Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Wildlife Bytes 11/10/12

Quads in National Parks

Say No to Quad Bikes in Woondum National Park,

This operation will constitute 12 quad bikes and 1 4WD recovery vehicle in Woondum National Park and along a narrow winding stretch of public road 2 times per day, 7 days a week and 360 days a year. This business proposal is beyond the criteria of a Home Based Business Type 3 and poses danger, harm, disturbance and loss of lifestyle to all concerned.
This particular Petition site is a pain in the butt, but its worth perservering to sign this very important Petition. *

You can also help to  protect Woondum National Park, and what is ultimately the future of all our National Parks, by  raising your concerns to:

Federal Environment Miniser Tony Burke
Mr Steve Dickson, MP, Minister for National Parks, Recreation Sports and Racing, QLD
Mr Andrew Powell, MP, Minister for Environment and Natural Heritage, QLD

A Picket has been organised at Minister Andrew Powells office at Maleny, 3pm Friday October 12th. What to Bring: Placards: Here are some options to choose from: ” No Quad Bikes in Woondum NP”, “Make Environment a Priority over Profit”, “Protect National Parks not Profits”, “Make National Parks a Priority over Profit”, “Do Your Duty – Protect our 5% of National Parks”, “National Parks are for all not for one” (and any others but please keep it simple and clear – it is a message to the Minister to act to protect Woondum NP)
Protest Website;

Managing people, rather than dingoes, was the main concern for a group of more than 80 people at a forum that will influence a review into the Fraser Island Dingo Management Strategy.
The audience at yesterday's forum in Maryborough included Butchulla elders, long-term residents of the island, mainland residents and interest groups such as Save Fraser Island. Consulting firm Ecosure was commissioned in June to conduct the independent review and yesterday joined RSPCA and Environment and Heritage Protection representatives for the five-hour session. The primary concern of the audience included how the island was marketed to tourists, the number of visitors and their behaviour. More than 1000 people camp on the island on an average day. Ecosure regional manager Scott Hetherington said the business would also meet with tourism operators and residents of the island over the next two days as part of a site assessment. The company has so far received individual submissions from across the country as well as submissions from tourism businesses, universities and environmental groups. Ecosure will give its report on the strategy to the review steering committee by the end of December. The committee then has until February 2013 to make its recommendations to Environment Minister Andrew Powell. Ecosure has also launched an online survey for the public to take part in at

Ed Comment; We all thought the election of the LNP would herald a new and humane strategy for the managemnet of the FI dingoes, but the process is not looking so good now. The Ecosure Survey has some credibilty issues that many are concerned about, and the so called Independent expert Panel was made up of Dr Lee Allen, who was one of the contributors on the FIDMS with Laurie Corbett ( a definate conflict of interest ), Kevin Bradley from RSPCA ( who are funded by the Govt, and who were notable for their silence when the dingoes were given poison biscuits to make them sick), Ross Belcher, QPWS manager, and also definitely not independent.  We all believed that when Ecosure were commissioned to make an independent study of the FIDMS that it would independent. But it's not looking so independent now!

A team of experts explored the Northern Territory's far northeast this week in search of gigantic wombat bones. Museum and Art Gallery of the NT earth science curator Adam Yates lead an expedition on Tuesday to uncover a diprotodon fossil.  The group excavated the area where a rare diprotodon bone was discovered last month.  The long extinct beast resembled a giant wombat. Dr Yates said although it was not known what else could be found at the new site, the presence of a partial articulated skeleton was extremely promising. *NT News


A large crocodile has forced the closure of a far north Queensland beach. About 50 people had to be called out of the water when the four-metre saltwater crocodile was seen swimming within 100 metres of the shore at Ellis Beach, north of Cairns, yesterday afternoon. The beach was closed for several hours. Ellis Beach is just a few kilometres from Kewarra Beach, where a crocodile killed a fisherman's dog in front of horrified onlookers last month. A three-metre crocodile was found beheaded a few days after the Kewarra Beach attack. Last week, authorities removed a 2.7-metre crocodile from Kewarra Beach. The state government has said it is developing a plan for crocodile management in the far north. *Brisbane Times

Ed Comment; Elements within the Tourism Industry are calling for all crocs in the area to be removed, so tourists can go swimming, but it doesnt matter how many crocs are removed and sent to croc farms to be turned into $500 handbags, there will always be a crocodile around somewhere, and more crocs will move in anyway. Most people understand this, but for some the almighty dollar is more important. If they encourage tourists to go swimming in Nth Queensland beaches its not just crocs, its dangerous jellyfish and sharks as well. Build some more swimming pools for teh tourists  and leave the crocs alone, we reckon!


Europe is facing a seal-shooting controversy in its own backyard, as concern over fish stocks and nuisance seals led the European Parliament to approve a plan to “manage” its seal population. Canada’s sealing industry says the recent events are highly hypocritical given Europe’s condemnation of Canada’s commercial seal hunt. Reports out of Scotland, Ireland and England in recent weeks have focused on growing tension between seal advocates and the fishing industry, which argues seal populations need to be culled in order to protect fish stocks. Local environmentalists are condemning a Scottish government-approved cull that has granted licences to kill 878 grey seals and 289 common seals this year. Beyond the debate over approved culls, there are also reports of seals being killed without a licence. Last month, the European Parliament weighed in, approving a resolution on a “Common Fisheries Policy” that calls on the European Commission “to investigate the reduction in fish stocks owing to natural predators such as sea lions, seals and cormorants, and to draw up and implement management plans to regulate these populations in co-operation with the affected Member States.” This is the same European Parliament that voted in 2009 to ban commercial seal products, a decision Canada is fighting before the World Trade Organization.
Read more  ..

Indian Mynas
The indian myna bird's Wide Bay future is in limbo with a new campaign under way by those wanting the pest gone. Bundaberg Regional Council recently announced a $2 bounty for each bird caught alive and it appears that decision is attracting attention in other parts of Queensland. Not least in the Fraser Coast, where some people see this as the perfect opportunity for local government to act and stop a problem that has the potential to escalate. One such person is conservationist and TESS Wildlife Sanctuary curator Ray Revill, who believes action must be taken now to eradicate the cane toads of the skies and protect native fauna and flora. "My opinion is if they can nip it in the bud before it progresses too quickly now it will make the situation easier in the long run," Mr Revill said. "If we can control them now in the Bay and in our region the better off we will be." Fraser Coast Mayor Gerard O'Connell agreed the birds were already on the Fraser Coast and suggested council had asked residents last year to take part in a survey to map the distribution of the birds across the region. He told the Chronicle he was aware of Bundaberg's program and agreed it might have merit. "The introduction of a bounty to control Indian Myna birds is an interesting concept," Cr O'Connell said. "It will be interesting to see how the program goes towards controlling the birds." Cr O'Connell also mentioned that a second survey was scheduled to take place in the next few weeks, to investigate whether the birds were spreading or had colonised distinct areas. He said most reported bird sightings were along the Hervey Bay Esplanade with a few at River Heads, Sunshine Acres, near the Maryborough airport and Tiaro. *Fraser Coast Chronicle

Did you Know?

Almost 20,000 biohazards, food, plant or animal products that may endanger Australia's human, animal and plant population are seized every month at airports around Australia. Some interesting finds included items such as a rhinoceros head, an elephant foot and a live turtle.* WPAA

Gt Barrier Reef

The struggle to save the Fitzroy Delta and Keppel Bay and ultimately the health of the Great Barrier Reef continues - currently the Fitzroy Terminal Project (FTP) and the Xstrata Balaclava Island Coal Export Terminal (BICET) are poised to release their EIS for huge development of the Fitzroy River Delta that could spell the end of a unique population of Australian Snubfin dolphin that are only found in the Delta and at risk from removal of important habitat through dredging to get the coal ships and barges into the Delta to service the proposed coal ports.  It's not just the dolphins that will be effected. If you would like to send your thoughts to the politicians and help make a difference then follow the link and send a message!

Meanwhile, Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke has approved the building of a new coal loading terminal at a north Queensland port. He's set 60 strict environmental conditions on the GVK/Hancock Coal terminal expansion at Abbot Point, just outside of Bowen, to protect the Great Barrier Reef from the impact of coal dust and increased shipping traffic.  The terminal expansion will allow more coal to be shipped to Asia from the Alpha Coal mine in the Galillee Basin. Environmental groups have expressed outrage at the decision. *ABC

The leader of a non-government organisation in Solomon Islands, Earth Island Institute, has freed ten dolphins that were being held in captivity earlier this week. This follows the the death of three of the dolphins which were being held in captivity at Tanhuka village in the Kolom-Bangara area of Western province. Officials from the Solomon Islands Fisheries Department, Police and Earth island Institute went to the village to investigate. The Regional Director of the Institute, Lawrence Makili says he released ten dolphins from a pen and they swam back into the sea. *ABC


Cigarette lighters, golf balls, plastic toy soldiers and tooth brushes are carried thousands of kilometres across the ocean by albatrosses. The birds mistake the plastic junk that floats in the world's oceans for food. When the birds arrive back at their nests they cough up the plastic and transfer it to their hungry chicks. "The chicks accept everything that the adults give them," said Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies marine biologist Jennifer Lavers at a demonstration for primary school students. Dr Lavers said the plastic accumulated in chicks' stomachs and eventually killed them. In June she brought home a tragic collection of familiar plastic objects retrieved from dead chicks at the former US Pacific Air Force base on Midway Island. Students from Goulburn St Primary School said they were shocked to learn that such vast and remote areas of ocean could be so full of garbage. "It's amazing how much they can swallow," said Jarra Horstman, 11, of South Hobart. The students got a chance to dissect actual pellets coughed up by albatrosses and find out how much plastic was in them. Dr Lavers said albatrosses were gorgeous birds, with wing spans of up to 2.5m. They could live as long as 65 years. *Mercury

Ecologists have released hundreds of the UK's largest breed of spider into the wild - and they can grow up to 8cm long. The great raft spider has been saved following a breeding programme in 10 zoos, that saw thousands of spiderlings being reared for reintroduction to their former base in the Norfolk Broads. This arachnid is so big is it capable of catching and eating a fish as it glides across the water, according to the Daily Mail. But, before you scream in horror, these spiders only live in wetlands, so you won't be finding them in your living room anytime soon. Around 200 baby spiders have already been released at the RSPB's Strumpshaw Fen reserve near Norwich.  Bristol Zoo Gardens keeper Carmen Solan raised 170 of the arachnids, using a special tube operated with her mouth to feed the tiny babies dead flies. The ecologist, who has been working with fen raft spiders for 20 years, said the conservation programme is mainly concerned with giving the spiders the best chance in the wild, according to the BBC. By rearing the spiderlings in isolation, project staff can boost their survival rates by as much as 90%, which in turn gives them a greater chance of success in the wild. * Network Item

Flying Foxes

Central Highlands Mayor Peter Maguire says hundreds of thousands of roosting flying foxes have taken a toll on residents in the small town of Duaringa, south-west of Rockhampton.  The council has begun chopping down trees in backyards to stop bats from returning to the area. Councillor Maguire says locals are fed up with the animals. "The great majority of residents have put up with a lot in the last six odd months and they certainly are relieved that something is happening," he said. "It's causing damage to their yards and is causing damage to their property. "Then it's their own physical and emotional wellbeing that's being impacted." A small section of trees with baby bats is being protected.  Cr Maguire says a range of removal methods could be used. "Tree lopping - and we're waiting for approval to come through to see if that doesn't assist getting them out - we want to be able to use some of these noise methods," he said. "Horns or whatever else they can use to try and ... encourage the bats to move on." However, central Queensland flying fox carer Lyn Laskus says the bats had started to leave Duaringa but were forced to return a few weeks ago because of a bushfire.  "Nearly two months ago the majority of them left town and I would suspect they weren't very far away and the only ones left in town were the mums and bubs," she said. "Two weeks ago, Duaringa experienced fires around that area and it was because of the fires that actually brought the flying foxes back in town." She says in the past some residents have tried to disperse the bats illegally. "If you leave the flying foxes alone, they will leave town but these flying foxes are being hunted from one place to the next," she said. "They're extremely exhausted, apart from that they're disturbing the ecosystems these flying foxes support."

Plastic bags

Help us Save Moreton Bay and ban the bag! Queensland Conservation needs your help to Save Moreton Bay! We're bringing together Brisbane's Bayside community and business leaders to explore banning plastic bags, and what it would mean for their communities. Guest speakers include: Ian Kiernan AO, Founder Clean Up Australia, Dene Rogers, Managing Director, Target Australia Pty Ltd, Gary Black, Executive Director, National Retail Association, John Phillips OAM, Executive Director, KESAB (Keep South Australia Beautiful) Plastic is responsible for killing 1 million sea birds and more than 100,000 sea mammals each year. We're passionate about working on solutions to help communities be plastic free.  Please join the conversation at this special luncheon event.  It takes place on Tuesday 20 November, Moreton Bay Trailer Boat Club, Manly from 12.15 pm. Tickets are $55 ex GST and more information is available at


The overpopulation of koalas in Cape Otway has prompted fears that they will either have to "move on or starve to death". Deakin University wildlife and conservation biologist Dr Desley Whisson told the Geelong Advertiser there would be an "imminent" crash in the area's koala population, which has risen to several thousand after 80 were relocated from French Island in 1980. "Some will be so weak that they can't climb. They're stuck until a dog gets them or something," Dr Whisson said. But Parks Victoria and the Department of Sustainability and Environment moved to allay those concerns yesterday in a statement, saying "koalas are thought to be at low risk of starvation" in Cape Otway. Local businessman Frank Fotinas, who took the Geelong Advertiser on a tour of Cape Otway this week, said locals were concerned about malnutrition and thought culling could be a solution. But culling is strictly prohibited under a federal koala strategy. * Geelong Advertiser

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 *


Australia's kangaroo meat industry could soon expand into Victoria, which is the only state that does not allow the commercial harvest of kangaroos. A commercial harvest is possible. The Victorian government is looking at what regulatory changes would be needed to turn the culling of kangaroos into a commercial harvest. This comes as the kangaroo meat industry hopes to reopen its biggest traditional market for roo meat - Russia. *ABC

New Kangaroo Petition here  ..  Please join my family and I in asking Nike to stop using kangaroo leather to make soccer shoes! Did you know that millions of kangaroos are slaughtered in Australia every year to make soccer shoes (or football shoes for the more enlightened of us)? If that isn’t sad enough many times baby joeys are found in the dead mothers’ pouches after they are killed and then meet the end of their life by being stomped on, beaten with sticks or smashed against vehicles because they serve no use. Being from Portland, Oregon, it’s exciting to know that Adidas, which based its US headquarters here, just recently stated that they will cut back on kangaroo leather use by 98% in the next twelve months! Even cooler Puma recently said it’s exploring even more non-animal material because of environmental problems like chemicals and waste created in leather tanneries! The question is what about Nike and Umbro (the soccer specialty company which Nike owns)? The interesting thing is that Nike already makes an alternative to kangaroo leather called ‘Kanga-Lite.’

Sign here  ..
Gt Barrier Reef

Researchers have made a killer discovery that could protect the Great Barrier Reef's most valuable coral sites from the destructive crown of thorns starfish. A harmless protein mixture, used to grow bacteria in science labs, has been found to destroy the starfish in as little as 24 hours. The breakthrough comes as new starfish outbreaks hit parts of the Great Barrier Reef and reef systems across the Asia Pacific. The next step will be tests to show the protein is safe for other marine life, say researchers from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University. If there are no adverse effects, the discovery will provide a far more efficient tool to control outbreaks at sites critical for conservation and tourism.
 "A crown of thorns outbreak can destroy from 40 to 90 per cent of the corals on a reef and over the past 50 years it has caused more damage than bleaching," researcher Dr Jairo Rivera Posada said in a statement on Monday. "There were massive outbreaks in many countries in the 1960s and 1980s and a new one is well underway on the Great Barrier Reef."

The lightbulb moment came when Dr Posada was on a beach with colleague Professor Morgan Pratchett at Lizard Island in the northern Great Barrier Reef. Dr Posada wondered if the substance he was using in the lab to culture the Vibrio bacteria that naturally inhabit the starfish could give the bugs enough of a boost to damage their host. The researchers rushed back to their tanks and injected five starfish with the media culture solution and were astonished when the starfish rapidly began to fall apart and die as the bacteria attacked them. The solution had caused the bacteria to bloom and attack the starfish. At the same time, the starfish suffered an acute allergic reaction to the unfamiliar animal proteins - derived mainly from cattle - used in the culture. The bacteria also spreads under favourable conditions to other starfish that come near or into contact with an infected individual. Extensive tank testing was needed before sea trials of the compound could be considered.

Currently starfish outbreaks at high-value sites are controlled by divers who inject them with poison. The new discovery offered hope of a much more effective and efficient method, Prof Pratchett said. "The protein solution needs only a single jab into a starfish, enabling a diver to kill as many as 500 crown of thorns in a single dive compared with 40 or so using the poison injection," Dr Posada said. But the discovery is not a silver bullet for the mass outbreaks currently being seen. "In the Philippines they removed as many as 87,000 starfish from a single beach. This gives you an idea of the numbers we have to deal with," Dr Posada said. "Any attempts to control these outbreaks will be futile without also addressing the root cause of outbreaks, including loss of starfish predators as well as increased nutrients that provide food for larval starfishes." * AAP


Climate change may tip the balance against Australia's dwindling populations of urban frogs. Scientists have found that under the dual impacts of climate change and high urban growth, the chances of frogs surviving in the 'burbs fall by more than 90 per cent. They also found development posed a bigger risk to frog survival than climate change. Conservation biologist Joab Wilson from Melbourne's RMIT University said frogs had to keep moving to find wet areas as temperatures rose, which was difficult in fragmented city landscapes. University of Queensland researcher Hugh Possingham said Brisbane and surrounds had the best frog fauna of any city in Australia, with 40 to 50 species. But there was a need for councils and residents to stop clearing and mowing wetland areas, stop spraying pesticides and herbicides and streams to be left as streams and not made into concrete drains. Griffith University frog expert Jean-Marc Hero said the research surprised him because, generally, species found in cities were the most resilient and least affected by climate change.

Frogs found in Brisbane that might be affected but not necessarily wiped out included the green tree frog, graceful tree frog, stony creek frog, striped marsh frog, laughing tree frog and tusked frog. Frogs most affected were those that bred in temporary pools, much of whose habitat was gone. Researchers predicted where the best frog ponds might be by 2070, given current urban development plans. With intermediate urban growth, the probability of sites being occupied by frogs declined by about 30 per cent but with high levels of development the probability of frogs surviving locally fell by more than 90 per cent. "When you consider how much attention is being given to climate change while so little is being given to the impacts of urban expansion on wildlife, it could be we are ignoring the elephant in the room," Mr Wilson said. * Courier Mail