Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Wildlife Bytes 19/4/12

New Book Review

Next week in Wildlife Bytes we will carry a review of one of the most interesting environmental books we have ever read. We just ran out of time to carry the review this week. *WPAA


An animal welfare campaigner is demanding more prompt action over a senior constable under investigation for the shooting deaths of more than 20 kangaroos. The officer was issued with an infringement notice for his part in the incident at a property at Booral, near Hervey Bay, in December last year. He could still face disciplinary action depending on the outcome of an internal Queensland Police Service investigation. Australian Society for Kangaroos president Nikki Sutterby says it was disappointing that the investigation into the 42-year-old north coast region officer has taken so long. "Justice needs to be done here if you want to send a message to the community that this behaviour is unacceptable,' she told AAP. A police spokesman said it would be inappropriate to comment on the matter given it was still under investigation. Horse riders stumbled upon the kangaroo carcasses and alerted authorities. Some joeys were shot at point-blank range, and only one of the three young that survived the shooting could be saved. Kangaroos are protected animals and it is an offence to kill one without a permit, with fines reaching up to $10,000 per roo. A 16-year-old boy involved in the shootings has been dealt with under the Youth Justice Act. Comment from the Queensland Police Union has been sought. *SkyNews

Public Comments Requested

Submissions on the Draft National Wildlife Corridors Plan are now open.


An attempt to declare Tasmanian waters a whale sanctuary has failed in State Parliament. The Liberal and Labor parties combined to defeat the Greens' Bill, which would have ended a legal anomaly in Tasmanian law that leaves state waters outside the current Australian whale sanctuary open for whaling. * Mercury

Patient of the Week... Anvil the Koala

Found on the ground at Pioneer Park in Tinana, near Maryborough, suffering from a suspected broken right hip. Transported to The Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital by local koala rescuer Murray Chambers. Veterinary Assessment Dr Bec x-rayed Anvil and confirmed he had sustained a broken right hind leg. Further assessment revealed he was also suffering from conjunctivitis in his left eye. Treatment: Dr Claude immobilized the fracture with a cast overnight and performed surgery the next day to repair the femur. Anvil was also administered pain relief and antibiotics to treat his conjunctivitis, and kept under close observation in Mammals ICU. Now recovered from the conjunctivitis, Anvil has recently moved to a leafy outdoor enclosure to regain his strength and mobility before his eventual release back into the wild.
AZWH Statistic: Over 150 koalas have already been admitted so far in 2012.

Endangered Species

DNA testing of traditional Chinese medicines has shown that many contain traces of endangered animals,” The Independent has today reported. The tests were performed by Australian scientists devising new ways to detect exactly what plant and animal materials are actually contained in traditional Chinese medicines and herbal teas. Knowing exactly what is in some traditional products can often be difficult, and in the past some have been found to contain materials from endangered species, banned medicines and toxic metals. The research was designed to create a new testing procedure rather than assess products on sale legally, and only tested samples of products seized by customs for breaking international endangered species trading rules. Some samples were found to contain DNA from potentially harmful plants, and also from endangered species such as black bears and antelope. Not all of the samples that contained animal DNA had been labelled as containing material from animals. *SkyNews
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Honey Bees

Heavy metals and toxic soil contaminates that build up in plants may be killing bees and reducing their ability to pollinate crops and produce honey. New research by entomologists at the University of California suggests selenium - a trace mineral used as a superconductor in the electronics industry - can kill bees foraging for pollen from plants in heavily polluted areas, such as disposal sites for fly-ash from coal-fired power stations. The study, by Kristen Hladun and Professor John Trumble, is the first of its kind to look at lethal impacts of plant-accumulated pollutants on honey bee feeding habits and survival. Their findings are published online in the science journal PLoS One.
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Wildlife Bytes Website now Live

Wildlife Bytes™ is an Australian company dedicated to promoting the conservation of our native wildlife and the environment in which it lives. They are a group of professional and technical experts working together to deliver a range of services and products from photographic courses and tutorials to printing,publishing and multi-media products such as web development, video and post production work. We believe that awareness is key to conservation. Wildlife Bytes™ will strive to promote Australia and its unique bio-diversity by show casing its amazing creatures and breath taking landscapes. Profits will go into education and conservation initiatives either developed by them or through community groups.


While migrating birds are believed to use the earth's magnetic field to navigate, new research has again baffled scientists as to how they do it. According to an article published in Nature on Wednesday, iron-filled beak cells previously thought to be the centre of the magnetic sense in birds are made up of normal protein-bound iron deposits which are not magnetoreceptive. Scientists who took part in the international study said the finding had taken them back to square one. "The mystery of how animals detect magnetic fields has just got more mysterious," said David Keays, an Australian who now works at the Institute of Molecular Pathology in Vienna, Austria. University of Western Australia scientists Jeremy Shaw and Martin Saunders, who also worked on the study, said they used a beam of high-energy electrons passing through thin samples of pigeon tissue to see what type of iron minerals were present. *Age Read more:


A great white shark measuring nearly 20 feet and weighing 2,000 pounds -- according to local reports -- was hauled up Sunday by commercial fishermen in the Sea of Cortez near Guaymas. The massive predator was dead when it was brought to the surface in a net deployed by fishermen named Guadalupe and Baltazar, who were treated to the surprise of a lifetime when they saw what they had captured. "We were amazed and immediately realized that we had a huge, dead, great white shark, and then we thought what are we going to do?," Guadalupe said in an interview with Tracy Ehrenberg of Pisces Sportfishing, which is located in the resort city of Cabo San Lucas. The shark was nearly as long as their 22-foot panga, or skiff. If, in fact, it measured six meters (19.8 feet), as one report stated, it'd be one of the longest white sharks ever recorded. The fishermen towed the behemoth two miles to the beach, where about 50 people helped drag it onto dry sand. "Guadalupe and Baltazar swore they had never seen a fish this big before in their lives," the Pisces blog stated. "Even though on March 13 of this year, some of their fellow fishermen had also caught a great white, which had weighed 990 pounds." Adult white sharks were once believed to be rare in the Sea of Cortez, or Gulf of California, but scientists now believe parts of the gulf might serve as a nursery for the species. *

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 *


Lifesavers are hoping a crocodile that stalked The Strand on Sunday may be their last, welcoming the new State Government's plans to improve management of the reptiles. A 2.5m saltwater crocodile was spotted 300m offshore, heading south towards the Breakwater Marina. Two crews from the Arcadian and Picnic Bay surf lifesaving clubs confirmed the sighting, initially reported by a member of the public, before reporting it to the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service. Surf Life Saving Queensland regional development officer Jeremy Best said it was decided the beach would not be closed because the croc was swimming away from The Strand. "We put our warning signs up at the Water Park end of The Strand and once we called QPWS, they came and put up their own signs, too," he said. QPWS conservation manager Clive Cook said rangers investigated the sighting, but there were no signs of the animal, nor was there any indication it had later entered the marina. "The animal did not approach humans or display aggressive behaviour and has not been deemed a crocodile of concern," he said. "The animal has not been sighted since Sunday, and no further action will be taken unless additional information warrants such." There have only been two reported sightings of crocodiles in waters off The Strand in six months, far fewer than in previous years. Mr Best, however, said he welcomed the LNP Government's pre-election promise to take more action to remove crocs that ventured too close to human habitats. Before the election, the party said it would implement a risk-based croc management plan, similar to the policy in place in the Northern Territory. *Townsville Bulletin

Wildlife rangers say more crocodiles are moving close to urban areas in the Northern Territory as the wet season ends. Two three-metre saltwater crocodiles were caught near Darwin yesterday, one off East Point beach and the second at Pioneer Beach in Bynoe Harbour. Tom Nichols from the Crocodile Management Unit says crocodile activity increases at this time of year. "A number of the crocs will move out with the (wet season floodplain) water as it is receding," he said. "Some will stay behind in permanent little waterholes, which have a good food source, so that creates a bit of a problem for us during the dry season. "But the other ones move out, so you get more crocodiles moving in around the harbour at the moment." Mr Nichols says the number of crocodiles caught around Darwin so far this year has increased. There have been 92 saltwater crocodiles caught by wildlife rangers this year in Darwin Harbour and surrounding waterways. Mr Nichols says most crocodiles quickly move past Darwin city on their way to an estuary. "But you get the odd ones which are hanging around Casuarina beach ,and also Mindil and Vesteys beaches," he said. "It could be through baitfish attracting them, or people with dogs, or just the fact that they are a bit curious and hanging around wanting a rest." *ABC

The theft of a crocodile trap is an act of extraordinary stupidity. It literally puts lives at risk. Hundreds of saltwater crocs are caught and taken to farms from Darwin Harbour and its creeks every year. The trapping program is a vital part of the Parks and Wildlife crocodile management strategy. It has to be accepted that some Territorians - a minority, but a vocal minority - support the wholesale culling of the animals near the population centres. This would damage Australia's reputation around the world. Mass slaughter would also be ineffective. When one large crocodile is shot in a creek another one usually quickly moves in. It would, therefore, be dangerous for authorities to ever suggest that waterways in the Top End were safe because of culling. The simple fact is that people in northern Australia live alongside a deadly predator. It's amazing how well Territorians have adapted to this reality. Attacks are rare, especially considering that there are probably 80,000 crocodiles in the NT and an increasing number of people taking up water-based recreational activities. Rather than steal crocodile traps, we should support what wildlife rangers are doing to help keep us all safe....and another thing.....THOSE on the extreme sides of the crocodile management argument - those who believe in mass culling and those who oppose any trapping - should remember that salties are worth tens of millions of dollars to the NT in tourism and skins. Putting a dollar value on the animals has led to their protection. *NT News


Only one of six $350,000 sniffer dogs used by Tasmanian hunters to track down foxes can actually sniff out the elusive predator, tests show. During a speech in Parliament yesterday, Independent MLC Ivan Dean said the skills of the German wire-haired pointers had been tested in Melbourne in February. He said only one of the six dogs tested by renowned dog trainer Steve Austin was deemed capable of scenting a fox. "After two years of training, these dogs have failed most tests," Mr Dean said. "I further understand a live fox or foxes were used to lay the trails during the testing and that five of the dogs had little or no idea what to do." He said it was concerning the dogs which cost $350,000 to buy and train were being used to investigate sightings and to scent behind bait lines as the massive eradication blitz continued across Tasmania's "core fox habitat". The first four German pointer puppies arrived in Tasmania in January 2010 to be trained as fox-scent tracking dogs.

Then Primary Industries Minister David Llewellyn said the breed was highly recommended by fox-hunting and dog-training experts. Mr Dean, a former police commander, has also tabled a motion calling for independent supervision of the new Invasive Species Unit, of which the former Fox Eradication Taskforce is now a part. Mr Dean said re-badging Tasmania's fox eradication efforts under a new unit would not remove the negative publicity, frustration and concern held by the public towards the fox program, which has now cost almost $40 million. Nocturnal Wildlife Research director Clive Marks told Mr Dean in a letter tabled in Parliament yesterday that the 1080 baiting program was necessary because of a lack of information to define the risk of possible fox incursions and the presence of foxes. "Not one fox bait has been shown to be taken by a fox," he said. *Mercury

BATS Online Fund is Born

You have spoken, and feedback has been excellent. About 96% feedback thus far says a fund is a great idea (many said brilliant) and about 90% say that the proposed first project of helping Shahneaz help Indian Flying-foxes in Bangladesh is a worthy first cause. Many have also said wouldn’t it be great if we could do something about netting in Queensland, and while I wholly agree, the problem there is simple financial logistics: a small group of people donating, set against (at $15,000 AUD per hectare) one point five million bucks to net just one 100 hectare farm. Who knows how large this group will grow, and I am sure that (tenacious bunch that we are) we can use our collective lobbying to take up the fight as and when it happens in that arena.

In contrast, where can we invest a reasonably small amount of money to actually save bat lives, to make a difference, and make every dollar count. So… I present the official launch of BATSneedbucksBANGLADESH (bank account details below) As you know, Asst Professor Shahneaz Ali Khan from Chittagong Uni in Bangladesh has asked for help. Heavily involved in research and community education to try to save the Indian Flying-foxes of Bangladesh, he and his team need three items of equipment: A night vision capable video camera; A laptop computer; A digital projector

These three items will provide; in the first instance – insight into feeding behaviour of Indian Flying-foxes with regard to Nipah virus research, and items 2 and 3 to continue/expand that vital community education by Shahneaz and his team.Bushmeat is a huge problem in so many parts of the world: threatening the survival of many species. However, this is further compounded when there is a deep ingrained belief that the consumption of rhino horn, tiger ‘bits’, and, in this case; that eating flying-fox flesh and bone will actually help cure diseases.
For the price of just one decent 57 inch flat screen TV, we can allow Shahneaz and his team to go out into the villages and communities, and save actual real lives; not just now, but next year, and possibly generations to follow. Ripples in a pond of change.

The three items will cost around $1500 AUD. $1500 to get a very real project to the next stage. If that saves just 1500 bats’ lives, we have a return of one Australian dollar to save a single bat. If it saves 15,000 lives, we have 10 cents per bat, and if it spreads and saves 150,000 lives, then every single cent you donate could allow one Indian Flying-fox to fly free in the wild on the sub-continent. That is a lot of bang for your buck. The target: $1500 AUD. Pledges so far: $785. $715 needed to hit the mark. Any excess money collected will go towards the next worthy project.

When BATSonline was envisaged, it was always intended to become a truly international forum: talking, sharing knowledge: helping each other to help bats. We are only seven months old, and perhaps a sign that goal is rapidly being reached. Of the pledges, two have been for a hundred dollars (just fantastic). We also had this: As a full-time student living on nothing other than student loans, I do not have a lot to give. However, I think I can sacrifice a few lattes! I will start off with a pledge of $20. Thanks for trying to set this up! I hope others are enthusiastic as well. This pledge is from a US citizen, replying to an idea from Australia, to help saves bats in Bangladesh from ending up on the supper menu. That one put a lump in my throat.

To make your pledges real, the bank account details are below. I’ll contact each of you that has pledged individually, and we thank you all greatly. We are also donating a free copy of the Flying-fox Manual to help with rehabilitation knowledge to Shahneaz. If you have been thinking about this, now is the time to act. Donations do not have to be huge, every $5.00 brings us closer. Give up a coffee today to help these guys. I will update regularly, and the sooner we can get this equipment to Shahneaz the quicker we can stop these beautiful gentle giants from being eaten. When you pay in your donations, please do 2 things: (1) put BATS and your initial and surname in the reference section of your bank transfer (e.g. BATS D. Pinson), and (2) email me at with your full name and how much you put in. We need a simple auditable paper trail to avoid future problems.

Account name: David Pinson; Bank: Commonwealth Bank. ADDRESS: 11 Wharf St. Murwillumbah. NSW 2484. Australia. BSB: 06-2580 Account number: 10228357 Swift Code: CTB AAU2S