Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Wildlife Bytes 18/7/12


More calls for killing wildlife have erupted after anther surfer was killed by Great White Shark in Western Australia. Strident calls to kill crocodiles, bats, possums, kangaroos, magpies and other birds, ducks, sharks and other wildlife are coming from those who do not want to live with wildlife. Where it will stop we dont know, but allowing shooters into National Parks in NSW has triggered an avalanche of calls across Australia to kill anything that some people dont like. Fortunately the new LNP government in Queensland has resisted some of these outbursts, and has refused to contemplate croc trophy hunting, although shooting of flying foxes still remains on the agenda. However, they do have other pressing issues to deal with, like a revolting public service, and some bad media about employing relatives in Ministers offices. Hopefully these issues may take some pressure off our wildlife. *

Seal Kill Starts

Namibia's annual seal hunt, which will see some 86,000 Cape fur seals slaughtered by end November, starts on Sunday amid outcry from conservation groups that brand it a massacre for trade purposes. This year targets are to club 80,000 pups and shoot 6,000 bulls to death. Namibian authorities maintain that what they call seal harvesting is meant to control the burgeoning population which threatens the fishing industry. "Namibia's seal population has increased to the point where they exceeded by far the carrying capacity of the environment ... therefore it is humane to curb the unrestrained seal population to a level where they can be sustained by the environment," the government said in a statement. But activists slam these reasons as hypocritical, saying the hunts are carried out for commercial gain. "There is no justification for the killing. This is purely a political and economic issue, with very little concern for animal welfare," conservation charity International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) director for Southern Africa Jason Bell told AFP. * iAfrica.com Read more   ..  http://news.iafrica.com/sa/805843.html

Something Scary!

In the last 12 months, millions of monster mosquitoes - genetically modified in laboratories to 'test' their effectiveness at reducing the risk of mosquito-borne illnesses - have been released into the wild without either the knowledge or permission of local inhabitants. We have no idea how safe these sorts of experiments are yet 'scientists' in their incredibly hubris, continue to take these risks on our behalf. Townsville, QLD, Florida and Malaysia are just a few of the locations for this uncontrolled experiment. This article makes a good case for the need to regulate this sort of testing - NOW!


National Parks

The NSW government has put a scythe through its environment office, cutting 350 jobs and slicing many programs in national parks, animal management and climate change research.
The public service cuts, which amount to nearly 12 per cent of all workers in the Office of Environment and Heritage, mean some national parks will go unstaffed, and visitors will be forced to utilise a ''self service'' culture in some regions. The staff cuts, which will result from a combination of redundancy packages and ''natural attrition'', will save $101 million by 2016, said the Environ-ment Minister, Robyn Parker. Internal documents circulated among employees said the agency had committed to cutting costs in kangaroo harvesting programs, reducing wilderness and wild river assessments, deregulating wildlife licensing where appropriate, scaling back soil and salinity research and ''reducing effort in our biodiversity programs''. Many climate change programs had been stopped or scaled back, the government said. They include cuts in soil carbon sequestration programs, energy efficiency programs and greenhouse gas cuts policy development. 'The transport emissions reduction policy and programs including policy work on electric vehicles, national transport sector emissions reduction and heavy vehicle emissions reduction have ceased,'' the government said in a statement. The cuts were partly driven by the national carbon price, ''to avoid duplication with the federal government in a post-carbon tax world'', Ms Parker said. However, the state government also hopes to see the federal carbon price abolished, as the federal Coalition has pledged to do if it wins next year's election.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/environment/conservation/parks-will-go-unstaffed-as-environment-jobs-slashed-20120717-228cn.html#ixzz20uvQGM1K

Ed Comment; We have to wonder who will supervise and control the hunters who are now permitted to hunt in NSW National Parks. *


Thousands of leatherback turtle eggs and hatchlings have been crushed by heavy machinery on a beach in Trinidad. Conservationists said the beach was widely regarded as the world's most dense nesting area for the biggest species of living sea turtles, which is endangered. Government work crews with bulldozers were redirecting the Grand Riviere, a shifting river that was threatening a hotel. The hotel was full of tourists who had come to Trinidad to see the tiny leatherback hatchlings head for the surf. Instead, they saw injured hatchlings dying Conservationists said the crews dug up an unnecessarily large swath of the beach on Trinidad's northern shore. Sherwin Reyz, a member of the Grand Riviere Environmental Organisation, estimated that as many as 20,000 eggs were crushed or consumed by vultures and stray dogs. ''They had a very good meal. It was a disgusting mess.'' Leatherbacks can grow more than two metres long, weigh a tonne and live 100 years. Marc de Verteuil, of the Papa Bois Conservation organisation, said the river had already eroded a lot of the dense nesting areas on the beach, but the government work crews made a bad situation worse. ''Their equipment was basically crushing a much, much larger part of the beach than made sense. It looked like a bit of a panic reaction and they didn't follow procedure,'' he said. Mr De Verteuil said he could not confidently gauge how the loss would affect the region's leatherback population. *AP


Healesville Sanctuary director Glen Holland yesterday desperately contacted many members and supporters by email and phone declaring that Healesville sanctuary will not be killing any swamp wallabies at the Coranderrk bushland as part of their 'restoration project'.  Glen claimed that "he was  pushed into a corner by channel 7 reporters, trying get him to admit that that was what was going to happen". He said that they have been inundated with people objecting to his media statement and that he wanted one women to " call off the pubic and let them know what he has told her”!   Thank you everyone for your actions and support with this very important campaign. We hope that those beautiful animals will now be spared from another unnecessary slaughter by those who we expected to protect them. *ASK

Sea Shepherd

Sea Shepherd conservationists are to mount an Australian mainland campaign for the first time, against the $35 billion Browse gas hub project. The activists will this week set off in their flagship, Steve Irwin, to draw attention to potential impacts on humpback whales of the giant project near Broome, Western Australia. In alliance with the former Greens leader, Bob Brown, and local Aboriginal people, the activists will steam from Melbourne to the Kimberley coast - the main breeding ground for the booming West Australian humpback population. "I'll be helping to lead this trip to draw attention to the fact that this is not a good place for a giant gas factory, with huge ships coming to and fro," said Dr Brown, who has joined the Sea Shepherd advisory board. Woodside and its partners will pipe gas ashore from the Browse Basin for processing and export at James Price Point, if one of Australia's largest energy projects gains final investment approval. It includes dredging a 20-kilometre channel and building a two-kilometre jetty to access the liquefied natural gas from an onshore plant. Impacts on marine fauna such as whales, dugongs and turtles were admitted when the West Australian government gave the environmental green light to the project yesterday.

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/environment/conservation/sea-shepherd-to-take-on-woodside-20120717-2277s.html#ixzz20uw9Sh7r


Numerous giant reptiles have been spotted sunning themselves along the Burdekin River, striking fear in the minds of locals as the crocodile debate heats up again. Chilling out on the banks of the river and paddling in pairs downstream, many of the photographed saltwater crocodiles were big enough to have inhabited the area for years and many were pictured in groups. Burdekin director and deputy vice-chair of Australian Cane Farmers Association Margaret Menzel said the reports of crocs showed just how out-of-control the issue was. "I've been back and a lot of those places, there's croc Lex Mackee, who has been keeping crocodiles for over 50 years, said crocodile numbers were increasing. "They are moving out where they've never been before for the simple reason that numbers are increasing," he said. "What's happened over the last few years, we've had a lot of big floods. They've been getting into dams and waterways where they normally haven't been just due to the prolonged wet season we've been having." *Ayr Advocate

Dingo Howling


AZWH Patient of the Week..   Jimbo the Brahminy Kite

Age: Juvenile (at this age, Brahminy Kites look very similar to Whistling Kites!) Sex: Unknown
Found on the ground unwilling to fly at Pelican Waters by a local resident, who called the Australia Zoo Rescue Unit for further assistance. Transported to: The Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital for specialised treatment and care. Veterinary Assessment: Dr Amber’s assessment found Jimbo was weak and having trouble standing. X-rays and blood tests all came back clear. Treatment: After x-rays and blood tests showed no abnormalities, Jimbo was set up in a quiet enclosure in Birds ICU for observation and to rest, with plenty of food and water provided. Outcome: Jimbo passed a flight test 48 hours after first arriving at the hospital, and was released back into the wild around the same area where he was found. AZWH Statistic: Over 506 native animals have been brought to the AZWH so far this year by the Australia Zoo Rescue Unit. These boys and girls do an amazing job! *AZWH

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 *

National Parks

The number of visitors to Kakadu and Uluru Kata Tjuja National Parks has plummeted. Kakadu visitation dropped 16 per cent and Uluru 19 per cent in the 2010/11 financial year from the previous year, National Parks director Peter Cochrane told a Senate estimates committee in May. Kakadu was down 11 per cent in the 2011/12 financial year from the previous year.
Kakadu visitor Bob Ford told the NT News he was unsatisfied with his visit. *NT News

Ed Comment; Comments from readers are that accomodation is poorly serviced and expensive, high cost of petrol, Parks not well managed, some peopke cant afford to go anywhere any more, and its cheaper to go overseas anyway. *

ACT Kangaroos

The NSW government and police are jointly investigating two kangaroo shooting incidents after a confrontation between shooters and animal activists near Michelago, 50 kilometres from the ACT border. Photographs taken by the Canberra activists of a vehicle carrying racks of gutted kangaroo carcasses have been emailed to Australian animal welfare representatives in Russia who are currently meeting government officials to discuss concerns over kangaroo meat exports. Speaking to The Canberra Times from Moscow, Wildlife Protection Association of Australia director Mark Pearson confirmed the Michelago photographs had been included in presentations to European Union officials in Brussels this week. The photos, taken by members of a registered animal welfare charity called Animal Army, were also shown to Russian agriculture ministry officials. ''These photos raise hygiene issues, particularly with regard to contamination. That is something the EU and Russia are very concerned about,'' Mr Pearson said.

The NSW Office of the Environment has confirmed 20 kangaroo carcasses were seized and classified as unfit for human consumption, following an inspection earlier this week. The office confirmed it was assisting an investigation by Queanbeyan police into two alleged ''kangaroo offences'' near Michelago. Detective senior constable Phil McCloskey said illegal shooting of kangaroos was ''a significant problem'' in rural regions close to Canberra. 'Many people seem to be unaware that kangaroos are a protected species, and it is illegal to shoot them without obtaining a permit,'' he said. Commercial kangaroo shooters are required to enrol in a food safety program, and obtain a game meat processing licence. Vehicles used to transport kangaroo carcasses must be regularly checked for safety and hygiene, and numbered tags must be attached to all carcasses.

Russia placed a temporary ban on kangaroo meat imports from Australia three years ago because of concerns about hygiene and the possibility of E.coli contamination. The EU is the biggest importer, but concerns have been raised about hygiene and use of sulphur dioxide as a preservative. The EU has banned use of sulphur dioxide in meat products after tests established it was an irritant for asthma sufferers. Mr Pearson said the photographs showed ''eviscerated carcasses, with body cavities open to dust and other pollutants'', swinging from the back of a vehicle. He said Russian and EU officials who saw the photographs ''were very firm in voicing opinions that they expect any form of meat processing must meet the highest standards of hygiene'' as well as animal welfare. Animal Army spokesperson Marcus Fillinger said he and another activist confronted the shooters on a public road after they left a property near Michelago. 'We know there is a huge illegal industry built on supplying kangaroo meat to the pet food trade, because there are no inspectors on site to ensure regulations are followed,'' he said.

Sources working at local animal shelters have told The Canberra Times they know of several outlets in Canberra, Queanbeyan, Bungendore and Cooma that buy and sell illegally harvested kangaroo meat as pet food. The NSW Food Authority regulates the killing and processing of kangaroo meat under its Wild Game Meat food safety accreditation program. A spokeswoman said all licensed retail meat premises in NSW were required to purchase meat from approved and licensed suppliers, ''so a butcher should know where the meat has come from.'' Similar regulations apply in the ACT.  * Canberra Times


Kangaroos have hit "plague proportions" across western Queensland, according to state MP Vaughan Johnson. Mr Johnson, who has represented the outback electorate of Gregory since 1989, says numbers of the animals have skyrocketed. "Everywhere you go in that inside central country, the roos are in plague proportions," he told ABC Radio this morning. "(I have) never seen anything like it in my life. Out of control." Mr Johnson said he'd struck six in a single drive recently, and that the animals were creating a hazard for drivers of small cars in particular. Numbers of kangaroos in Queensland have ballooned since Russia stopped importing kangaroo meat in 2009, following a contamination scare. *NZ Herald

Russia regains a taste for roo

Farmers claim kangaroos are in plague proportions and they want the Queensland and Federal governments to help kickstart export roo meat sales as a way of reducing near-record numbers.  In 2009, Russia blacklisted kangaroo meat because of contamination. Australia has since met requirements but the market remains in limbo. Kangaroo Industry Association of Australia chief executive John Kelly yesterday blamed lacklustre help from both governments. "For a minor $1 million investment, the Queensland Government could generate $100 million a year in export income," Mr Kelly said. State Agriculture Minister John McVeigh said he would meet with the Russian ambassador next month to discuss what could be done to restore the trade. "The Government has also asked the Agent-General in London, Ken Smith, to use his role as Queensland's advocate to communicate with the Russians on behalf of Queensland kangaroo meat industry," he said. AgForce spokesman Stephen Tully said kangaroo numbers passed 20 million last year in Queensland and were costing grain and grazing industries $75 million a year as they ate through pastures and crops. University of Queensland biologist Gordon Grigg said numbers would be high after good seasons and reduced shooting. If the trade could be restarted, it would help ease a major animal welfare issue when the next drought arrived, during which millions of animals would starve to death. "The harvest is pretty humane," Professor Grigg said. Pouch young are killed by a blow to the head, although there is an animal welfare issue with large joeys virtually out of the pouch but not ready to survive without their mother. Mr Kelly said the roo industry was the most humane way of producing red meat, with animals dying without stress. *Courier Mail

This link is to an 4BC audio podcast.  The 4BC presenter (Greg Cary) is interviewing John Kelly of KIA –

I found out to my horror that the radio host on the Morning program of Brisbane Radio Station 4BC was telling the listeners about the ‘plagues and plagues of kangaroos’.  He referred to the front page story of today’s Courier Mail and that his first guest was John Kelly of the KIA.  The radio presenter’s name is Greg Cary and he is held in quite high esteem, and usually presents a balanced view of everything.  However, he was in total agreement with bloody John Kelly!!!!  He knows nothing about how kangaroos are really ‘harvested’, nor any facts about their true numbers, their breeding cycle, their mortality rate, nor the fact that they don’t rape and pillage the land!   He only knows the typical ‘farmer’ bullshit.   Below is the newspaper article, and the second link is the audio interview he did with John Kelly.

Link to 4BC Blog to please leave a comment    http://www.4bc.com.au


Greg Cary said he is having the Premier (Campbell Newman) in the studio next week, and stated that he will raise the issue of kangaroo exports with him.  John Kelly’s pushing for a “Political Champion” to pick this up and mastermind a co-ordinated marketing campaign in an effort to open up the export industry again. The lies and bullshit being touted by Kelly are just unbelievable.  Unfortunately the uninformed public would not know any different, and neither does the radio presenter.  I am sick to my stomach with worry.  The only reason the LNP aren’t siding with him, is that they are presently in a severe cost cutting mode, trying to get the previous Labor party debt under control, and therefore won’t part with a $1 million to fund the KIA marketing campaign  AT THE MOMENT, BUT THAT COULD CHANGE.  It only takes one of the politicians to take this under their wing. Can we try and get a concerted effort to write to the Queensland Premier – or whatever you think is the best course of action. Nik or Fi  or Pat -  do you think you could contact the radio station and ask to do an interview with this Greg Cary to give “the other side of the story”. Apparently he believes in “the right of reply”.   4BC phone number is:  (07) 3908 8200.  Website:  www.4bc.com.au
Apparenty Ray Mjadwesch is being interviewed on 4BC now.