seen a mob of wild red kangaroos, with the big red male kangaroo out in's nearly too late. If your kids haven't yet seen a wild koala in a tree in a forest...its nearly too late. If your kids haven't yet seen a wild native dog, such as the Fraser Island's nearly too late. If your kids haven't walked with you through a rainforest, and watched and listened to the's nearly too late. If your kids haven't yet seen a flock of 100 or so Major Mitchell cockatoos flying into a tree at dusk to is already too late! If you are lucky, you may see one or two. If your kids havent yet seen a flock of the big, beautiful topknot pigeons that only 20 years ago could be seen in flocks of 50 or more flying along the Queensland coast feeding on the fruits of the vine is already too late! If you are lucky, you may see one, two, or six. If your kids havent yet seen the huge summer swarms of beautiful blue butterflies on the Queensland coastline......... that in the1800's Flinders described as "a living blue carpet over the ocean" is already too late! If you are lucky, you may see a remnant 20 or so.

Anyone that has anything to do with wildlife knows we are losing ourspecies hand over fist. Every species we have is in some sort of trouble...for some that trouble may be some years away, but for many species it is serious trouble now, for other species...well...its just too late! Queensland has the worst wildlife management record of any State. Development at any environmental cost has wiped out habitat for many species. Sadly, that development mania is still hurtling along as though we had another Planet to step onto tomorrow....and of course we havent.

Northlakes, Caloundra South, CSG, Coal mines right across Queensland, two megacities proposed for Sth West Brisbane, giant housing and Industrial developments everywhere......and Gladstone Harbor deliberately trashed to facilitate the Coal Seam Gas Industry.

What we at WPAA expect of the next Government is something we have never seen before in the history of Queensland...we want to see a Government elected that cares about wildlife...a Government that will protect wildlife....those species that are still here anyway. So when you sit down with your family and your kids tonight at dinner, and they ask you if you have ever seen a large flock of Major Mitchell cockatoos, you can say, sorry kids, I never did, and now its too late...its just too late! *WPAA


Kangaroos have been shot and killed with a bow and arrows in what park rangers are describing as a “distressing” spate of attacks on Mount Ainslie, ACT. Two kangaroos were shot dead by arrows in the area in the past two weeks, and one had to be put down to end its suffering. National Parks, Reserves and Rural Land manager Stephen Hughes said those responsible for the attacks could be charged a range of offences, which could see them face two years in prison and up to $22,000 of fines. “It is very distressing to discover this illegal behaviour which, in addition to the suffering caused to the kangaroos, poses a public safety hazard,” he said. “Mount Ainslie is a high use reserve which is particularly popular with late afternoon and evening walkers, joggers and cyclists.” Police and park rangers have stepped up their monitoring of the area to try and catch the culprits. Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or make a report via the website at * Canberra Times

A crazed kangaroo has been put down at the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary after it attacked two volunteers. One of the volunteers faces surgery for a broken hip after she and her colleague were attacked by a large male kangaroo. "Alpha Male" kangaroo Spartan kicked the volunteer to the ground on Monday and then turned on a second volunteer who came to her aid. The other volunteer suffered a fractured rib. Sanctuary chief executive officer Jonathan Fisher said Spartan was removed from the paddock and later put down on the advice of veterinarians. He said Spartan "was one of our more docile and much-loved kangaroos'' and that a post-mortem will be carried out to see if there was any reason why the kangaroo attacked. * Gold Coast Bulletin Ed Comment; Readers comments supported the kangaroo.

Chinese visitors received a real taste of Australia during a two-day visit to Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Horsham. The scientists from the Yunnan Academy of Agricultural Sciences at Yunnan Province in far southwest China feasted on barbecued kangaroo as well as touring the site and hearing presentations from DPI staff. During the visit an agreement was made to develop a research project that involves the exchange and characterisation of pulse germplasm for a wide range of traits. It will also involve the development of elite germplasm utilising the latest genetics and genomics techniques, including whole genome sequencing. A major part of the collaboration will involve an exchange of scientists and scientific training. Yunnan is located in the southwest corner of China and borders several countries including Vietnam, Laos and Burma. Its climate can range from tropical to temperate allowing for a range of agricultural activities. The Institute has breeding programs in maize, wheat, rice, beans and legumes. *Stock and Land

Kangaroo Documentary

The new documetary "Kangaroo Mob" will have it's television premier on ABC at 8.30 pm on Tuesday, February 21st. Subtitled "meet the mob of streetsmart kangaroos" moving into Australia's Capital city.


Residents of a town in south-western Pennsylvania say they are under siege by thousands of crows that won't go away. The crows are hanging out overnight in California, Washington County. Residents and business owners say they are loud and dirty and keeping people inside. One woman stuck a scarecrow in a tree, hoping to chase off her avian occupiers. It did not work. California University of Pennsylvania tried lasers and other measures trying to chase the birds off campus. * AP

Tassie Devils

A Tasmanian woman got the shock of her life early today when she found two Tasmanian devils mating in her garage. Karen Reeves and her son, Brenton Kelly, were woken about 1am to hear a strange noise coming from outside, The Advocate reports. Brenton, 15, looked outside to find two devils growling in the corner of the garage in Somerset on Tasmania's north-west coast. By 3am, the noise increased, so Ms Reeves got out of bed and shooed them out of the garage with a broom. "They were half squealing, half hissing ... the noise got louder and louder," she said. The devils fled the garage, still mating, and were also seen in Somerset's main street. Devil facial tumour disease has ravaged the species, threatening their extinction in the wild. Numbers have plunged by 84 per cent since the cancer first took hold in the late 1990s, according to the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program. *


Coolum animal rights activist Jaylene Musgrave has launched a campaign appealing to Sunshine Coast developers to rethink the increase in land clearing from Noosa to Bribie Island. According to the director of Farm Animal Rescue Australia and Sunshine Coast Koala Wildlife Rescue, land on the Sunshine Coast is being rapidly cleared to make way for development. Vegan Warriors, of which Ms Musgrave is a part of, is concerned the clearing will reduce the natural habitat for Coast wildlife. Ms Musgrave has met with the council and the Greens to discuss buy-back alternatives with “no luck”. “There has been no action taken on suggestions to buy back land from developers,” she said. “I have been meeting with (them) to discuss options on incorporating wildlife areas within land marked for clearing, but have had no response. “If we don’t start demanding action, we will be looking at concrete jungles where once many native animals lived.”

She said the pressure on animal carers and the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital was enormous. “There are nearly 90 koalas being cared for at the hospital at any given time and endless surgery to roos and other native wildlife. “The reality is, what we love so dearly about our region, is inevitably disappearing forever.” Ms Musgrave said she held grave concerns for the future of Australian fauna. “Native marsupials struggle to survive with all the odds stacked against them – drought, loss of habitat, encroachment of civilisation, illegal and legal culling by farmers, roadside deaths as well as culling in state forests, parks, reserves, national parks,” she said. “And of course threat from the kangaroo industry which kills close to four million roos nationwide annually to supply meat for export and pet food. “Let’s start making some noise and give our native animals a voice.” *CoolumNews 95% of South East Queenslands natural koala habitat is now gone as a result of land clearing that's making way for new urban dwellings to keep up with what is Australia's fastest growing region. The koala is now in serious danger of disappearing for good. * CoolumNews


At least 264 dead bottlenose dolphins have washed ashore over the past three days on Peru's northern coast, officials said as they seek to discover what killed the marine animals. The dead dolphins were found over a 103 kilometre stretch of sandy beach, said Edward Barriga, an official with Peru's Oceanic Institute (IMARPE). "We have taken samples to determine the cause of death," said Barriga, speaking from the city of Lambayeque, adding that vast quantities of dead anchovies had also been found in the region. The dolphins may have been killed by the impact of off-shore oil exploration and drilling in the region, said Carlos Yaipen with ORCA, a non-governmental group that focuses helping ocean creatures in the south Pacific. The mass dolphin deaths are a "very serious" issue, Yaipen said. The head of a Lambayeque group representing aquafarmers, Jorge Cabrejos, said the anchovies appear to have eaten contaminated plankton, which then sickened the dolphins that ate the small fish. Thirty-four of the world's 81 species of cetaceans swim off the Peruvian shores, 17 of which are dolphins. Of those, the most common is the bottlenose dolphin. *AFP

Leadbeaters Possums

The last three known remaining leadbeater's possums from Lake Mountain, in Victoria, have been rescued and moved to the Healesville Sanctuary. A search of the Lake Mountain area found just three of a colony of around 300 had survived the 2009 bushfires. The one female and two young male possums are the only three being held in captivity anywhere in the world. It is estimated fewer than 1,000 of the possums exist in the wild. *ABC

Peta Action Dismissed

A federal judge has dismissed the bid of animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) to free the performing orcas of the Seaworld amusement park. The ruling was made late on Wednesday in a San Diego court. US District Judge Jeffrey Miller ruled that the five whales could not be protected under the 13th Amendment to the US constitution, which bans slavery, because the 1865 measure applies only to humans. "As 'slavery' and 'involuntary servitude' are uniquely human activities, as those terms have been historically and contemporaneously applied, there is simply no basis to construe the 13th Amendment as applying to non-humans," Judge Miller wrote in his ruling. PETA attorney Jeffrey Kerr had argued earlier in the week that invoking slavery ban to free the orcas was "the next frontier of civil rights". Reacting to the judgement on Thursday, PETA said that the case was "historic" and represented "one more step toward the inevitable day when all animals will be free from enslavement for human entertainment." *Age

Marine Pests

They are small, they cling to the bottom of boats or lurk in ballast water, and can wreak havoc on Australia's waterways. The federal government has drawn up a list of most wanted marine pests, which arrive on international vessels and pose a serious environmental threat. Among the alien molluscs trying to muscle in are species such as lady crab or Asian paddle crab; acorn barnacle; colonial sea squirt; black striped mussel; and European zebra mussel. The government is considering new national regulations to lessen the risk of boats carrying such unwelcome tourists, where some vessels deemed high risk would be subject to inspections by biosecurity officers from the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. A list of 56 species of concern has been drawn up. *age
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Ed comment; Its too late, these things are everywhere that overseas vessels go into port. Gladstone Harbor is full of them, and the scientist who was working for the Gladstone Harbor Board was sacked 15 years ago for raising his concerns then. Action should have been taken then, but the matter was pushed under the carpet by the development at any cost Queensland Labor Government. Now its too late.....


A conservation group demonstrating an anti-poaching method for reporters in South Africa accidentally killed the rhinoceros they were using in the demonstration. The rhino, nicknamed Spencer, went into convulsions and died after he was shot with a tranquilizer dart in front of a crush of TV cameras and photographers who had been invited to document an operation to insert a poison capsule into his horn. The private reserve near the capital, Pretoria, calls in veterinarians to sedate rhinos so their horns can be treated with a dye and an insecticide, and tracking and identification devices can be inserted.A male in his mid to late 20s, fairly old for such an animal, could not be revived after being sedated Thursday, said Rhino Rescue Project spokeswoman Lorinda Hern. "The rhino had an unfortunate reaction to the anesthesia," she said. "Every time you dart a rhino, you take a risk that the rhino might not wake up and unfortunately today was one of those days."

Conservation groups insert poison capsules into the horns of rhinos, which release poison into the horn when it is removed from the animal and are meant to render the horn value-less for hunters seeking to sell it on for use in traditional medicine. Conservation groups sometimes remove horns from rhinos to deter poachers, as's Dara Brown reported in the video below. The horns are similar to hair or fingernails, and grow back after several months. South Africa is trying to save black rhinos by having veterinarians cut off their valuable horns before poachers kill them.'s Dara Brown reports. Both anti-poaching procedures require the rhinos to be sedated. A decade ago South Africa, with more than 20,000 rhinos, was losing about 15 animals a year to poachers. But poaching has increased dramatically since about 2007 as the spread of wealth in places like Vietnam and Thailand has enabled more people to buy rhino horn, which is believed to have magical or medicinal properties in some cultures.

In museums across Europe, rhinoceros horns have been the target of thieves at least 30 times this year, as they go for $99,000 per kilo. Europe NBC's Jim Maceda reports. A record 448 rhinos were killed by poachers last year in South Africa, home to the greatest number of the animals. The number was up sharply up from 122 in 2009 and 333 in 2010, according to a report by A majority were killed in the Kruger National Park, which borders on Mozambique, the report said. "It's sad for us; it's the loss of another animal," Hern said, referring to the rhino's death. "It's a death that I still chalk up to poaching." * .

Shark Finning

Underwater filmmaker and conservationist Ben Cropp is calling for the Australian Government to ban shark fin soup and the export of fins in a bid to save dwindling shark numbers. The Australian Anti Shark Finning Alliance estimates 73 million sharks are killed each year for their fins, with up to 100 million killed in total including casualties of bycatch and long lines. Speaking to TAASFA director Mick Dowers at Port Douglas earlier this month for an upcoming campaign, Mr Cropp said there had been a noticeable decline in shark numbers in recent years. “There are less sharks now, and less big ones – especially the tigers. Places like Batt Reef where we always went to film sharks, we only see a few now,” he said. Mr Cropp said he was “totally against” the practice of taking shark fins. “It’s abhorrent what they do – cutting the fins off and throwing the carcass over, the poor shark is trying to swim and has no fins,” he said.

He added that the Australian Government could stop the trade easily, firstly by banning shark fin soup and secondly by banning the export of shark fins. “There are American states and big hotel chains in Asia that have done it, and we in Australia should set a good example to the rest of the world,” he said. Mr Dowers also questioned the role of shark nets along the New South Wales and Queensland coastlines, especially baited drum lines used from Coolangatta to Cairns. “Shark meshing kills off so many endangered species and it has never been proven that meshing saves lives,” Mr Cropp told him. “The law of averages says there is eventually going to be an attack on a mesh beach, but the trouble we have in stopping it is that it’s ingrained in people psychologically that if the beach is meshed, it’s safe to swim.” *Cairns Post

Shark Nets

Radical (according to conservationists are cutting down or slicing holes in shark nets, putting the lives of swimmers and surfers at risk. Nets are believed to have been damaged with knives on four separate occasions and at least once, at Bondi, the vandals cut the net from its anchors, leaving it washed up at nearby Ben Buckler. Primary Industries Department spokesman Brett Fifield said the Department had investigated vandalism at Bondi, Maroubra, MacMasters Beach on the New South Wales Central Coast and most recently Warriewood on the northern beaches. "These acts of sabotage are senseless. The success of these nets speaks for itself. Slashing a hole in a net reduces their effectiveness," Mr Fifield said. "At the end of the day it's about protecting humans with minimal impact on marine life."

Some conservationists have been waging a bitter campaign against the nets for years, claiming they are also killing large amounts of other marine life, including dolphins, whales and sea turtles. The NSW Greens refused to condemn the attacks yesterday, with MP Cate Faehrmann saying: "Shark nets are indiscriminate killers of harmless marine life and are next to useless in preventing attacks anyway. "The Government should remove them. Given how much harmless marine life are killed in shark nets it's not surprising they have become targets in this way." Glen "Lenny" Folkard, who survived an attack by a 3.1m bull shark while surfing at Redhead Beach four weeks ago, condemned the damaging of the nets.
Mr Folkard said he wondered how the vandals would feel if there was an attack at a beach where they had damaged nets. "You can be against the nets but keep the debate on land," he said. *


There was a dramatic rescue off the Coromandel Coast (NZ) this afternoon, after an orca became tangled in a crayfish pot. Other orca gathered as the animal called for help. Luckily a local diver managed to cut him free and capture some of the drama on film. Diver Rhys Cochrane came to the rescue after he was alerted by the Department of Conservation this afternoon. “The orca was just below the surface and the cray pot was on the bottom, but in order for him to come up and get air he had to surface and pull the cray pot off the bottom,” says Mr Cochrane. The orca's tail was twisted in a crayfish buoy south of Hahei beach, just a few hundred metres from the shoreline. Orca sightings are common in this area. The animal was tired and distressed when Mr Cochrane arrived, with injuries indicating he had been tied up for some time.

“There were cuts all over the orca's face, down the body and tail; he was bleeding a little bit.” Mr Cochrane dove down to see how to untangle the crayfish pot. “The whole time he was calling; I could hear vivid calls from the orca and just at the end there were five or six orcas including the bull.” A knife was used to cut through the rope, the orca remained still throughout. “He didn't seem to mind, or maybe even knew that I was trying to help him. “The others were fine too, and not reacting like they would be in the wild. Maybe they knew I was helping him.” 3


One of the world's smallest primates, the Philippine tarsier, communicates in a range of ultrasound inaudible to predator and prey alike, according to a study published in the British Royal Society's Biology Letters. No bigger than a man's hand, Tarsius syrichta can hear and emit sounds at a frequency that effectively gives it a private channel for issuing warnings or ferreting out crickets for a night-time snack. Only a handful of mammals are known to be able to send and receive vocal signals in the ultrasound range, above 20 kilohertz (kHz), including some whales, domestic cats and a few of the many species of bats. And few of these can squeal, screech or squawk at the same sonic altitudes as the saucer-eyed tarsier, which up to now had been mistakenly described as being ''ordinarily silent,'' researchers found. *Age
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A conservation group is to survey the Galilee Basin, in central western Queensland, to map bird species in the area. Several major coal mines are planned in the basin, including Clive Palmer's $8 billion Waratah Coal project. Last year, an endangered black-throated finch was discovered in the area. Graham Rogers from Bird Life Australia says it is keen to survey all of the proposed mining sites to get a clearer picture of the ecosystem. "It's been very poorly surveyed in the past," Mr Rogers said. "There are a lot of empty gaps there we need to fill in." Mr Rogers says there is an area about 150 kilometres by 100 kilometres that could be subject to mining or rail lines. "We are concerned that if there are valuable areas for birds there, that they don't get damaged," he said. *ABC


A tree-dwelling binturong remains on the loose in the Sunshine Coast hinterland after escaping from Australia Zoo. Binturongs, found in the wild in India, Burma, Malaysia and Indonesia, are odd-looking creatures with shaggy black fur, stiff white whiskers, a small face and intense eyes. They hang from branches by their tail like a monkey, but are more closely related to civets, bears and otters. They mainly eat fruit. An Australia Zoo spokeswoman said the 14kg creature, named Jaya, was discovered missing on January 31. She said Jaya's sister Pip had been found injured, but was recovering well. "Authorities are continuing to assist Australia Zoo staff to locate Jaya safely," the spokeswoman said. "There are no signs to indicate any human involvement in Jaya's disappearance and investigations are ongoing. "Although Jaya is accustomed to human contact, he may now be defensive and scared." Binturongs, sometimes called bearcats, can grow to a metre long and spend most of their time wandering treetops in the dense forests of south-east Asia, using their bushy tails for balance and support. If you see Jaya: Leave him alone and phone 5436 2120.*Courier Mail

Illegal Logging

Australia should join the widening effort to stamp out illegal logging, according to testimony given this week by tropical ecologist William Laurance with James Cook University. Presenting before the Australian Senate's rural affairs committee, Laurance argued that the massive environmental and economic costs of illegal logging worldwide should press Australia to tighten regulations against importing illegally logged timber at home. "Countries like Australia import a lot of timber and wood and paper products, especially from the Asia-Pacific region. Illegal logging is still rife in this region and Australia has a chance here to make some important inroads in the global battle to fight illegal logging and timber theft," Laurance told
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New SA Conservation Parks

The State Government will protect magnificent bays on the state's West Coast with two new conservation parks. It is a big win for a local friends group, which has been fighting for more than a decade to save the bays, home to endangered raptors and sea lions. A property with clifftop views of Heart Bay, known to some locals as Bum Bay, was saved from developers when the Native Vegetation Council ruled against clearing the land. Construction had been given the go-ahead by a Council Development Assessment Panel, endorsed by the local Streaky Bay Council. Today, Sustainability, Environment and Conservation Minister Paul Caica will announce two new parks - the Cape Blanche Conservation Park (810ha in size) and the Searcy Bay Conservation Park (870ha), about 25km south of Streaky Bay, between Venus Bay and Point Brown on Eyre Peninsula. Convenor of the Friends of Sceale Bay, Grant Hobson, is thrilled with the outcome.

"It's actually just putting a stamp on that area and saying yes, this is an extremely important wilderness area, it needs to be protected and managed for the future," Mr Hobson said. "It's just a real important, in bold, underlined commitment that they understand and respect and are willing to support long-term planning to preserve those natural heritage assets that have clearly been identified. "It's a big commitment on their part and we really congratulate them for having the conviction to follow it through." Mr Caica said the two new parks added 1680ha to the state's reserve system. "This spectacular area of the Eyre Peninsula contains significant remnant vegetation and provides important habitat for a number of important and iconic species, and the State Government is committed to ensuring the area is protected," Mr Caica said. "The coastal cliffs adjacent to the new conservation parks provide important breeding habitat for the eastern osprey and white-bellied sea-eagle. "Both of these species are listed as endangered under the South Australian National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972 and are protected under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Act 1999." The Peregrine falcon, which is listed as rare under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972, also lives in the area. *Adelaide Now

Kangaroo Industry

Australia is making a renewed effort this year to lift a 2009 ban on imports of kangaroo meat to Russia. The Federal Consumer Protection Service, which issued the ban after it uncovered cases of bacterial contamination, said Australia is also asking to allow its meat producers to ship other animal products to the newly formed Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, Bloomberg reported. According to data supplied by the Australian Embassy, Russia imported 5,300 tons of kangaroo meat in 2008-09 — the last full 12-month period before the ban went into effect — representing 59 percent of total exports.''This was nothing for the Russian meat market, which, for example, imported a total of up to 800,000 tons of beef in 2009,'' said Sergei Yushin, head of the National Meat Association's executive committee. Nearly all the kangaroo meat was being supplied to the Far East — the Primorye region — and was used in the meat-processing sector, Yushin said. So, Muscovites were denied the chance to taste kangaroo meat sausages.

Kangaroo meat was essential for the Primorye region meat market, Vladivostok-based importer Igor Dorokhov told The Moscow Times. 'I've been in this business since 1998, and until the ban in 2009 was delivering 150 tons to 200 tons per month on average," Dorokhov said. "I would continue this, if supplies of kangaroo meat were allowed. There is not enough meat production in the Primorye region — just 30,000 head of cattle now — it's zero,'' he said. Unlike beef, kangaroo meat was not limited by import quotas. "Now we are forced to work with St. Petersburg and Moscow companies," Dorokhov said. Shipments from Australia directly to Vladivostok cost $4,000 per container, but to get them from Moscow or St. Petersburg to Vladivostok will cost $9,000 per container.Importers say kangaroo meat was cheaper for them than beef. In 2008-09 it cost up to $3.50 per kilogram — 20 cents cheaper then beef.''It means that you can make sausages cheaper with the use of additives and fillers,'' he said. After the kangaroo meat ban, prices on meat products in Primorye region shot up 20 percent.

But local industry experts have doubts about the meat. "Kangaroos are wild animals, in Australia they are like locusts," said Yushin of the meat association. "They damage farms and are shot in fields. We don't know when this meat makes it to meat-packing plants. Our sanitary instructions were not followed on a number of occasions,'' he said. Importer Dorokhov disagrees and told The Moscow Times that a lot of independent laboratory research was done and that nothing harmful was found in the meat. ''This meat for the restaurant segment is exotic — it cannot be called popular," said Nadezhda Kushniryuk, head of The Australian Trade House company. "So there was no panic in the restaurant world in august of 2009" when the meat was banned, she said. But there was interest. Until the ban, the Australia Open restaurant in Moscow offered patrons three different dishes with kangaroo meat, which averaged 700 rubles ($23) in price. ''We sold 50 dishes per month and consumed 10 kilograms of kangaroo meat,'' said Andrei Voropayev, senior chef at Australia Open.

Kangaroo meat is very rich in protein and contains almost no fat. Some meat aficionados say it tastes like wild poultry. Its uniqueness could be the cause of its popularity in Russia. "Kangaroo is exotic and therefore desired. Expensive and unusual are what Russian men desire at the table," said an expat chef working in Moscow. "But, it's hard to cook well," she added. Russia will produce enough meat and milk to increase exports of both by at least 20 percent by 2020, Agriculture Minister Yelena Skrynnik said, Bloomberg reported Tuesday. Meat production is seen rising 23 percent to 1.8 million tons, while milk output will increase 20 percent to 6.5 million tons in 2020, according to an e-mailed statement from Skrynnik, to be given to the Agroferma livestock exhibition in Moscow on Tuesday. The government plans to spend 700 billion rubles ($23 billion) to support Russia's livestock breeding in the period from 2013 and through 2020, she said. *Kangaroo meat is very rich in protein and contains almost no fat. Some meat aficionados say it tastes like wild poultry. Its uniqueness could be the cause of its popularity in Russia. "Kangaroo is exotic and therefore desired. Expensive and unusual are what Russian men desire at the table," said an expat chef working in Moscow. "But, it's hard to cook well," she added.

Russia will produce enough meat and milk to increase exports of both by at least 20 percent by 2020, Agriculture Minister Yelena Skrynnik said, Bloomberg reported Tuesday. Meat production is seen rising 23 percent to 1.8 million tons, while milk output will increase 20 percent to 6.5 million tons in 2020, according to an e-mailed statement from Skrynnik, to be given to the Agroferma livestock exhibition in Moscow on Tuesday. The government plans to spend 700 billion rubles ($23 billion) to support Russia's livestock breeding in the period from 2013 and through 2020, she said. * Moscow times

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