Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Wildlife Bytes Australia 17/10/12

Quad Bikes in National Parks

Unfortunately the Maleny Protest planned for last Friday was cancelled at the last minute, we dont know yet why, sorry if any protestors turned up. But you can still make a protest by following the links below to a petition, and write to the relevent Ministers.

Say No to Quad Bikes in Woondum National Park,   http://www.petitiononlineaustralia.com/petition/say-no-to-quad-bikes-in-woondum-national-park/651

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   Tony.Burke.MP@environment.gov.au
Mr Steve Dickson, MP, Minister for National Parks, Recreation Sports and Racing, QLD http://www.stevedicksonmp.com.au/Contact/ContactSteve.aspx
Mr Andrew Powell, MP, Minister for Environment and Natural Heritage, QLD   glass.house@parliament.qld.gov.au


Birth-control hormones could be implanted in Melbourne's possums to curb spiralling numbers of the ''destructive, costly, dirty pests''. A motion was moved at the Liberal state council in Ballarat yesterday that calls on the state government to investigate humane methods to control possums in residential areas. 'Possums are destructive, costly, dirty pests in suburbia,'' the Albert Park and South Melbourne branch said in the motion. ''The numbers seem to be out of control and the listed deterrents appear to have little lasting effect.'' 'Culling has been adopted elsewhere as being the best solution. We suggest that contraception be investigated as another approach for managing these wildlife pests for those concerned with animal welfare issues.'' Animal Active campaign director Rheya Linden said the Liberals had demonised possums and moves to investigate sterilising the native animals were ''ridiculous''. ''The birth control thing is flavour of the month and it will not have any long-term outcome. The process of capturing a possum, implanting hormones and repeating that process for 14 years until the animal dies is incredibly stressful.'' She said possums were territorial creatures and when one group was depleted through birth control, another group simply moved in. In July, the City of Yarra introduced a bylaw that banned people from feeding the marsupials in Carlton North's Curtain Square park. The inner-city council has also announced a trial of a fertility control program for possums in the Carlton North park. It said the program would revive the park's heritage trees and most likely involve hormonal implants. *Age

Fifty-three ringtail possums and three brushtail possums have been mutilated in the past 10 months, as the RSPCA says that cruelty towards possums is rising. In the past month, four severely injured brushtail possums have been found by rescuers in the Knox region, three of them with their paws and tails cut off. Animal rights campaigners are pointing the finger at gardeners going to extreme measures to rid themselves of the native animals. Boronia animal shelter operator Yvonne Cawling also says "people with nothing better to do" are setting brutal traps and slicing off limbs. “Some residents set up fishing wire snares to catch possums, which traps the animal and when they try to escape tears their tails and paws off,” Ms Cawling said. “In many cases limbs are deliberately cut off.” Ms Cawling said her shelter had recovered one possum without paws or a tail in Wantirna, on October 1, two possums similarly mutilated in Boronia on October 6 and a fourth on October 12. “We're finding that people, especially from the outer-eastern suburbs who are precious about their gardens are targeting possums,” Ms Cawling said. She says her rescue shelter has also treated 31 brushtail possums that have been poisoned with ratsack since the beginning of the year.
Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/environment/animals/possum-mutilation-on-rise-rspca-20121017-27pv5.html#ixzz29VOp5jwH


Environment Minister Tony Burke has approved the expansion of the Abbot Point terminal near Bowen, but has imposed 60 strict environmental conditions on the project. One of the conditions is the company offset seagrass destroyed by dredging, but one of the world's leading seagrass experts has cast doubt on a mining company's ability to meet this condition. *ABC


Residents of Hobart's Eastern Shore are alarmed at plans to lay poisonous fox baits in urban areas. Many who have lived in Tranmere for up to 50 years say they have never seen foxes in the suburb. They are worried the fox bait, which is laced with 1080 poison, is a threat to children, pets and wildlife. Joan Yaxley has lived in Tranmere for 50 years. She said she was shocked to receive a letter on Monday advising residents that baiting would occur on properties in Oceana Drive and Tranmere Rd. The baiting is part of the fox eradication program run by the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment. Tranmere residents are the latest in a long list of people to complain about the State Government's fox eradication program. In 14 years the program has netted four fox carcasses, one fox skull, two footprints, one confirmed discovery of fox blood and 61 scats.
read more  ..  http://www.themercury.com.au/article/2012/10/17/363976_tasmania-news.html


The State Government will spend $200,000 a year for four years as part of a plan to help Queensland's struggling koala population. Environment Minister Andrew Powell's announcement did little to entertain the koala brought to the Parliament's Speakers Green for the occasion. It happily munched on leaves as the minister explained how the $800,000 package would work. Organisations directly involved with helping sick, injured and orphaned koalas may be eligible for one of the grants. "The Koala Rescue and Rehabilitation Grants will expand the scope of koala conservation programs beyond habitat protection and enhancement," Mr Powell said. The grants are part of a $26.5 million Investing in our Koalas policy.  Earlier this year, the state launched a three-year, $22.5 million Koala Habitat Program, earlier to target degraded koala habitat for acquisition and rehabilitation. More than 70 applications for the Koala Habitat Program have been received to date and South-east Queensland landholders have another two weeks to lodge expressions of interest with submissions closing on October 31. Applications for the rescue and rehabilitation grants opened on Friday and will close on December 7. *

National Parks

Key environmental groups will today launch a last-minute barrage on councillors, urging them to vote against a quad bike tourism venture planned for a national park on Noosa North Shore. Council is due to make a final decision on the unique but controversial venture at its meeting on Thursday. Greens Senate candidate for Queensland Adam Stone yesterday confirmed he was one of those who would release a statement this morning , urging councillors not to approve the venture in Woondum National Park. While the man behind the plan, Cooran businessman Charles Marais, claims he has wide support, he has encountered strong opposition from neighbours and green groups pushing councillors to vote "no". Their concerns include noise levels and fears the project will set a precedent for similar businesses to operate in national parks. Mr Stone said he would today confirm his claims of noise and dust pollution, the threat of the bikes introducing pests and the risk of fire caused by hot engine parts coming into contact with dry undergrowth. "There are threatened species in the national park. It's a high conservation area," he said. "It doesn't make sense that we would allow an activity like that in such a sensitive area." Noosa Biosphere Ltd, Noosa Parks Association Inc, National Parks Association of Queensland, the Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland and The Wilderness Society are also expected to come out today to condemn the quad bike plan. The move follows the cancellation of a planned picket in Maleny last Friday outside the electorate office of Queensland Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection Andrew Powell. Picket organiser Layla Fowler was unable to be reached for comment yesterday. She has launched an online petition, aiming to collect at least 5000 signatures by today but late yesterday the petition had generated just 140 signatures. Council staff have recommended to councillors that the venture be approved with conditions. *Sunshine Coast Daily


When a large male kangaroo savagely attacked Robert Franklin in his own backyard in Torbanlea, near Hervey Bay, he thought for sure he would be killed. The six-foot tall beast (pictured below) clawed at Mr Franklin's face, chest and legs, before knocking him flat on his back. But even that was not enough to stop the rogue marsupial, which continued to gouge at the Torbanlea man's flesh as he lay helpless on the ground. "It clawed me and I backed off, then it clawed me again," he said.  Mr Franklin, who is aged in his 70s, managed to escape only after his wife, Rosena, distracted the roo and it pursued her instead. She had heard her husband's cries for help and went to assist him, armed with a mop. "I came out and here he is screaming 'Help, help!'" Mrs Franklin said.  "The roo was about to jump on him. "I rushed down with the mop to try and distract him. "If I hadn't been there, he would have been killed.''  Read more  ..  http://www.themorningbulletin.com.au/news/kangaroo-savagely-attacks-torbanlea-man-his-verand/1581634/

Animal Justice Party

The AJP will be standing candidates at the next Federal Election, likely to be held around October 2013. (info@animaljusticeparty.org It is time Australian citizens had the opportunity to vote for significant improvement in the lives of all animals. For too long rationalist political parties in our parliaments have ignored the animal cruelty that has become an everyday occurrence right across this country. In several cases, politicians have been instrumental in overseeing animal cruelty directly. It is time these political parties recognised that for many of us, this silent support for animal cruelty is not acceptable.  Together we can make it clear to all political parties at the ballot box that animal cruelty is out of step with community values, and to support or ignore it will lose them votes. At this stage we will definitely stand Senate candidates in several states, and we may stand candidates in several House of Representative seats where we feel we can have an impact.  The AJP intends to run two Senate candidates in each contested state so that we are placed ‘above the line’ on the Senate voting ticket. We are now asking all financial members who have an interest in nominating as a candidate for the Federal Election to get in contact with us.  You can do this initially through the AJP info line (info@animaljusticeparty.org) by sending your resume, a short statement (Maximum 500 words) outlining why you believe you would make an ideal AJP candidate. The names and contact details of two referees may contact you regarding your suitability- enclose a head and shoulders colour photograph of yourself. Please make sure you are familiar with the AJP Charter before compiling your application. If you would like to throw your hat in the ring but feel that the time commitment would be too great, please consider nominating as the number two candidate only, as the lead (number one) candidate will be the primary spokesperson during the election campaign. If you decide to nominate, please indicate whether you wish to be considered for either spot on the ticket, or just the second spot. The 2013 Federal election will mark a watershed political moment in the fight for animal justice in Australia. Be a part of this historical moment and seriously consider putting your name forward.   Nominations will be accepted until 31 October 2012  * Animal Justice Party

Kangaroo Lasagne?

A south-west Queensland businessman says he is considering converting a multi-million-dollar game meat abattoir into a small goods factory to produce kangaroo meat products. The facility at Charleville, south-east of Longreach, cost $11 million when it was built in 2005. However, it has been sitting idle for the past three years due to problems in the kangaroo export market. Businessman John Burey says he is looking at options to convert the plant because he would like to produce a range of pre-packaged foods using kangaroo meat. "I would like to stay in the line of kangaroos and wild boars because that is what we have a large number of in Charleville and that's the reason why we built the abattoir here," he said. "Perhaps healthy, lean lasagnes, those sorts of pre-packaged type items that are not quite as confronting for people who are trying to look at something new. "We'd purchase the meat from another processor and put it into a shelf-ready type product, maybe small goods or sausages. "At this stage I would suggest we are looking at starting something on a small scale within the next six to 12 months." He says he is also considering into making a line of traditional Russian products. *ABC

Bob Irwin Foundation

Our mate Bob Irwin has his foundation site up and running ,check it out .....  http://www.bobirwinwildlife.com/

Flying Foxes

Gas guns, air-horns, spotlights and foggers have been used for the past two mornings in an attempt to move a flying fox colony wreaking havoc in Duaringa.  Residents have been living the nightmare since March, but in the past few weeks the colony has grown to unprecedented numbers. Member for Gregory Vaughan Johnson said it was the worst bat colony he had seen in Queensland, and described it as "one of the most filthy environments" he had witnessed. "I feel for those people, it's absolutely disgusting the conditions they are being forced to live in… people should come before the bats," Mr Johnson said. Resident James Harris lost two 100-year-old mango trees, which were cut to stumps on Sunday during the dispersal.  He described the "phenomenal" sight when the colony returned on Monday morning to find their usual trees severely cut back. Well over 100,000 bats circled the town for hours before eventually coming to rest on other trees in the town. "When they came back all you could see was shadows on the ground and when you looked at the sun coming up all the droppings coming from the sky looked like rain," Mr Harris said. Yesterday Mayor Peter Maguire said the added use of gas guns, air-horns, spotlights and foggers would hopefully garner better results in coming days.  "We will continue to refine how we use these instruments and hopefully we can encourage them out of town soon," Cr Maguire said. The Department of Environment and Heritage Protection granted permission to start the dispersal activities late last week. An on-site EHP officer will make sure a tree housing a handful of dependent young is not disturbed. The tree is on Gordon Webley's Margaret St property, which the owner was driven from a number of weeks ago. Dispersal activities will continue throughout the week. *CQ news


Coorong fishermen want seals commercially hunted to protect their livelihoods.  The Goolwa Pipi Harvesters Association has called for scientists to investigate the potential of commercial culling of New Zealand fur seals in South Australian waters, which would allow them to be hunted for their skins, oil and meat. Fur seal numbers have exploded in the area, with an estimated 200 seals now in an established colony in the Coorong, with reports some have even moved into the lakes system. The fishermen, in a letter asking the South Australian Research and Development Institute to investigate the impact fur seals have on SA fisheries, say a seal cull is inevitable. "If these populations continue to increase at the levels they have been, the impact on the broader ecosystem will be such that something will need to be done," Goolwa Pipi Harvest Association chair Roger Edwards said. "We harvest other native species like kangaroos. "If the species is not under threat and it is having an impact and there is a viable market, then why should it not be harvested?
Read more  ..  http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/fishermen-want-cull-of-new-zealand-fur-seals-around-the-coorong-lakes-area/story-e6frea83-1226497314088

Ed Comment; South Australian Environment Minister Paul Caica has said on ABC the seals are a native and protected species, so culling is not an option.


A State and federal investigation is under way into suspected illegal land clearing around Moree in NSW, where more than 1000 hectares of koala-inhabited bushland has been bulldozed.
 Several property owners around Croppa Creek have apparently ignored warnings to stop cutting down trees on their land without permits, including in some woodland areas which have big numbers of koalas. The NSW Office of Environment said it intended to make a decision on what to do ''before Christmas'' but the land clearing should be stopped immediately, according to people who have watched the trees being pared back. ''It's quite horrific - for those that know the area, you look out across what was once grazing country and it's now just bare ground,'' said Phil Spark, a farmer and ecological consultant who has been documenting the land clearing.
Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/environment/animals/koala-habitats-in-danger-as-bushland-areas-are-bulldozed-20121011-27fjw.html#ixzz291IRy3Qn

Endangered Species

Governments need to spend $US80 billion a year to halt extinctions of endangered animals and plants, many times current levels and only half the amount paid to bankers in bonuses last year, a study showed. The extra spending is vital to protect natural services such as insect pollination of crops or water purification by wetlands, the report in Friday's edition of Science said. "These are investments in natural capital. They are not bills. They are dwarfed by the benefits we get back from nature," Stuart Butchart of BirdLife International in England, one of the authors of the study, told Reuters. The report, trying to put a price tag on U.N. goals for 2020 agreed by governments in 2010 for preserving everything from insects to whales, estimated that it would cost $US76.1 billion to expand and manage protected areas for endangered species. And it would cost an extra $US3.41 billion to $US4.76 billion a year to achieve a goal of avoiding extinctions and improving the conservation level of all known threatened species, ranging from the giant panda or the tiger to lesser known frogs or plants.
Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/environment/conservation/conservation-efforts-need-to-rise-10fold-to-succeed-report-finds-20121012-27ggj.html#ixzz291InOMTg


The services of a national parks ranger from outside the Great Sandy region have been enlisted to join the search for a dingo that attacked three children two weeks ago on Fraser Island. The dingo targeted two children, aged two and six, in one incident at the Cathedral Beach campground. The dingo also tried to bite a 16-year-old girl but she was able to fend the animal off with a stick. The Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service deployed more than 20 rangers to track the dingo down but have so far been unsuccessful. Ross Belcher, Great Sandy Strait regional manager, said the dingo would be humanely destroyed if it was captured. "The dingo has so far evaded capture and this is possibly because the animal recognises and moves away from local rangers and vehicles used on the island. "The ranger being brought in has worked with Fraser Island dingoes, however he will not be recognised by the dingo in question."  *Fraser Coast Chronicle

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 *

Letter from a Wildlife Bytes Reader

Pat, One of the ways I cope with all the bad news coming from wildlife issues in these ‘extinction times’ is to not look at images of their suffering (don’t watch tv any more so that makes it easier) – it depresses me far too much.  I reason that I’m already 100% committed to helping animals wherever I can, so I don’t NEED to see their pain to get a caring response, as many people seem to need – it’s for the ones who don’t care to be exposed to these awful things to try and wake up some kind of empathy in them.

But this one caught me unawares recently when flicking through The Australian … seeing the rhino laying there with its snout hacked off, I broke down in tears...I still cry every time I look at it - that image is now fused into my memory. But rather than getting depressed, I surprised myself by thinking up another way to try and end this obscenity.   I’ve drawn a line …  I’ve tipped over into complete and utter intolerance of people who commit these sickening crimes, all the way down the chain to the wealthy Asian buyers of these animal parts. So I’m taking unusual action targeting these people, which you don’t need to know about!

Why is this continuing to be so blandly and matter-of-factly reported? This is the absolute polarity of human depravity! Humanity just cannot sink any lower than causing such pain and suffering to critically endangered animals.  I’d like to RUB EVERYONE’S NOSE in this image, especially politicians in all countries who have the power and authority to ACT on this poaching, but obviously haven’t as it continues unabated everywhere. I want everyone not to be able to forget this image! I want them to know that THIS is what happens when you don’t care. The more people who put their energy into caring for wildlife, the less burden it will be on the few of us who have devoted their lives to trying to help them. If images like this don’t make people start caring, NOTHING will … in my view such people are devolved humans and beneath contempt.  Thanks for being there, Pat for me to pour my misery out to! Thanks for your extraordinary lifetime of work and devotion to wildlife on all our behalf … I couldn’t love and respect you more…..Signed


Entomologists on an expedition to western Queensland have just added to the Queensland Museum collection a rare fly specimen that has one of the animal world's oddest life cycles. Its larvae burrow into the belly of big spiders such as tarantulas, where they grow until ready to spread their wings. They then kill the spider on the way out. The small-headed fly, or Acrocerid, although found in backyards, is seen by few entomologists in the wild. It lays up to 4000 eggs on vertical surfaces such as tree trunks - just the places large spiders might be found. Christine Lambkin, the museum's biodiversity curator, said that after eggs were laid, things became seriously weird. The maggot-like larva had legs which helped it walk around and find a spider. "It doesn't just crawl either. It can actually jump," Dr Lambkin said. "At that stage it's probably less than 1mm long. It has to find a host within days of hatching or will desiccate." Dr Lambkin, who with entomologist Susan Wright and Noel Starick found the fly near Carnarvon Gorge National Park, said the larvae burrowed into the spider's body, often between the thorax and abdomen or between its leg segments, and attached to its book lung, a type of respiration organ.

"It's a cunning beast," Dr Lambkin said. "From there it can breathe outside air. It can remain inside the spider for four months to several years. "When they moult to the second instar (development stage), they start to feed on the spider. With some spiders, the second instar can last several years.  Because larvae grow to 1cm, they could be supported only by large hosts such as tarantulas, trapdoors or wolf spiders. The larvae did not affect the spider's digestive ability or movement. When the spider was fully mature, the parasite completed its life cycle within days or weeks by consuming the spider. It emerged from the abdomen, at which point it killed the spider. Dr Lambkin said the parasitic fly showed how intricate the web of life was and how biodiversity worked, with all organisms linked together. Most people thought of predators as being at the top of the web of life, but this showed a tiny organism could be a predator. And one more strange thing about the small-headed fly: it has such stubby wings scientists were puzzled as to how it could fly - until it was filmed. It flies with its body vertical rather than horizontal and hauls itself along almost like a helicopter. Of six specimens at the Queensland Museum, four are from Brisbane. Scientists have described about 7800 Australian fly species - perhaps a quarter of what is out there. *Courier Mail


A lucky teenager has escaped with minimal injuries after being bitten by a saltwater crocodile in the East Kimberley region of Western Australia. The boy, 14, was wading waist-deep in water at Ivanhoe Crossing in the Ord River near Kununurra yesterday when the animal bit into his leg. The boy's mother took him to hospital for treatment and reported the incident to the Department of Environment and Conservation. District wildlife officer Len Terry says crocodiles are common in that area but it is rare to get bitten by a saltwater croc. "In the two years I've been in the job here, this is the first one that I've actually had a report of a person being bitten," he said.  "We do occasionally get anecdotal ones but the ones I know of have mainly been freshwater crocodiles biting people." *ABC

It appears the crafty Mary River crocodile, which has for months avoided rangers' trapping attempts, may have found a new companion, possibly a lover. Rumours two of the reptiles had been sunning themselves on the river's banks surfaced last month and they have continued to grow louder and louder with commercial fishing operators now adamant the famous croc is far from alone. Kevin Greenhalgh, the fisherman responsible for the original sighting in May, said he was similarly certain about the presence of a new resident reptile in the Fraser Coast. "One is dark in colour and about 12-14ft (3.6-4.2m) long, the big one," Mr Greenhalgh told the Chronicle. "And the other one is about 9-10ft (2.7-3m) long and he's a khaki colour, a bit of a lighter colour, so there is definitely two there." Mr Greenhalgh said the smaller reptile had made its home slightly downstream from the other one and closer to the Beaver Rock boat ramp. It's not known if the pair's close proximity is a coincidence. *FC Chronicle


Federal bureaucrats were on the verge of launching a major study into the idea live sheep ships were attracting great white sharks to the WA coast. But the investigation was quickly shut down after more senior officials warned the theory was "simplistic". Freedom of Information documents obtained by _The West Australian _ show at least one public servant at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry thought the idea that the rise in shark attacks could be linked to the presence of sheep ships was "intriguing" and suggested specialists at the CSIRO pursue the claim. Another questioned whether the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences should be brought in to crunch data on the probabilities of the presence of sheep ships playing a role in shark attacks. "This is an intriguing theory," one unnamed bureaucrat said in an email to his superiors in July. "Great whites 'traditionally' follow whale pods and hang around seal colonies.

"One question is whether liveexport ships discharge carcasses or offal in the vicinity of ports . . . I'm not sure what distance this is off Western Australia but it's likely to be at least 100km from the coast. "Nevertheless, it could be argued that great whites might continue to follow ships into port." The department began looking at the issue after the Humane Society International put out a press release on July 17 attempting to correlate the rise in WA shark attacks with the presence of live sheep ships off the coast. The HSI release listed all major shark attack and shark sightings in WA dating back to 2005, then attempted to plot the position of the nearest sheep ship at the time. But several department officials were scathing of the methodology behind the HSI study.

"Another point to note is that the live-export ships are actually leaving Australia, so a non-scientist might argue they are actually doing a service in attracting sharks away from the coast!" one officer in the fisheries branch of the department wrote. "Using the list they (HSI) provided all of the mortalities on the vessels that we have looked at occurred after the incident/attack." Senior bureaucrats ruled out a wide study - apparently after consulting media advisers in Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig's office. *Age

Great white sharks should not be culled, according to a poll by thewest.com.au. In one of the biggest responses to a west.com.au poll, 83 per cent (more than 6600 people) who participated in the poll did not support tracking and culling sharks. Only 12 per cent (819 people) believed that great whites should be culled. Critics believed the money, time and effort would be better spent on increased helicopter patrols, more research and deterrents such as shark repellents, the creation of beach pools and education campaigns. Even West Coast star Nic Naitanui has entered the debate, tweeting this week: "Leave our sharks alone. The ocean's their home." He wants ocean pools built. The poll came as it emerged Department of Fisheries experts have all but ruled out a theory that one rogue shark has been hunting swimmers and surfers along the WA coast. The idea of a rogue shark was discussed at a shark forum organised by Channel 7's Today Tonight. Senior shark scientist Rory McAuley said that, based on best estimation of the sizes of sharks involved in some of the most recent attacks, the same shark "almost certainly could not have been responsible".

Dr McAuley said individual sharks could not be identified from bite marks in the way humans could be identified from fingerprints. "Sharks have multiple rows of teeth that are replaced by continual growth and wear," he said. "Thus, sharks' teeth continually change their relative positions to one another and bite marks are not static, they literally change from one day to another." Dr McAuley said it was even difficult to estimate a species or size of shark responsible for an attack depending on what evidence could be recovered. He said bite marks varied from single tooth punctures and single or multiple lacerations to partial or full bite arcs. "Because obtaining a full representation of a shark bite is not always possible, even estimating the species or size of culprit sharks is far from guaranteed," he said. And, unlike a database for human fingerprints, Fisheries was not aware of a database for sharks. *The West

Ed Comment; Sharks are not stupid animals. They follow boats for thousands of miles, especially tourist ships that regularly dump rubbish over the side. In Shoalwater Bay every year when the fledgling pelicans try to fly from their nests on Pelican Rock, the tiger sharks gather at that time to eat the young birds that fall into the water. We see no reason why the sharks would not follow the live sheep ships, to feed on sheep casualties that are thrown over the side. They would recognise the sound of each ship and follow them in and out of port. Of course, the Government wouldn't want known any connection between the ships and the sharks that might jeopedise the live sheep export Industry.  Just another coverup.


The large kangaroo that attacked Torbanlea man Robert Franklin will be humanely destroyed. (Shot) Department of Environment and Heritage Protection acting director of wildlife management Mike Devery said a senior wildlife officer visited the Melinda Rd property to speak firsthand with Mr Franklin and assess the situation. He said the roo was expected to be euthanised this week.  "The property owner has this morning lodged an application with the department for a damage mitigation permit (DMP) to euthanise the animal by shooting and his application is being processed as a matter of urgency. "It's not expected there will be any concerns about issuing this permit, however the property owner is aware he also needs approval from police to discharge a firearm at the location, once the DMP has been issued. "The large male eastern grey kangaroo responsible for the attack has distinctive markings and was observed by the Department's wildlife officer. For safety reasons it was not approached."

Mr Devery said the incident highlighted that native animals had natural instinct and might behave unpredictably. "Kangaroos in the wild are normally wary and will keep their distance from humans, however occasionally an animal may behave in an aggressive manner such as this, usually during breeding season.  "As residential areas in many parts of Queensland increasingly encroach into wildlife habitat, native animals such as kangaroos may lose their natural wariness to humans. "Anyone living or visiting rural residential areas should be aware that they are likely to share the same environment with native animals and people should educate themselves about how to reduce risks from potential negative interaction.

Torbanlea residents have thrown support behind the idea to cull the kangaroos that have taken up residence in their backyards following the weekend attack on Mr Franklin. Mr Franklin received multiple injuries when he was set upon by the aggressive six-foot male roo just near his back door. Neighbours said they were concerned for the safety of the children who lived in the area. "You get dingoes that attack children on Fraser Island and they are destroyed straight away, but this is going to take some time," next-door neighbour Fred McDonald said.
"What happens if they attack someone else, a kid or something?  "Personally, I think they should be put down."  Likewise, Mr Franklin's wife Rosena, who fended off her husband's attack by charging at the roo with a mop, said the animals shouldn't be living in such close proximity to humans. She believes they should be removed from built-up areas.  Wildlife attacks should be reported to the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection on 137 468.

Ed Comment; Interestingly, all 15 comments in the news, as we write this, were opposed to shooting the kangaroo.

Australia’s commercial kangaroo industry is the world’s largest consumptive mammalian wildlife industry. Calculated on a ten-year period, an average of three million adult kangaroos are killed each year in the rangelands for pet meat, meat for human consumption and hides. But pressures on the industry may well see its collapse. For example, despite years of negotiations, Russia is still refusing to lift its ban on Australia’s kangaroo meat. Russia once accounted for 70% of exports from the commercial kangaroo industry. But in August 2009, the country banned imports of kangaroo meat from Australia due to hygiene concerns, citing high levels of E. coli and salmonella. Despite the Australian Government investing at least $400,000 to address these issues, Russia remains unconvinced about food safety. The ban may be here to stay. Another lucrative kangaroo product is leather, used for soccer shoes and other high value products. Adidas, a leading supplier of sport shoes, has also banned kangaroo leather due to concerns for the welfare of dependent young kangaroos killed or abandoned as a result of the commercial kill.

These bans do not bode well. A representative from the Kangaroo Industry Association of Australia was recently reported saying: “I think we are starting to have to seriously consider the end of the kangaroo industry nationally.” But how did we end up here? And where can we go? European and colonial contact with kangaroos In 1770, Captain James Cook described the kangaroo as being like a mouse in colour, a greyhound in size and shape but a hare or deer in locomotion. Europeans killed kangaroos initially as a food source for the colonies and then later for recreation. However, in the 1800s pastoralists increasingly saw kangaroos and other marsupials as “pests” that needed to be killed. By the 1880s, all of the states of eastern Australia had introduced legislation for the destruction of kangaroos and wallabies. For example, NSW’s Pasture and Stock Protection Act 1880 declared kangaroos and wallabies to be vermin and bounties were offered for their heads. As a result, a massive number of these animals were killed.

From 1883 to 1920, NSW killed around 3 million bettongs and potoroos (Potoroids). Three of these species are now extinct (possibly due in part to the introduction of the red fox). Although all macropods are now protected species, the long shadow of these efforts at extermination are still felt today. Concern for kangaroos...Scientific study of kangaroos developed during the 20th century, resulting in an increased interest in their conservation. In 1969, CSIRO researcher John Calaby argued that the red kangaroo had become endangered due to “uncontrolled meat hunting and drought”. In 1974, the United States Government banned the import of kangaroo products.
In response, the Commonwealth Government banned the export of kangaroo products and took some power over the industry from the state governments. The Commonwealth’s ban was later lifted and a regulatory system with quotas was put in place. This still operates today.

Pest status

From its earliest beginnings, the kangaroo industry has relied upon popular perceptions of kangaroos as “pests”, particularly in rural communities. Even today it is frequently argued that kangaroo populations must be reduced. Common reasons cited are that they compete with livestock for resources in the rangelands and that their numbers have increased because of the installation of artificial waterholes. However, the programs of management have not correlated with increased pastoral productivity, and long-term observations in north-western NSW indicate that kangaroos and livestock only compete when pasture is drought-affected. Kangaroos and livestock have different foraging styles that generally lead to the two groups being ecologically separate. The red kangaroo, which is the most abundant rangeland species, does not show water-focused grazing as livestock do.

The latest economic assessment found that kangaroos cost pastoralists around $44 million a year. The cost to graziers was estimated at $15.5 million. The cost to crop farmers was estimated to be $11.9 million and fencing damage was estimated at $16.7 million. This assessment did not take account of any of the benefits of having kangaroos in the landscape. Indeed, kangaroos have 16 million years of evolutionary history in the Australian landscape and may contribute to its well being. Where to from here?  If the commercial kangaroo industry collapsed tomorrow, it appears likely that some landowners may take matters into their own hands and shoot kangaroos non-commercially. Such an occurrence may present a risk to the conservation of kangaroos and to their welfare. Research by the RSPCA found that there is a far higher degree of cruelty in non-commercial killing than in commercial killing. Issues arise around the decreased accuracy of shooting by farm personnel.

It is time for the federal and state governments to reassess kangaroo management. The industry has been based upon erroneous underpinnings, portraying kangaroos as “pests” without any clear justification. Landowners may need options in the cases where kangaroos are reducing the productivity of their properties. But shooting kangaroos does not need to be the first response. One option being trialled in other countries are insurance policies whereby pastoralists are able to insure against damage caused by a particular wild species and receive payments when damage occurs. Another approach is for landholders to benefit from wildlife via ecotourism. Perhaps it is time for Australia to consider such approaches and take pride in our kangaroos. * The Conversationalist