Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Wildlife Bytes 29/2/12

Flying Foxes...Urgent Editorial

Wildlife gropus have belatedly found out that the LNP, if elected in Queensland, will allow fruit farmers to be issued with Crop Mitigation Permits to shoot flying foxes. A campaign against this is about to start, but we urgently need emails sent to the LNP asking them not to allow the issueing of CDP's to shoot Flying Foxes.

If you email Cambell Newman at his electoral office, the email is forwarded onto the State Team’s Policy Unit. Newman's email is newman@lnpqld.org.au

To email the State Opposition Leaders Jeff Seeney, his email is leaderoftheopposition@opposition.qld.gov.au

Opposition Environment spokesperson Andrew Powell is glass.house@parliament.qld.gov.au

Please urgently send them all an email, asking them not to allow the issueing of Crop Destruction Permits for Flying Foxes. Some email content ideas are below.

Early European settlers recorded huge camps of flying-foxes that would blacken the sky when they flew out at dusk. But with large-scale land clearing and killing, flying fox populations have greatly declined. In the 1930s biologist Francis Ratcliffe estimated there were “many millions” of Grey-headed flying-foxes, and that they had already suffered a 50% decline. Now there are far fewer Greys, an estimated 400,000 or so. Because flying-foxes typically don’t breed successfully until they are three and give birth to just one young a year, maintenance of their populations requires high survival rates.

The ripening of many orchard crops (eg. lychees and stone fruits) coincides with the birth season for most flying-foxes. If their mothers are killed in orchards, young flyingfoxes starve to death in the colony.

Another welfare problem is that because of the difficult shooting conditions at night in orchards, a high rate of wounding is inevitable.

Even if all flying-foxes shot in orchards could be killed quickly and humanely, there is no way of preventing the starvation of dependent young. No code of practice can overcome this hurdle.

If a fruitgrower acquires a Permit to shoot 30 flying foxes each night, who is counting the kill? Noone!

Please help the Flying Foxes, send your emails today, and please urgently pass this appeal onto your friends and allies. *WPAA

New Book

This is the webpage for a great new book titled Arktel, the Planet Only Children Could Save which is about how children get together to save their planet, and mirrors the problems that our own planet is facing. It is a beautifully illustrated book for all ages and would make a great gift for children and adults. The author Menkit Prince, is an activist and crusader for the survival of kangaroos and all Australian wildlife and the environment, and needs you help to get this book out there. http://www.planetarktel.com/PlanetArktel/Home.html

Flying Foxes

A plague of about two to three hundred thousand bats has descended on Katherine. The Katherine Sportsground has been closed because falling mahogany branches are a danger.
Mayor Anne Shepherd said all the council can do is wait for the bats to destroy all the branches and wait for the black and red flying foxes to leave. She said the bat faeces "reeks''. The sportsground has four ovals, a BMX track, basketball, tennis and netball courts, a skate park, a children's adventure playground, and an aquatic centre.
AFL is played at the Katherine showgrounds. *NT News


Hoons have mown down and killed a pregnant kangaroo with car at La Trobe Bendigo. Neil Morgan of Wildlife Rescue Emergency Service was called to the university campus this morning. "In the early hours of the morning, a few people in a car have chased down a group of kangaroos and mown into them in one of the car parks," he said. "It is pretty horrendous. "A female kangaroo is dead. She had a joey at foot and one in the pouch, which I had to euthanase. The one in the pouch was too small to raise." Mr Morgan said a patrolling security guard saw the car hit at least one more kangaroo. "We believe that is injured and could be nearby," he said "Police have been contacted and we will head out there this afternoon (Sunday)." Bendigo Weekly

Climate Change

A changing climate isn't just about floods, droughts and heatwaves. It brings erupting volcanoes and catastrophic earthquakes, says Bill McGuire in London. The idea that a changing climate can persuade the ground to shake, volcanoes to rumble and tsunamis to crash on to unsuspecting coastlines seems, at first, to be bordering on the insane. How can what happens in the thin envelope of gas that shrouds and protects our world possibly influence the potentially earth-shattering processes that operate deep beneath the surface? The fact that it does reflects a failure of our imagination and a limited understanding of the manner in which the different physical components of our planet - the atmosphere, the oceans, and the solid earth, or geosphere - intertwine and interact. *Age
Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/environment/climate-change/climate-change-is-set-to-shake-the-earth-20120228-1tzr2.html#ixzz1nio8M0LO

New Kangaroo Patient

A juvenile male kangaroo was found at Buderim, unable to hop and looking very skinny, by a local resident. Neville was transported to The Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital by Kate and James from the Australia Zoo Rescue Unit. Dr Bec checked over Neville and found him to be very weak and unwilling to stand. Neville was also dehydrated, with low levels of blood glucose, and bloated. X-rays revealed no fractures. Dr Bec sedated Neville in order to hook him up to a glucose IV drip. He was also administered pain relief and medication to help ease the bloating, and bottle fed by our veterinary nurses. Neville is currently in a warm joey pouch in the Nursery ICU, and will remain under close observation for the next few days before being transferred to a registered local kangaroo joey carer. AZWH Statistic: On average, more than one macropod is admitted each day, with 34 wallabies and kangaroos treated in January. *AZWH

Tassie Devils

Video footage taken deep in the remote Tarkine wilderness in Tasmania suggests a deadly facial cancer has infected the Tasmanian devil's last healthy, wild stronghold. A devil with a lump on its left cheek was filmed as it gnawed at a carcass. The camera was placed inside a mining lease by environmentalists from the group Code Green who oppose development of a big open cut mine at Mount Lindsay, about 80 kilometres south-west of Burnie. The consultant vet Colette Harmsen said the lesion on the devil's face looked ''very suspiciously'' like devil facial tumour disease, but only pathology would establish it for certain. Transmitted between devils by biting, the disease is described by the geneticist Elizabeth Murchison as the only cancer ever to threaten the survival of an entire species. Dr Murchison recently tracked the disease back to a single female that died more than 15 years ago in Tasmania's north-east. Since then it has travelled between animals across the state, now covering most devil habitat, and killing more than 80 per cent of wild devils, says the Save the Tasmanian Devil program. *Age


A partly Australian-funded wildlife rescue foundation whose chief spoke out about the illegal poaching of baby elephants in Thailand has been raided and had 103 animals taken away by Thai parks officials. Several Australian witnesses say many of the animals, including endangered species, were injured during the raids on the Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand centre by up to 100 armed men, some of whom wore balaclavas to hide their identities. The raids over four days followed claims by the organisation's founder and director, Edwin Wiek, that more than half the elephants in tourist camps across Thailand had been illegally caught in the wild when they were young, sometimes by poachers who shot their mothers or other members of their herd that tried to protect them. "I would say between 100 to 250 baby elephants are smuggled from the wild each year," said Mr Wiek, a Dutchman who has worked to protect abused animals in Thailand for years.
Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/environment/conservation/wildlife-centre-raided-after-criticising-tourist-camps-20120226-1twcp.html#ixzz1nYWqGCv9


Experts have raised concerns about Perth’s Little Penguin population after deaths reached four times the normal level in the second half of last year. Murdoch University research associate Belinda Cannell said she first noticed a spike in penguin deaths in September. She said members of the public and Department of Environment and Conservation staff found 49 dead penguins in the last six months of 2011 compared to previous years where an average of 12 birds were found. Dr Cannell said the deaths could be attributed to starvation caused by high sea temperatures. “High sea surface temperatures are linked to the strong La Nina conditions and a strong Leeuwin current in the summer of 2010 and 2011,” she said.
“This ‘marine heat wave’ probably led to a decline in the fish stocks that the Little Penguins rely on for food. “Other deaths have been caused by marine craft. We’ve found penguins with severed feet, cuts across their back and broken necks.” Dr Cannel said some penguins have also died from overheating and with predictions for climate change in the South West of Australia indicating warmer temperatures and less rainfall, more penguin deaths could occur. *The West

Fraser Dingoes

Fraser Island National Parks rangers are going to great lengths to retrieve some of the collars that have dropped off island dingoes. The collars were fitted to 18 island dingoes eight months ago to collect data being analysed by researchers at the University of Queensland for important information on dingo behaviour, including population dynamics and their movement during breeding and non-breeding seasons. Environment Minister Vicky Darling said rangers and volunteers were collecting the collars after they automatically released on pre-set dates. The automatic release eliminated any need to recapture the dingo and minimised disturbance of the study group. She said the collars were valuable and could be reused on Fraser Island or elsewhere. "Once the collars stop processing GPS data, the searchers have to rely on a VHF radio signal and sight ... a tough task in rough terrain," she said.
Read more ... http://www.frasercoastchronicle.com.au/story/2012/02/27/remote-release-dingo-collars/


Opponents of a proposed super quarry at Narangba have website where you can post an objection to this monstrosity. http://http://www.nraq.net/


A program to monitor and count the rare, hooded plover is underway in the Esperance region to ensure the longevity of the local population. The Esperance Bird Observers Group, along with the Department of Environment and Conservation, is working together to record the numbers of the beach-dwelling bird. The bird observers group says, as it nests on the foreshore, the hooded plover is particularly vulnerable to introduced predators. It says it is important the local community works together to protect the local population from extinction.


ASK (Australian Society for Kangaroos) is now investigating the accuracy of the Queensland kangaroo population data released by the Queensland government late last year in their Quota Submission Report for Commercially Harvested Macropods in Queensland for 2012. You can view this report and their data here:


Much to the pleasure of the kangaroo industry the data showed massive increases in kangaroo numbers of up to 60% across the state, which consequently pushed the state quotas for 2012 through the roof, increasing from 1.827,250 in 2011 to a massive 3,103,950 kangaroos to be killed this year alone in QLD. These very suspicious results come after years of propaganda by the kangaroo industry that kangaroo populations will be booming after the floods and will require control. All very convenient arguments to gain support for their failing industry that have now suspiciously been confirmed by the QLD government. However when ASK looked closer at the data we could see some very disturbing results. In around one quarter of the survey blocks, all species of kangaroo including Euros, Eastern Grey's and Red Kangaroos had suspiciously increased by 100% 200% and 300%, which are not only
implausible but biologically and scientifically impossible for kangaroos, who can only have one joey per year. ASK has written to the federal and state environment ministers expressing our concern, however we received the responses we would have expected which were ambivalence and denial. We also contacted the QLD Opposition Environment Minister Andrew Powell who was very supportive of our concerns and proceeded to ask the government questions in parliament about the implausible results. Of course they too got the standard empty denial ridden response so we have fine tuned the question for them and we are hopeful that they will ask a second question before they go to the polls. * From the ASK newsletter.

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 http://www.wildlifewarriors.org.au *


The long struggle by anti-whaling activists to shake off Japanese pursuit is shifting to New Zealand waters, where the government is warning the whalers away. Sea Shepherd's two ships are seeking refuge in the Auckland Islands, an uninhabited group about 1000 kilometres. south of New Zealand's South Island. The activists steamed there after abandoning plans for the refuelled Bob Barker to meet the Steve Irwin at Tasmania's sub-Antarctic Macquarie Island last weekend. Sea Shepherd leader, Paul Watson, said he decided to shift to New Zealand waters when the whalers' ships ignored Australian government complaints about their latest incursion into waters around Macquarie. The whaling fleet's guard ship, Shonan Maru No. 2, and the harpoon ship Yushin Maru No. 3 were plotted by Sea Shepherd deep inside the Australian 200 nautical mile EEZ around Macquarie on Sunday in their continuing pursuit of the activists. * Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/environment/whale-watch/whaling-conflict-shifts-to-nz-waters-20120228-1tzut.html#ixzz1ninlsEBx

Wildlife trafficking

A Henderson County (US) man is losing his exotic reptile collection worth nearly $50,000 after law officers found dozens of venomous lizards and snakes stashed in a western North Carolina mobile home. Fifty-one-year-old Walter Kidd of Hendersonville pleaded guilty Friday to 30 misdemeanor charges of possessing endangered animals and failing to properly label containers of poisonous snakes. Police seized the reptiles in August after Kidd was bitten by an exotic venomous snake and rushed to a hospital. Officers said the trailer was packed with snakes in plastic containers that represented a potentially lethal situation. Officers said the trailer was packed with snakes in plastic containers that represented a potentially lethal situation. Kidd's attorney said the animals including vipers and Gila monsters were not a danger because they were kept inside his home. The creatures were taken to the State Natural Sciences Museum in Raleigh after being confiscated inside his home. *AP

Fraser Dingoes

Dingo conservationist Jennifer Parkhurst has hit back at plans to shoot or trap dingo-cross dogs at Inskip Point, saying the dingoes were purebred and should be protected. In response to calls from birdwatchers saying dingo-cross dogs had wiped out a substantial number of ground-dwelling birds, Great Sandy Marine Park regional manager Ross Belcher said feral pest numbers would be reduced by Easter. He also said bird numbers would be monitored. Feral pests including foxes, cats and a pack of six feral dogs had all played their part in making vulnerable beach stone-curlews move to Fraser Island, Birds Queensland conservation officer Mike West said. Ms Parkhurst said the feral dogs that Mr West talked about appeared to be purebred dingoes, just a different colour. "People don't understand the significant conservation value of black and tan dingoes, only 17% of dingoes in Australia are black," she said. "Dingoes certainly aren't feral animals - they're native and come in four different colours ginger, black and tan, pure black and white. From my observations the dingoes around Inskip are pure. "It's just part of nature and all part of the ecosystem that is dependent on dingoes to regulate it," she said. It was not just the safety of the dingoes that Ms Parkhurst was worried about, she was concerned a baiting program would impact on other birds, children and pets. "Birds of prey could feed on the carcass of a dead dingo. Anyway in my experience the young dingoes have been skittish, wary and timid. Given another two months the dingoes would disperse... and start their own pack. They won't be here much longer. "After taking bait a dingo could wander anywhere, within reach of a child or a family pet. It could be catastrophic." Mr West said Inskip Point was a special area with rare birds and 96 different species. *Gympie Times


Mango Hill and North Lakes Environmental Group is calling on Moreton Bay Regional Council to install illuminated warning signs in a bid to reduce the number of kangaroos hit by cars on local roads. The call follows council's recent pledge to install more ``standard'' warning signs. Council figures show two kangaroos were hit in November and one this month. Environmental group leader Dave Norman said while more signage was good news, illuminated signs would be more effective. ``I don't think it really matters how many signs are around as no one seems to ever expect to see a kangaroo across North Lakes Drive,'' Mr Norman said. ``I think people become used to seeing signs and don't realise that here in North Lakes it's not a once-in-a-while experience to see a koala or kangaroo crossing the road. They are very common here, especially in the town centre. ``In the Redland City Council area they have these LED signs for koala crossing areas that are hard to miss.'' Redland City Council Mayor Melva Hobson said in the first month after installation of the signs in 2010, there were no reports of koalas struck by cars where signs were located. ``The moveable flashing LED signs were sometimes placed next to static koala signs because drivers were continuing to speed, resulting in many koala deaths,'' Cr Hobson said. The signs flash up a message and the speed of the vehicle passing through. Moreton Bay Regional councillor Julie Greer (Div 4) said council would look into the benefits of installing LED signs. ``Council will see if these particular signs will be suitable for the Moreton Bay Region,'' Cr Greer said. ``Our community is very passionate about looking after kangaroos, and it is my hope that local residents, motorists and cyclists can continue to enjoy these beautiful animals for many years to come.'' *Quest

Wallaby Killed

A woman who lost control of her dogs, leading to the death of a wallaby, has been fined $2000. Dromana Magistrates’ Court heard that on May 23 last year Rye resident Catherine Davies was walking her dogs off-lead near the Brewster Rd carpark in the Mornington Peninsula National Park when the dogs - both small terriers - ran away from her. Shortly after, two DSE officers responded to a call that two dogs were chasing a wallaby. “Some men surfing in the area saw two dogs chase a wallaby into the surf,” DSE prosecutor Chris Jensen told the court. “The men tried to rescue the wallaby, but it disappeared under a breaking wave and they didn’t see it again. “But later some other surfers saw a dead wallaby floating in the water.” Mr Jensen said Ms Davies told the officers she had been returning home when the dogs ran away from her. She had left to attend an appointment, but left the gates to her property open hoping the dogs would return. It was also revealed during the hearing that one of the dogs had previously killed one of Ms Davies’ son’s guinea pigs.

Lawyer Claire Williams, for Ms Davies, said her client was “terribly distressed” by the incident. “She is an animal lover who was just trying to get her dogs home,” she said. “The dog that she suspected of being the aggressor she took to the pound and surrendered and she also tried to apologise by writing a letter to the surfers (who witnessed the attack), but was unable to get contact details for them.” The court heard Ms Davies was a community-minded person who worked as a volunteer carer at the Southern Peninsula Community Care Centre. Ms Davies was charged under the Wildlife Act with her dog attacking wildlife and a count under the National Parks Act of failing to control her dog in a park. Magistrate Hanz Holzer, in imposing the fine, said the incident was distressing and it was “a situation that was avoidable”. *Mornington Leader

Flying Foxes

To many people the flying foxes that populate trees around the Fraser Coast are nothing but a nuisance, but to Hervey Bay environmentalist John Parsons, they are simply misunderstood. He said people are often poorly educated on the important job the bats do in keeping the environment healthy. Mr Parsons said he has heard a lot of people express concerns about the bat, whether it is because they are annoyed with the excrement they splatter throughout the region as they fly overhead or because of the fear they will spread the hendra virus. The hendra virus concern is what Mr Parsons is most worried about. He says people have to realise that the hendra virus cannot be transmitted to them by the bats - it is transmitted through horses. The horses do catch the virus from bats, but it was up to horse owners to keep food and water supplies under cover and do whatever they could to shield their animals from the virus, Mr Parsons said. And as for the excrement that people found so annoying - he said it was important to realise that the bat played an important role in pollinating through their manure.

He said the excrement helped create stronger trees and bigger leaves, which in turned helped to supply more oxygen. Mr Parsons was confident the more people knew about flying foxes the more they would understand their vital role in keeping the local environment sustainable and was frustrated about efforts to move the flying foxes away from Gayndah. "It's absolutely silly," he said. "You can't move a wild animal." The amount of food available to maintain their group dictated where a flying fox decided to roost, Mr Parsons said. He said farmers who were frustrated by the damage done to their crops by flying foxes could invest in netting, as that was the only way to protect the crops. "In some cases people just don't like animals anyway," he said. "We respect that. If you don't like them fine, but don't kill them." *Fraser Coast Chronicle