Thursday, April 12, 2012

Wildlife Bytes 12/4/12


Here is another kangaroo website...its very good, lots of comprehensive info about the commercial kangaroo kill, and why it deters tourists from coming to Australia. and here's more kangaroo websites below...if anyone knows of any other kangaroo protection websites, please let us know so we can promote them. There is so much information on the Internet now about the disgusting kangaroo Industry that there is no excuse for anyone to not be well-informed about it.

This petition appeals to Adidas to stop using kangaroo leather in their products. Each year, approximately 3 million kangaroos are killed in what is widely regarded as the largest wildlife massacre on the planet. There are 10,326 signatures on this Petition already.

Central Queensland Action Plan for Flying Foxes

Your help is requested to sign letters and postcards which object to the LNP allowing the shooting or electrocution of flying-foxes in orchards. On Wednesday 18th April 2012 at 5pm to 9pm at Helens House, 136 Old Rockhampton Road, Yeppoon (opposite the Barmaree turnoff). Look for the sign or the bat mobile. We will follow the format from Pauls Bambrick very successful letter signing event with wine and Pizza and lots of good people, please be one of them
Our concerns: Electrocution of flying-foxes was banned in 2001 and shooting in 2008 in recognition by the RSPCA and the Qld. Animal Welfare Advisory Committee that these methods are inhumane. The species had declined by up to 40% in the last 30 years,two species listed as vulnerable. There is no excuse for committing, allowing or encouraging cruelty to animals or for killing threatened species. We need to assist fruit growers to adopt non-lethal methods of crop protection and work toward replacing habitat and food areas to ensure the future viability of these keystone pollinators. If you can not attend please contact me and I will email the letter for your distribution. Thank You, Joy Davison-Lee 4925 0124 *Network Item

Great White Sharks

They are known as one of the deadliest creatures on Earth. But according to a shocking new study, great white sharks are also one of the most endangered. Wildlife experts say there are now fewer than 3,500 great whites left in the oceans, making them rarer than tigers. Yesterday, marine biologists called for an end to mankind's long battle with sharks and demanded urgent action to prevent them going extinct. Great white sharks have a deserved reputation as ruthless and efficient killers, who use ambush techniques to attack fish, dolphins and seals from below. They can grow 20 feet in length, weigh up to 5,000 lb and are found in any warm coastal waters - from the Mediterranean to New Zealand. Most, however, live off the coasts of California, Mexico, Australia and South Africa. The new estimates of their population are due to published later this year by scientists at Stanford University who have been studying the migration of sharks tagged with radio transmitters. They found that great whites are incredible long distance swimmers, capable of travelling 12,000 miles in nine months.
Read more:

Red-eared Slider Turtles

This week a group of kids were found playing in a suburban Sydney street with a Red-eared slider turtle (Trachemys scripta elegans). Luckily, a passer by recognised the turtle for what it was, and reported it to NSW DPI. Very popular as pets oversesas, they are a devastating pest in Australia, and have been found in number of localities. They are voracious feeders that eat anything, and breed quickly. When introduced to areas outside its natural range the species may cause serious loss of aquatic biodiversity. The World Conservation Union’s Invasive Species Specialist Group lists these turtles among the world’s 100 worst invasive species. Unfortunately they are the most widely kept pet animal in the world. * WPAA


Biosecurity SA says the outback dog fence is still a reliable way of keeping dingoes out of pastoral country, despite a decision to try aerial baiting for the first time. Until recent years, dingoes were seldom spotted south of the dog fence. But due to increased sightings, Biosecurity SA has decided to drop 30,000 baits over 6,000 square kilometres of inaccessible terrain, to try to reduce dingo numbers. Peter Bird from Biosecurity SA says the outback fence is in good condition but dingoes have still been able to make their way south through South Australia. "There has been a number of people perhaps move away from sheep to other enterprises and so there's been reduced incentive for ongoing control inside the fence," he said. "Ground baiting will remain the predominant method for controlling dingoes but the aerial baiting will complement that in particular hard to get at spots." *ABC

Gliders Return

Eighteen years after huge bushfires destroyed much of the Royal National Park, the area's biggest native mammal has finally returned. Greater glider possums - tree-dwelling marsupials that grow to nearly a metre - had been missing from the ecosystem since 1994, when fire turned the eucalyptus canopy into a desert of charred tree trunks. But that changed last month when a birdwatcher glimpsed a large, furry shape sailing between trees at dusk. The news rippled through the ranks of parks and wildlife officers and a spotlighting expedition was mounted. Before long, there were two more confirmed sightings. 'We're very excited about this find,'' said Debbie Andrew, a biologist with the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage. Fauna surveys in 1996, 1997 and 2010 found no trace of the marsupial. It is not clear if the glider is a descendant of survivors that endured lean times in the park, or if it migrated along a treetop corridor from the Illawarra.
Read more:

Kangaroo Cruelty

Nigel Franks, 19 faces an aggravated animal cruelty conviction if found guilty of intentionally running over an eastern grey kangaroo, kicking it to death and then dragging the animal's lifeless body behind his car and dumping the dead animal on a city street in Wodonga, Victoria. The kangaroo's joey was also killed. In January a reference to the crime appeared on the teen's Facebook page which led to an investigation. When the kangaroo was found, a rope was tied around her neck and arm, and a trail of blood and hair could be traced along the route the animal was dragged. According to the Border Mail, Franks has nine charges against him including two counts each of aggravated animal cruelty, offensive behavior, and driving in a dangerous manner. This morning outside of the Wodonga Magistrates' Court, a member of the Australian Society for Kangaroos claimed to have been pushed by Frank's father. Other protestors carried placards asking for a harsh punishment to the teen if he is found guilty. The maximum sentence for the crimes could be two years in prison and up to a $60,000 fine. This morning the case was postponed for the second time until June 4. The Australian Society for Kangaroos (ASK) is a nonprofit organization which helps the dwindling population of kangaroos survive against drought, loss of natural habitat and the kangaroo slaughter industry which claims the lives of 3.6 million kangaroos annually for meat, pet food and skins for shoes. *

New Website

Another good website here, mostly about birds.

Texting can be Bad for Your Health

Yesterday I was driving down the Northern Brisbane Freeway when I noticed a bloke in a Qld. government car busy texting as he drove....and it was a long message, he kept at it for some time. Then we read about a Californian man who was so preoccupied with sending a text on his mobile phone that he walked into a bear. The man was caught on video walking straight into the path of the 500lb black bear in a street in La Crescenta, Los Angeles. However, just feet before he reaches it, he notices the huge bear - and turns and runs in the nick of time. Local residents were warned to be on the lookout for the bear, which was later contained in a back garden. The man's lucky escape was videoed by a police helicopter which was tracking the bear. *


A Washington state wildlife spokesman says two salmon-eating California sea lions have been captured this week at Bonneville Dam and killed by lethal injection. The Oregonian reports the deaths are the first this year after a federal judge ruled last month the program could proceed. Washington Fish and Wildlife spokesman Craig Bartlett says the sea lions were captured Tuesday. The killings are limited to California sea lions documented as targeting spring chinook or steelhead near Bonneville, the first dam the returning fish encounter on their run up the Columbia River. The sea lions also must return to the dam despite nonlethal hazing and be spotted nearby for at least five days, though the days can accumulate over several years. The Humane Society of the United States has filed suit in an effort to permanently end the sea lion killings. *Washington Post


Shorebird numbers are plummeting in Tasmania, a conservation forum in Hobart heard yesterday. And native grasslands between Hobart and Launceston are at serious risk, threatening bandicoots, potoroos and bettongs. University of Tasmania professor Jamie Kirkpatrick told the Ecological Society of Australia that the outlook was sad for many landscapes and the creatures that needed them. *Mercury

Fraser the Long-Nosed Bandicoot

Found at Burpengary after his mum and siblings were sadly killed after being hit by a car and thrown from the pouch. Transported to The Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital by the concerned motorist, who stopped to pick up the injured animals. Veterinary Assessment: Dr Bec checked over Fraser and found he was luckily free from any injuries, though quiet. He was moving well and his eyes were closed. Dr Bec adminstered Fraser with fluids and pain relief, and fed him with a low lactose infant formula. Fraser was then set up in a warm joey pouch in the Nursery ICU. Outcome: Fraser was transferred to a local registered wildlife carer later that same afternoon, and will remain in care until he is old enough for release back into the wild.
AZWH Statistic: Over 600 animals have been admitted in the past six months after being hit by cars. Please slow down on our roads these Easter school holidays!

Snake on a Plane

An Australian pilot said he was forced to make a harrowing landing reminiscent of a Hollywood thriller after a snake popped out from behind his dashboard and slithered across his leg during a solo cargo flight. Braden Blennerhassett — unsure whether the snake was venomous — said Thursday that his heart raced as he tried to keep his hands still while maneuvering the plane back to the northern city of Darwin. The snake popped its head out from behind the instrument panel several times, Blennerhassett said, and then the ordeal worsened when the animal crawled across his leg during the approach to the airport. "I've seen it on a movie once, but never in an airplane," Blennerhassett told Australian Broadcasting Corp., referring to the 2006 movie "Snakes on a Plane," in which deadly snakes are deliberately released in an airliner as part of a murder plot. The 26-year-old Air Frontier pilot was alone in a twin-engine Beechcraft Baron G58 and had just left Darwin airport on a cargo run to a remote Outback Aboriginal settlement when he saw the snake on Tuesday.

Air Frontier director Geoff Hunt described Blennerhassett as a "cool character" who radioed air traffic control to report: "I'm going to have to return to Darwin. I've got a snake on board the plane." But Blennerhassett admits he was shaken, telling Nine Network television that his blood pressure and hear rate were "a bit elevated." "You're trying to be as still as you possibly can and when you've got your hands on the power levers," he told ABC. "You're kind of worried about the snake taking that as a threat and biting you." "As the plane was landing, the snake was crawling down my leg, which was frightening," he told Nine. Once the plane had landed, a firefighter spotted the snake but authorities were not immediately able to catch it, Air Frontier official Michael Ellen said. A trap baited with a mouse failed to catch the snake by Thursday, and the plane remained grounded. Wildlife ranger Sally Heaton said the snake was suspected to be a golden tree snake, a non-venomous species that can grow up to 1.5 meters (5 feet). Blennerhassett was back in the air Thursday and could not be immediately contacted for comment. Hunt said he was not aware of a snake being found in a plane before in Australia, but that he had heard of a young chicken being found alive under the floor of a plane and of an escaped juvenile crocodile crawling under a pilot's rudder pedal. *ABC Ed Comment; This story went worldwide.

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 *

Polar Bears

Symptoms of a mysterious disease that has killed scores of seals off Alaska and infected walruses are now showing up in polar bears, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said on Friday. Nine polar bears from the Beaufort Sea region near Barrow were found with patchy hair loss and oozing sores on their skin, similar to conditions found in diseased seals and walruses, the agency said in a statement. Unlike the sickened seals and walruses, the affected polar bears seem otherwise healthy, said Tony DeGange, chief of the biology office for the USGS's Alaska Science Center. There had been no deaths among polar bears, he said. The nine affected bears were among the 33 that biologists have captured and sampled while doing routine studies on the Arctic coastline, DeGange said. Patchy hair loss has been seen before in polar bears, but the high prevalence in those spotted by the researchers and the simultaneous problems in seal and walrus populations elevate the concern, he said.

The USGS is coordinating with agencies studying the other animals to investigate whether there is a link, he said. "There's a lot we don't know yet, whether we're dealing with something that's different or something that's the same," he said. The disease outbreak was first noticed last summer. About 60 seals were found dead and another 75 diseased, according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Most of the affected seals are ringed seals, but diseased ribbon, bearded and spotted seals were also found. Several walruses in northwestern Alaska were found with the disease, and some of those died as well, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The diseased seals and walruses, many of them juveniles, had labored breathing and lethargy as well as the bleeding sores, according to the experts. The agencies launched an investigation into the cause of the disease, which has also turned up in bordering areas of Canada and Russia.

Preliminary studies showed that radiation poisoning is not the cause, temporarily ruling out a theory that the animals were sickened by contamination from the tsunami-wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan. Spread of the disease among seals continues. A sickened and nearly bald ribbon seal pup was found about a month ago near Yakutat on the Gulf of Alaska coastline, according to the agency. The animal was so sick it had to be euthanized. All of the afflicted species are dependent on Arctic sea ice and considered vulnerable to seasonal ice loss. Polar bears are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, and listings are being considered for the Pacific walrus and for the ringed, bearded and ribbon seals. * Reuters

Pooh Corner

A new environment centre will be built among the squirrel gliders and eastern gray kangaroos that inhabit Brisbane's west if the LNP Brisbane City Council is re-elected this month. Lord Mayor Graham Quirk announced a low-cost move this morning to place a $250,000 community environment centre in Pooh Corner near the Centenary Suburbs in Brisbane's south-west if re-elected. Brisbane City Council bought the 138 hectare patch of threatened bushland from the Department of Defence in 2008. "This is the next step forward," Cr Quirk said today. "This will provide a point of education in terms of the local community. "There are 40 different types of flora and fauna within this piece of bushland." The proposed centre would be run by the local environment group, the Centenary and District Environment Action Incorporated. CDEA president Shealagh Walker welcomed the decision and said they would direct the displays and information to local school and environment groups.

Ms Walker said the bushland - which until 2008 faced being cleared for industrial use and wiping out the habitat of 1300 kangaroos - had many threatened species. "There [are] the Squirrel Gliders, which is why we have the Powerful Owls because the Powerful Owls like to eat the Squirrel Gliders," Ms Walker said. "There are also nightjars, as well as the Eastern Grey Kangaroos, the red-necked wallabies, the swamp wallabies," she said. "And we have seen a koala fairly recently." Cr Quirk said work on the centre would begin relatively quickly if his team won the council elections on April 28. "Getting water and power to the site are obviously the main things," he said. "We are not fixed how we do it. It may be that we bring a removal house to the site and bring water and power to it." It would be Brisbane's third environment centre - the other two are both on the city's northside, at Downfall Creek and Boondall Wetlands. Read more:

Ed Comment, just few years ago the Qld Labor Government were going to kill the kangaroos at Pooh Corner, but a strong campaign by local activists stopped the kill. Now the area is to be a protected Reserve and Environmnet Centre...fantastic!


The secret life of one of Australia’s rarest skinks will be revealed for the first time after a family of the threatened reptiles was microchipped in what is believed to be a world first. As its name implies, the western spiny-tailed skink is found only in remote areas of WA’s mid-west region. The native lizards, which are bordering on extinction, grow to about 20cm and have a distinctive short, fat spiny tail which helps them climb over rocky outcrops. WWF-Australia spokesman Phil Lewis said the family of rare skinks was discovered living in a wood pile on a farm near the town of Wyalkatchem, about 200km northeast of Perth. “Past landclearing has reduced the skinks’ natural woodland habitat to islands of bushland surrounded by working farms, which means they are forced to find other habitats such as woodpiles or sheets of tin,” Mr Lewis said. Ten skinks were measured and microchipped, including three adults and seven juveniles, before they were relocated to a safer location for ongoing monitoring. The relocation and microchipping were jointly conducted by WWF, WA’s Department of Environment and Conservation, Wheatbelt National Resource Management, Greening Australia WA, the Balcatta Veterinary Hospital, local Noongar Aboriginal trainees and the farm owner. Mr Lewis said the skinks could live for decades but were threatened by livestock and feral predators, such as foxes and cats. “Hopefully we’ll now be able to shed some more light on how these threatened skinks live, which we can use to preserve their last remaining populations,” Mr Lewis said. Western spiny-tailed skinks are one of the few reptile species that cohabit, living in colonies of up to 16 lizards. The State Government lists them as rare, or likely to become extinct. *WA News

Stingers in Moreton Bay

A relation of the deadly box jellyfish has been found in Moreton Bay, with a marine expert warning the stinger can cause irukandji syndrome. Dr Lisa-Ann Gershwin, a senior marine stinger adviser, confirmed the creature in the photograph taken by a stand-up paddle-boarder on Saturday was a morbakka jellyfish. "That is an absolutely stunning photo of morbakka, the irukandji species that is native to Moreton Bay," Dr Gershwin said. "There seems to be numerous reports of morbakka this year in different places around the greater Moreton Bay region, so I am a bit perplexed as to how many are around at the moment." Redcliffe man Rhys Porter, 22, said the critters have invaded the bay. Mr Porter snapped the photo about 100m off Clontarf Beach at Redcliffe in metre-deep water and said he had never seen a jellyfish that large in such shallow water. Mr Porter has been paddle boarding in the area for five years. "The jellyfish have been really bad this year ... the sting is like a green ant's bite. They're really late in the season too - usually they're gone by January," Mr Porter said.

"They're always in big clusters," he said. Mr Porter works at a kite surfing business across from the beach. "We've been warning customers about the jellyfish but it's going into winter and apparently they go away," he said. Dr Gershwin said the sting of a morbakka was "mild" and was "unlikely to be life-threatening". "Morbakka has been confirmed in one case requiring life support, so it obviously has the ability to give a serious sting," Dr Gershwin said. There are at least 14 varieties of irukandj species throughout the world. In Australia they linger from Port Douglas to Sydney, while the variety found in Moreton Bay are native to the bay. Dr Gershwin said the critters have four thick, tapeworm-like tentacles and its wide top distinguished it as a morbakka. "Morbakka grows to a body height of about 15cm and has bright pink dots on the body. Never, ever trust species with bright pink colour unless you know for sure they are safe - bright colours are usually signs of warning colouration," Dr Gershwin said. Stings should be flooded with vinegar to neutralise undischarged stinging cells; this won't take the pain away but will prevent additional venom from being injected. Urgent medical treatment is vital. *Courier Mail


They're colourful, small and hidden in the garden. But unsuspecting Easter egg hunters may find more than chocolate this weekend as redback spiders have thrived in recent mild weather. Vernon Austen first noticed a redback in the bathroom of his family's West Ryde home at Christmas. While mowing his lawn last weekend he found more than 20 of the poisonous spiders under the base of his six-year-old son's sandpit. ''That's when we thought it would be a good idea to get the [pest] people out to deal with it,'' he said. The director of PestFree Pest Control, Dennis Kokontis, said mild weather and heavy rain over the past two years had been a boon for many pests. ''It's not only redbacks, we are getting a lot more white tip [spiders] which is a big concern,'' he said. Redbacks live across the continent, but are more numerous in warmer parts of the country and in built-up areas. While the native arachnids prefer drier conditions, damp and moisture cause population explosions of mosquitoes and other insects redbacks feast on.

They prefer to spin their untidy webs on a side of the house that receives more sun, as well as hiding under steps, on downpipes and in children's toys and old bikes, Mr Kokontis said. The Australian Museum's collection manager for arachnology, Graham Milledge, said spiders become noticeable at this time of year as they reached their adult stages. He said most species had an annual lifecycle; spiderlings hatched in spring, matured by autumn when females lay their eggs and then died over winter. ''There are exceptions, some spiders mature over spring and are juvenile during winter,'' Mr Milledge said. Other species, such as the funnel-web and trap-door spiders, could live for up to several years. The director of Sydney's Best Pest Control, Sam Yehia, said as redbacks were webbing spiders they were easy to spot and exterminate. ''They normally give themselves away pretty quickly,'' Mr Yehia said.*Age

Birds and Bats

There's a menace in the skies above Gympie, and it's got nothing to do with strange lights at night or noisy helicopters. The problem is of the winged variety: some leathery, some feathery. Increasing numbers of flying foxes and corellas, and reported sightings of "flying rats", indian mynas, in the Gympie region drew a response from the Department of Environment and Resource Management yesterday. The flying fox colony at Widgee Crossing has returned to full strength after diminishing in the wake of floods earlier this year, and the newly elected State Government has pledged to overturn the four-year ban on damage mitigation permits that allow farmers to shoot flying foxes threatening fruit crops. The colony fluctuates in size from 50,000-100,000, and while DERM confirmed its numbers had reduced over summer, the abundant food supply now available because of the rain meant large numbers of flying foxes could now occur in many south-east Queensland areas.

Widgee Crossing is populated by grey-headed, black and little red flying foxes and is an important nursery site for the grey headed flying fox. "The colony is about the same size as it was before the flood, but there is a change in the species ratios, with more black flying foxes than grey-headed flying foxes," DERM said. Gympie Mayor Ron Dyne welcomed the State Government pledge as a positive move for orchardists, though he said the Gympie Regional Council had received no complaints from growers about flying foxes or corellas, and that the permits were more about moving the flying foxes on than culling them. Local rural producers are more likely to have trouble with wood ducks, also a protected species, which can cause havoc with forage crops such as lucerne and sorghum. "It's been a different issue for the North Burnett Council because where the (flying fox) colony was right over their water supply," Cr Dyne said.

Flying foxes are native to Australia and roosts such as Widgee Crossing are protected under the Nature Conservation Act 1992. DERM also monitors flying fox roosts at Inskip Point, Searys Ck, Snapper Point, Varley Rd at Glenwood, Power St at Neerdie, Dinnies Ck at Tin Can Bay, the Amamoor State Forest and Hyne Estate Rd at Kandanga. Increasing corella numbers are causing concern for some residents, with the native white cockatoos notoriously destructive of the trees where they perch, chewing off the bark and small twigs. They roost in the trees overnight and fly off to feed in the early morning and late afternoon with an almost deafening screeching. "Rangers have had a complaint from neighbours of people who have been feeding corellas, due to their noise and the damage the birds do to gardens," DERM said. Indian mynahs, not to be confused with native noisy miners, have spread from Asia and are considered an invasive pest. There are only a few isolated communities of the bird in the state. *Gympie Times