We are lucky enough to now have Andrew Powell appointed as Qld Environment Minister. We suspect there will now be some changes in the DERM bureaucracy and policies, but we will just have wait and see. Our WPAA International Delegate Lady Carla Davis, an astute political observer, summarises the Election results further below. *
This sequence is from the 4 x international award winning documentary Poisoning Paradise - Ecocide New Zealand. It introduces the use of 1080 poison in Australia, and some of the unintended consequences. The full version of Poisoning Paradise can be viewed by copying and pasting this link to your browser. http://www.cultureunplugged.com/documentary/watch-online/festival/play/7123/P http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=T_xVRAoXsew *Network Item
Mackay Conservation Group and the North Queensland Environmental Defender’s Office (NQ EDO) are inviting a volunteer to work with them for 6-8 weeks, to assist with research and organising expert witnesses for a proposed case challenging the diversion of a creek to allow the expansion of an open cut coal mine. The landholder can provide accommodation, travel costs and food/living requirements. If you, or anyone you know, is interested in this work, please contact Patricia Julien, Coordinator, Mackay Conservation Group. This opportunity may suit a law student (or two), seeking experience - or a retired/semi-retired lawyer who has the time to assist. Patricia Julien, Coordinator, Mackay Conservation Group ph: (07) 4966 8025
e: email@example.com Background notes are availaible from Mackay Conservation Group
Here is a very good new kangaroo website ... http://www.kangaroosatrisk.net There are now several quality kangaroo websites getting good traffic, so there's really no excuse for anyone to be uninformed on the cruelty, human health risks, unsustainability, and negative environmental impacts of the commercial kangaroo kill. * WPAA
Kangaroos have been nominated as threatened species in NSW after government data has revealed kangaroo numbers have fallen by up to 90% in NSW harvest zones in the last ten years alone. "Plagues of kangaroos don't exist and exploding populations are biologically impossible" said the paper's author, ecologist Ray Mjadwesch. "These myths are successfully perpetuated by the kangaroo industry, and repeated by uncritical media and ordinary Australians. Kangaroo populations grow around10% per year and decline during drought. "On average an Eastern Grey doe will replace herself only once in her lifetime. "Yet the government data claims population growths of up to over 300% and even increasing during drought," he said. "The data also shows alarming downward trends, with less than 2% kangaroos remaining in some NSW harvest zones. "Most Australians don't realise that whole wild mobs are being shot every night to put on their plate, feed to their pets, or export overseas as a novelty food. "It is of deep concern I can drive for hours in rural and western NSW and not see a single kangaroo, dead or alive," Mr Mjadwesch said. "200 years of threats to the kangaroo has taken its toll. "In 1839 Charles Darwin expressed concern at the rapid decline of kangaroo numbers saying "It may be long before these animals are altogether exterminated, but their doom is fixed". "Regulators must review their policies and the status of kangaroos, and afford protection for Australia's most recognisable icon," he said. The discussion paper is available at www.kangaroosatrisk.net *Ray Mjadwesch: +61 02 6331 5858
A South Australian man has filmed the moment three wedge-tailed eagles chased down a kangaroo in bushland. The video shows the roo standing on its strong back legs, raising its paws in the air as if ready to box the winged assailants. Tassin Barnard, the owner and general manager of the Australian Walkabout Wildlife Park, told ninemsn she had heard of such things happening but they were extremely rare. "Normally in that type of situation when birds attack kangaroos, it is because they are feeling threatened or they have babies nearby," Ms Barnard said. "What is almost certainly happening is that the birds are defending, or believe their babies are under attack." It is unlikely the kangaroos were looking for the nest of the eagles but probably chanced upon it when foraging for food nearby. Kangaroos are not easily deterred and will fight back by boxing, kicking and biting their opponents. "All animals have such a strong instinct to protect their babies," Ms Barnard said. Luckily for the kangaroo, it managed to outrun the angry birds and escape serious harm. Ms Barnard said that despite spending the last seven years working full time with kangaroos, she had never seen such an attack with her own eyes. *MNS NZ
Watch video here ... http://news.msn.co.nz/worldnews/8445245/wedge-tailed-eagles-dive-bomb-kangaroo
A Teen accused of torturing and killing a kangaroo in an act of animal cruelty has been escorted from court by a police entourage. A crowd of police surrounded the man, and his father, as they left Wodonga Magistrates' Court this morning. A large number of protestors were in attendance at the Court.
http://www.AustralianSocietyforKangaroos.org E: AustralianSocietyforKangaroos@gmail.com
Turtles and Dugong
Barbra Hardy has donated this lovely painting to the turtle and dugong campaign. It is signed by Bob Irwin on the back. http://cgi.ebay.com.au/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=220992985660
Wildlife Patient of the Week...Thunder the Carpet Python
Found in a hutch at Glass House Mountains after ingesting two of the family’s pet guinea pigs. Transported to The Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital by the concerned family, after becoming entangled in rope during their attempted removal from the hutch. Veterinary Assessment; Dr Bec assessed Thunder and found the rope was so tight it was cutting off blood supply. Thunder was otherwise uninjured. Dr Bec quickly cut the rope from Thunder’s neck. Once free, Thunder stretched and regurgitated the last meal, which weighed a whopping 2.1kg (more than Thunder’s own body weight!) Thunder was administered pain relief and fluids, and set up in the Reptiles ICU for observation until well enough for release back into the wild, hopefully in a few days. AZWH Statistic: Coming into cooler months, carpet pythons will be on the hunt for food sources. Please call us for removal advice to prevent injury to yourself and our wildlife! *AZWH
Don't mess with Japanese honeybees. Not only do they cooperate to attack their enemies, researchers now say their brains may actually be processing and responding to the threat.
When confronted with their arch-enemy, the aggressive giant Asian hornet, the honeybees will attack it by swarming en masse around the hornet and forming what scientists call a "hot defensive bee ball" - a move unique to their species. With up to 500 bees all vibrating their flight muscles at once, the bee ball cooks the hornet to death. While this defensive manoeuvre has been known for some time, the mechanism behind it has been shrouded in mystery. But researchers at Japan's University of Tokyo , through study of the bees' brains, have now found that neural activity in bees taking part in the attack picks up. "When the hornet, the Japanese honeybee's natural enemy, enters a colony, the bees quickly form a 'hot defensive bee ball,' trapping the hornet inside and heating it up to 46°C with their collective body heat," says Atsushi Ugajin of the University of Tokyo. *Rueters
Read more .. http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2012/04/03/3470076.htm?site=science&topic=latest
Short-tailed shearwaters (muttonbirds) migrate from the Arctic region to the southern parts of Australia -- a 30,000 km round trip -- every year. Here on our shores they return to the same burrow every year and each pair lays just one egg. Muttonbirds are protected by an international treaty and are protected by all Australian states except Tasmania. Despite the Tasmanian Government describing these birds as 'one of the world's most amazing migratory birds', they will permit around 100,000 chicks to be killed this year for meat and oil (including recreational and commercial seasons). Recreational 'harvesters' are allowed to take 15 to 25 birds per day, which means that a single licensed person can take up to 400 chicks during the 16-day killing season. To make matters worse, no training or experience is required in killing the birds quickly and with a minimum of pain. It is highly likely that many birds suffer prolonged and painful deaths. Please urgently call on Bryan Green, Tas Minister for Primary Industries, and Tas Premier Lara Giddings to join all other Australian states in protecting these birds and to end Tasmania's slaughter of muttonbirds.
Read more, take action, ... http://www.animalsaustralia.org/take_action/muttonbirds/
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 *
Dingoes have savaged tourists in three separate incidents on Fraser Island in the past eight days. The Department of Environment and Resource Management warned tour operators, residents and visitors to exercise extreme caution while visiting the world heritage site. Unconfirmed reports suggest the latest attack, which occurred on Monday, involved dingoes from a pack repeatedly biting a tourist. DERM Great Sandy regional manager Ross Belcher said several campers have been bailed up or bitten by dingoes at Fraser Island's K'Gari campground and other nearby camps in the past fortnight. "A female camper was bitten on March 20, and two male campers have been bitten on separate occasions on March 22 and 28, while on March 21 and 26 dingoes circled and tried to bite people," Mr Belcher said. "Two of the incidents involved four or five dingoes." He said reports to QPWS had showed an increase in number and seriousness of incidents recently.
Packs of dingoes at K'Gari and nearby areas have also ripped tents and stolen items from campgrounds. Rainbow Beach Adventure Company co-owner Ben Kelly confirmed Monday's victim was on one of his tours. He said the tourist was attacked at K'gari Aboriginal Campground while touring the island with a group of backpackers. "Nomads had an attack last Tuesday and the rangers were informed about it," Mr Kelly said. "There was another attack this week - the rangers were warned the dingoes were dangerous." DERM urged visitors to Dundubara - Maheno area, in private camps and beach camping zones to follow Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service dingo safety advice and avoid interaction with dingoes at all times. DERM said rangers had been camping at K'Gari campground since March23 and will continue to do so until the risk has been reduced. *Sunshine Coast Daily
Death Watch for Fraser Island Dingoes..
Easter on Fraser Island may be a time of fun and frivolity for the tourist, but for the native Fraser Island dingo it is a time of destruction and death. With the backing of an inept bureaucracy, rangers are virtually given 'carte blanche' to eliminate dingoes they consider to be a problem. An animal can be reported for simply being curious or walking through a recognised visitor site, once the dingo becomes a nuisance it rarely reaches adulthood. April is breeding season, animals are more active, more territorial and more likely to come into conflict with visitors. This should be taken into consideration and more rangers should be monitoring the behaviour of tourists, rather than destroying dingoes. Already the local media have been headlining news that a dangerous pack of animals are stalking helpless visitors. The timing, one week before the Easter onslaught of tourists, is hardly a coincidence, in fact, it happens every year and is a prelude to the annual cull of animals in the name of protecting visitors.
How many animals will be destroyed this Easter? How long can the population sustain the continued 'protection' of the Dept. Environment and Resource Management? According to DERM, at least 100 animals perish each year of natural causes, this does not factor in animals destroyed by rangers. Is this acceptable? According to DERM a healthy population is living inland and thriving on whale and dugong. Could DERM explain how this is possible? It is time for change, a change in management and management practices. The LNP have promised an independent review, but it wont save the pups destined for destruction over this holiday period. Lets hope next year will be a safer and more secure environment for our Island dingo. * Media Release, Save Fraser Isalnd Dingoes Inc.
This Petition states: That the Australian native species – Canis dingo – also known as Canis lupus dingo – or Canis familiaris dingo - is omitted from listing as a species within the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC Act) 1999 . The dingo is Australia’s apex mammalian predator and is scientifically shown to be a necessary part of healthy wild eco-systems for the continued wellbeing of biodiversity within systems where herbivorous species find habitat. The dingo performs a similar role in Australia to that of the lion of Africa. Where populations of dingoes have been extirpated the ecosystems are now in severe danger of collapse due to mesopredator invasions of foxes, cats etc. introduced by European settlers. Your petitioners ask/request that the Senate: Include the specific listing of Canis dingo within the full meaning of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, and further that the species be declared as “threatened” within the appropriate section of that Act. *Network Item
And here is a nice collection of dingo photos. .... http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150474881434677.372134.689834676&type=3
Marine debris is one of the greatest threats to Australia’s unique marine ecosystems. Wildlife entanglement, drowning and increased pollution in the marine food chain, are just some of the growing challenges currently faced. In fact, plastic, glass, fishing nets and other debris affects more than 270 species of animals worldwide, yet little is known about the full impact of marine debris on wildlife. An increasing issue is floods, which are washing even larger amounts of debris into our waterways further impacting our marine life. Dr Kathy Townsend from the University of QLD has already found that 35% of sea turtles in QLD are dying due to marine debris, often mistaking plastics floating in our oceans with jellyfish.While researchers like Dr Townsend have identified some animals that are heavily impacted by marine debris – such as sea turtles in the north of Australia and seabirds nesting on offshore islands – there is still a lack of quantitative data to describe the sources of debris.
A new program called TeachWild has been launched to tackle this global issue and bring scientists together with teachers and students to carry out hands-on field work to better understand the issue. Richard Gilmore, Executive Director, Earthwatch Australia says, Earthwatch wanted to support the national marine debris survey and saw an opportunity to involve students and teachers in this important work. “TeachWild provides Australians with the opportunity to learn about the global challenges of marine debris and to take part in hands-on field research,” he says. The program aims to survey and map the distribution of marine debris, identify major sources of debris and measure the impacts on wildlife. Data collected will contribute to a national marine debris database which highlights the extent of the issue and provides information to improve waste management and better protect marine life.
“Australia has some of world’s most beautiful and remote beaches,” Dr Denise Hardesty of CSIRO says. “Yet I challenge anyone to find any beach in Australia or anywhere in the world that has no rubbish originating from humans.”
Students from Years 6 to 10 will take part in fieldwork and learn about thefundamentals of science, maths, chemistry, oceanography and other topics linked to the national science curriculum. Shell in Australia’s Vice President, Health Safety & Environment and Sustainable Development Mike Seymour says Shell’s social investment portfolio focuses on education - including projects that encourage an interest in science and technology - and includes national, state and territory initiatives, as well as activities close to key operations. “We are really pleased to be supporting TeachWild as part of our national social investment programme. The health of the ocean is such an important issue, and this project has the potential to inspire students in Australia to learn about marine science in a practical and meaningful way.” To find out more about TeachWild, visit teachwild.org.au, or call Earthwatch on 03 9682 6828.
Charters Towers Regional Council has hatched a bold new plan to rid the city of its bat plague and create a tourism gold mine in the process. Mayor Ben Callcott wants to move flying foxes from Lissner Park to a new home on the town's fringes, which could feature a wildlife sanctuary, walking tracks and a golf course. The plan received a boost last week when new Premier Campbell Newman called Cr Callcott to discuss how to remove the bats from the park. Under Cr Callcott's plan, a bat hospital would be created at Young's Block at Gladstone Creek to nurse sick and injured bats. Cr Callcott said the lead scout bats would then notice the new habitat and slowly the colony would move to the area. Cr Callcott said there could also be a lookout to draw tourists to see the bats.
The strategy is modelled on Melbourne City Council's success in moving 20,000 flying foxes from the heritage-listed Botanical Gardens 5km away to Yarra Bend Park in 2003. Cr Callcott said the site was ideal because it already had tall trees, water and grass. He said the council's plan would take up to three years to work but it was the only solution left. The council has applied for 16 permits to move the bats with a combination of sound, noise and water jets. "We've tried everything but this and we have continually beat against a brick wall and achieved nothing," Cr Callcott said. Cr Callcott said he was surprised Mr Newman called him so soon after the election to discuss the bats. He said the Premier was open to his idea of a bat sanctuary. "He's like me. He's open to explore all ideas," he said. "And he's also offered his services to be a part of the negotiating with DERM." Mr Newman told the Bulletin the LNP Government would overhaul the damage mitigation permit system. "We will give faster approval, we will allow all reasonable means of relocation and we will issue longer permit durations so councils can quickly act should the colonies seek to return," he said. *Townsville Bulletin
Environmental groups are up in arms after Queensland's new LNP Government announced it will once again allow farmers to shoot flying foxes. That practise was banned four years ago, but Campbell Newman's recently-installed Government says it will legalise shooting if non-lethal methods of controlling the bats fail. Gayndah, west of Maryborough, prides itself on its thriving citrus industry but has also recently become renowned for something else: the flying foxes that have made the area in and around the town their home. Golden Orange Hotel Motel co-owner Lorraine Mogg says something has to be done. "They came into town about three years ago," she said. "Within two months, three months, we had 300,000 bats here. Nobody would help us. "The smell of them was just atrocious."
Ms Mogg's business partner, Dennis Wilson, says non-lethal methods have been implemented by the council and farmers, yet nothing has moved the flying foxes away permanently. He says that is hurting the rural industries in and around Gayndah. "Especially the citrus trees, if they get in there and start pummelling the fruit, that's a huge part of the economic success of this town," he said. "More so, we have a lot of cattle owners around here and they muster with horses. "Now, the Hendra virus and horses go hand in hand." In 2008, the Queensland Labor government announced it would not be issuing new damage mitigation permits following a finding that shooting flying foxes is inhumane. In the past, those permits had allowed the shooting of flying foxes for control. Now the LNP Government is promising to put the law into farmers' hands. "If you've tried to get rid of the flying foxes in non-lethal method, we will issue damage mitigation permits," Natural Resources and Mines Minister Andrew Cripps said. "Sometimes you have to do it to protect livelihoods. "And we're certainly willing to do it to protect industries and employment in regional and rural Queensland."
That commitment is welcome news at the Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers Cooperative. That group represents more than 400 farmers in the $400 million farm gate industry in the Bundaberg district in southern Queensland. "In the past, there's been a suite of practices that growers have implemented on their orchard," executive officer Peter Hockings said. "First and foremost, there's obviously damage mitigation permits, then there's lighting infrastructure, bird fright and netting of different descriptions." Mr Hockings said some non-lethal methods had worked to some extent, but never effectively on their own. "As an industry we're pushing for a suite of control practices, both non-lethal and damage mitigation permits," he said. But the Queensland Conservation Council's Dr Carol Booth says shooting flying foxes is always inhumane. "We're very concerned by this plan to return to primitive and inhumane methods of crop protection," she said. Dr Booth says flying foxes are here to stay and farmers already have appropriate methods of keeping them away from crops. "Most fruit damage occurs when flying foxes are hungry," she said. "They know where the orchards are, they will target them. "There's nothing apart from nets that will protect orchards when flying foxes are suffering food shortages elsewhere." *ABC
Ed Comment; Carol is right of course, netting is the only protection. Shooting them solves nothing, except to keep farmes up all night, and hasten the FF's inevitable extinction. If shooting is permitted, and we understand its not yet in their Policy, Cando Cambell is wasting his time wth a 10 year Plan....a three year Plan for the LNP may be more appropriate.....
Fresh calls for crocodile culling emerged after a string of close encounters between Queenslanders and the man-eating reptiles. Senator Ian Macdonald said the Newman Government needed to get tough with crocodiles, and called on the Premier to start focusing on cutting their numbers. Mr Macdonald pointed to two recent incidents in which Queenslanders came too close for comfort with local crocs. A Mackay couple reportedly received a shock on Monday night when their 29th wedding anniversary was interrupted by a 2m crocodile sitting in the middle of the road. Bushland Beach resident John Grasso has also joined the call for a cull, after his car was savaged by a 3m reptile. "They're people-eaters," he said. "They're getting too friendly, too close to the houses and in 20 years' time, there'll be more crocs than people. "Parks and wildlife rang me up and said, 'we might have to put a sign there'. I told him, 'crocodiles can't read'."
The 63-year-old was driving to Ingham in early March when he spotted the large croc at the side of the road. He touched the brakes and attempted to manoeuvre around the creature without disturbing it, when it rushed toward his Ford Falcon. "It turned around and made four or five holes in the bumper bar," he said. "He just stood up and bloody grabbed it - he grabbed it a couple of times. Lucky he didn't bite the tyre - I wouldn't have changed a tyre there, that's for sure." A young woman and her three-year-old were also in the car at the time. "Their eyes were wide open, they'd never seen one in the wild before." Mr Grasso said locals had since taken to calling him the "crocodile man" and his ageing Falcon had become something of a local celebrity. "I thought I'd put the Falcon up for sale - might get another $1000 for it," he said. Further north, wildlife rangers trapped a 2.2m saltie from a Yorkeys Knob golf course yesterday morning. The reptile was removed, but locals claim crocs are regularly spotted in the area. The golf club has been given temporary warning signs, while rangers say they are still on the hunt for a 1.5m croc believed to be lurking near Lake Placid. *Courier Mail
A crocodile has bitten a woman on the leg while she was swimming at a remote bay in Western Australia's Kimberley region. Tara Hawkes, 23, was swimming in a freshwater pool near the tourist vessel True North in Dugong Bay north of Derby on Sunday afternoon when a two-metre crocodile bit her upper leg as she left the water. Ms Hawkes, who was a crew member on the boat, was flown by helicopter to Derby Hospital where she was in a stable condition on Monday night being treated for lacerations and puncture wounds. Peter Trembath of North Star Cruises, the vessel's operator, said in a statement that the attack happened at a swimming hole that was only waist deep. "Crew members checked the pool before entering the water, however they did not detect the crocodile which was estimated to be two metres in length."
Mr Trembath said Ms Hawkes was bitten while getting out of the water. A Department of Environment and Conservation spokesman told AAP the department had put out a warning to tourist operators not to let people swim in the area because it was believed the crocodile was still there. He said it was not known if the animal was a freshwater or a saltwater crocodile but the attack took place in fresh water. He said freshwater crocodiles would usually attack only if people seriously disturbed them. A wildlife officer was on the way to the scene of the attack and the department says it is assessing options to deal with the crocodile. * AAP
A South African woman has been snatched and killed by a crocodile in front of her two children. The woman, identified as 48-year-old Thandazile Madela, was trying to fish near the lake's edge in eastern KwaZulu Natal province early yesterday. A crocodile came out of the water and latched onto her arm, pulling her in. The two children, aged 13 and 14, called for help. After an hour of work, rescue teams managed to force the reptile to release the body, but Ms Madela was already dead, according to the SAPA news agency. The incident took place near iSimangaliso Wetland Park, a World Heritage Site which has one of the highest concentrations of hippos and crocodiles in southern Africa. Warnings about the dangers of crocodiles were intensified following the incident. * Telegraph
Filmmaker and author Hardy Jones and his crew had to stop counting the dead dolphins that were scattered along the Peruvian beach when the number reached 615. The incoming tide made it impossible to continue a task that must have been heartbreaking and exhausting – yet nothing short of a relentless tide or total darkness would have gotten in the way of this man. In a career that has stretched over 30 years, Jones has been a voice for dolphins worldwide, and has taken his message to the world through his films and book. He battles a form of cancer that would render most of us content to spend our days puttering in our gardens. He has faced the brutal dolphin hunters in Taiji, and filmed the slaughter of the animals he loves. So when he was informed of the mass dolphin deaths he did not hesitate to travel from his home in Florida to the remote shores of Peru, and soon found himself counting the endless procession of dolphin carcasses, photographing and filming the scene while scientists took samples and tried to establish the cause.
Read More ... http://blog.seattlepi.com/candacewhiting/2012/04/03/dolphins-dying-by-the-thousands-in-peru-seismic-surveys-by-oil-companies-and-pollution-suspected/
A fleck-sized jumping spider resting on a yellow leaf caught the eye of Stuart Harris while on a bushwalk to Boroomba Rocks in Namadgi National Park. A keen amateur photographer, Mr Harris was experimenting with a new macro lens and liked the contrast between the foliage and the spider's markings. And, as millions of photographers do in these digital days, he posted the photograph on his Flickr site. "I though it was an interesting photograph of an unusual spider, and hoped a spider expert might be able to identify it," he says. What happened next defied the odds of statistical probability. Mid-way through a stream of chatty online comments – "never seen anything like it", "very nice!", "amazing colours" – a spider expert in the United States chimed in with a comment. "Probably an unnamed species of Maratus new to science. Any more photographs?" asked a post signed Platycryptus. "Wow, new to science, find that hard to believe – considering how many scientists live nearby in my home town of Canberra," Mr Harris replied.
The expert was David Hill, a retired businessman with a keen interest in jumping spiders (platycryptus is a genus of North American jumping spider) who, coincidentally, was writing a scientific paper on Australian peacock spiders (Maratus) with Sydney researcher Jurgen Otto. They confirmed the Namadgi spider was new species, and named it Maratus harrisi to acknowledge Mr Harris's efforts in spending more than 100 hours searching for a live specimen to describe. "Stuart did the hard work, and this discovery is thanks to his dedication and persistence," Dr Otto says. Peacock spiders are unique to Australia and were first described in 1874, but little was known about the genus until recently. Dr Otto has spent five years photographing the markings of 11 species currently known to science, and filming the spider's dazzling courtship dance. "Only the males have the bright colours, and they're used to spectacular effect," he says.
The male spider has two skin-flaps on either side of the abdomen that fold down against the sides of the body. When a female spider approaches, the male raises his abdomen vertically, the side-flaps pop out and are displayed like a peacock's tail. The spider also raises his third legs – on both sides – and begins dancing. Dr Otto says the Namadgi spider discovery shows "citizen scientists" have an important role to play in documenting new species. "All three of us involved in this discovery are amateurs," he says. Although Dr Otto is a biologist, his speciality is mites. "When it comes to spiders, I'm just an enthusiast." Mr Harris, a Mt Majura vineyard worker, is delighted the new species is named after him, and is contemplating having the Latin nomenclature tattooed on his arm. He's also amazed at the cyber-reach of that first photo. "If I hadn't put the photo up there, none of this might have happened. I think it's incredible someone on the other side of the world saw it," he says.
Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/environment/how-amateurs-discovered-namadgis-tiny-dancer-20120402-1w95e.html#ixzz1r1JV5USP
Queensland Election Summary....Why Bligh and Labor Got the BIG Boot.. A Wake-Up Call!
There has been a denial of the real reasons why Queenslanders were so angry and reacted so strongly against Bligh and Labor in the recent election. Will this be a wake-up call for the ALP or will the same scenario be repeated at the next Federal election? In a recent interview, the new QLD Labor leader, Anastasia Palaszczuk, seemed to be aware of some of the reasons. However, because the damage was so severe, it will be a very long time before QLD voters trust Labor again. Abbott’s photo ops clearly reveal, as he prances around, that he is expecting Labor to continue to self destruct, so he can simply ride his bike into Parliament as the next PM! Contrary to what some claimed, the election results in QLD, had little if anything to do with Labor being in power for so long. People don’t vote for a change unless dissatisfied.
While this annihilation was mostly a state issue, the wider picture should not be ignored. For too long, politicians in Canberra have governed Australia with a focus on NSW and VIC, as if QLD was irrelevant. North QLD (the most beautiful part of Australia with the greatest potential) and many regional areas have been ignored and isolated, while government catered to the demands of their corporate masters. Much of Australia has been exploited by and/or sold off to foreign interests at Australia’s peril! A few examples are the degradation of our environment by big mining corporations, secret foreign bases experimenting with weather modification with disastrous results (extreme droughts and floods) and soon to be foreign troops on Australian soil. In fact, many Australians find this very disturbing and question whose interest is our government actually working for! It is insulting the intelligence of every Australian, for government to indicate that our own military is incapable of protecting Australia. Yet, they are sent overseas to invade, occupy, kill and be killed, to fight other country’s immoral and illegal wars.
Labor’s disconnect, desertion of its core values and adoption of many of the same policies as its opponent’s, have angered and frustrated many long-time Labor supporters. Adding insult to injury, the PM is blatantly doing exactly what she highly criticised her predecessor for doing in order to appease a foreign alliance. She is placing the demands of a foreign government above the rights and interests of the Australian people. Leaders are ignoring the very people, who they are highly paid to represent! WAKE UP Canberra! Government leaders have a duty to govern, first and foremost, in the best interest of Australia and for the protection all Australians... above the interests of big corporations and foreign alliances! In a Democracy, people expect their rights, interests and liberties to be respected at all times.
Getting back to the election results...
Understandably, little mention has been made about the fact that Queenslanders were very upset about the way Labor ousted Kevin Rudd, and then denigrated him afterwards. This was a bad mistake, which did irreparable damage to both Labor and the PM! Obviously, many voters took revenge at the ballot box. This is a sad situation, considering how hard the PM and many others have and are working for a better Australia. The first big mistake Anna Bligh made in an attempt to appear “strong” was to disconnect from the people of Queensland, This attitude and approach reflected as arrogant and contempt for the very people she was supposed to represent. No matter how much or how often people tried to communicate with her, she refused to listen. If any replies were provided, they were generic and did not address the issues raised. Foolishly, QLD Labor abandoned its long-time Labor supporters, to appease its corporate masters.
Then, in Bligh’s attempt to “modernise” Queensland, she aggressively and rapidly pursued costly policies that destroyed Queensland’s unique lifestyle. Again, no matter how much people tried to communicate and preserve Queensland’s unique lifestyle, she refused to listen. She had no regard for the fact that Queenslanders did not want their lifestyle and QLD to become like NSW or VIC. Nor, did they want QLD to become a "police state!" Every change the Bligh government implemented worsened living conditions, made affordable housing even more unattainable, destroyed small businesses, exposed mismanagement and waste and significantly increased taxes and the cost of living. Commitments were not honoured and the people were often lied to. Flooding from the Dam was another bone of contention. People in north and regional QLD are still suffering from the flood disasters because of centralised control and mismanagement. In the process to modernise QLD, the trust was lost, along with the liberties Queenslanders so passionately valued.
The third big mistake the Bligh government made was to forcefully amalgamate local councils, so that she would have control over water rights. In doing this, Bligh took away people’s rights to govern their communities locally, the way they wanted. Under the new system, local Councils lost many powers to State government, and thus, were unable to govern for the people, by the people, or be accountable to the people. Opposite to what people were told, after amalgamation, property rates and water rates soared!
Shortly thereafter, in one of the most abusive and controversial moves that infuriated most informed Queenslanders, the Bligh government implemented the multi-million dollar, forced fluoridation program on the whole population of QLD, for what ailed less than 10% of the population. This unethical policy was done against the wishes of most informed citizens and without any regard for infants, the elderly or patients with thyroid, kidney, cancer, mental, bone and joint conditions, who would be harmed by the addition of this poison into their precious drinking water and food supply. Queenslanders were denied “freedom of choice” with the forced fluoridation of their drinking water. The long-term ill effects and cost of this bad and ludicrous policy have yet to be determined. Plus, this created a lot of very angry people, who vowed to make this an election issue. Not surprisingly, this was an issue that the controlled mainstream media has not even reported! How ironic that Bligh proclaimed she wanted to protect wild rivers, after she poisoned QLD’s drinking water! This issue will not go away and will continue to be an election issue until peoples again have “freedom of choice” in this matter.
Adding insult to injury, the Bligh government then privatised public assets, to help pay for their huge debt that had been created from decades of mismanagement and waste. This provoked a fury of anger and even more anti-Bligh sentiment among many, once strong, Labor supporters. They also vowed to give Bligh the boot, come election time! Most Queenslanders feel very strong that infrastructure, built with public funds, should never be privatised or sold off, as was done in NSW and VIC. Soaring energy bills and rates, bureaucracy, poisoned water supply, mismanagement and waste have created a terrible burden for small businesses, farmers and Queenslanders alike. Regional Queensland and food security have also been widely ignored. Affordable and suitable housing remains a big problem and continues to worsen. The mining boom and coal seam gas (fracking) projects have created another storm of controversy. The Bligh government operated in a frenzy of greed, catering to their big corporate donors, instead of representing their supporters and protecting Queensland’s environment, the Artesian basin, food security and long-term future. Also, little or no protection or consideration has been extended to farmers, the fishing industry and land owners. Australia’s world renowned fishing industry, especially in the Gladstone area, has been virtually destroyed, and no one in government is properly addressing this disaster. The Great Barrier Reef is also greatly at risk because of pollution, greed and bad policies. The policy of the day has been one of short-term gain and long-term loss. A BIG mistake!
These issues will no doubt become more contentious as more degradation occurs and more people are affected. If the intelligent, hard working leaders in government don’t acknowledge and rectify the issues that are angering and affecting so many Australians, the next Federal election will be even more disastrous for Labor... and Australia! In fact, no political party will be immune to the rath of voters, if politicians abuse their power. What happened in QLD was a wake-up call! The big question now is: Will both State and Federal leaders choose to govern for the people, by the people and be accountable to the people? *Lady Carla Davis
Ed Comment; Thats a very good overview of the political scene at the moment. The only comment we would add is that for possibly the first time ever, many conservationists didnt vote Labor, they voted for the Conservatives, the LNP. But wether Labor will ever take that onboard remains to be seen. *