Feb 102015
 

This meeting we'll have two guest speakers who have traveled the state in search of creatures that swim. Both presentations will be an excellent lead up to the Forest Lake Pest Fishing Day on February 21.

Glynn Aland will give us a talk about the feral fish that are invading our waterways. Glynn has worked in a variety of roles with Fisheries Queensland and Seqwater and has conducted fish surveys all around the state.

Glynn Aland at Weary Bay

Gavin Brown will present some turtles from around Australia and take us on a tour of all sorts of turtle habitat. Gavin is a member of Australian Freshwater Turtles (AFT - a non-profit organisation) and has a wealth of experience with keeping turtles and observing them in the wild.

Rare Fraser Island Broad-shelled Turtle, from one of Gavin's expeditions.

The drinks stand and the shop will be open for books and aquarium supplies, and there'll be an auction where members can sell fish, plants, and other aquarium related items. Guests are welcome to come and have a look, you can join up on the night if you're interested.

ANGFA Qld Meetings are held on the second Friday of every other month (even numbers) at the Bar Jai Community Hall, Clayfield, starting 7:30 pm.

Sep 162014
 

Original story at ABC News

Three-quarters of the trash found off Australian beaches is plastic, a new study says, warning that the rubbish is entangling and being swallowed by wildlife.
Litter impacts wildlife through entanglement and ingestion, with 43 per cent of seabirds from study discovered with plastic in their gut.

Litter impacts wildlife through entanglement and ingestion, with 43 per cent of seabirds from study discovered with plastic in their gut.

Researchers surveyed the vast Australian coastline at intervals of about 100 kilometres, compiling the world's largest collection of marine debris data, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) said.

"We found about three-quarters of the rubbish along the coast is plastic," CSIRO scientist Denise Hardesty said.

"Most is from Australian sources, not the high seas, with debris concentrated near cities."

The report, part of a three-year marine debris research and education program developed by Earthwatch Australia with CSIRO and energy group Shell, found there were two main drivers of the pollution - littering and illegal dumping.

Rubbish found included glass and plastic bottles, cans, bags, balloons, pieces of rubber, metal and fibreglass, as well as fishing gear and other items lost or discarded in or near the sea.

The report said this marine debris not only posed a navigation hazard but could smother coral reefs, transport invasive species, harm tourism and kill and injure wildlife.

It warned that litter impacted wildlife through entanglement and ingestion, but also indirectly via the chemicals it introduced into marine ecosystems.

Smaller turtle species in particular ingested the debris, possibly because soft, clear plastic resembled its natural prey jellyfish. Continue reading »

Aug 292014
 

Original story by Renee Cluff, ABC News

A species of turtle native to the tip of Queensland's Cape York, the Jardine River turtle, has been officially sighted for the first time in 25 years.
Jardine River Turtle or painted turtle found in Cape York. Indigenous rangers and scientists have trapped 24 Jardine River turtles, which were last documented in 1989. Photo: Rick Gardiner

Jardine River Turtle or painted turtle found in Cape York. Indigenous rangers and scientists have trapped 24 Jardine River turtles, which were last documented in 1989. Photo: Rick Gardiner

It was thought the turtle may have been extinct, even though Indigenous locals had unofficially reported some sightings.

But Apudthama rangers and scientists from Origin Energy have trapped 24 Jardine River turtles, which were last documented in 1989.

Peta Standley from the Cape York Natural Resource Management Board said the turtles were found this week in two locations.

"They're a range of sizes and a range of sexes as well, so now the next thing is trying to get some tracking devices on them and work out where they're actually going to, because they think they're nesting at the moment," she said.

Indigenous head ranger Warren Strevens, who was involved in the rediscovery of the rare turtles in the region, said the reptiles were also known as painted turtles.

"They're striking to look at," he said.

"They're a slender turtle, on the side of their heads, especially around the cheek area they've got a bright yellow stripe.

"Then as you go under the throat and down the neck, they've got a red stripe there, and all over their chest plate is a crimson red that's almost fluorescent.

"There's no doubt they're a cute animal."

He said the finds were especially significant for local Aboriginal people.

"They're definitely sacred to one of the clan groups here," he said.

"They've got a storyline about that turtle as well, so there's a lot of significance in this find for the local region."

He said the finds were especially significant for local Aboriginal people.

"They're definitely sacred to one of the clan groups here," he said.

"They've got a storyline about that turtle as well, so there's a lot of significance in this find for the local region."

Jun 152014
 

Original story by AAP at SBS News

Scientists are unable to name a newly-discovered spider that walks on water found in WA's Kimberley because there is a shortage of taxonomists.
An unnamed spotted wolf spider. The West Australian Museum says there's not enough taxonomists to describe and document new species discovered. Photo: AAP

An unnamed spotted wolf spider. The West Australian Museum says there's not enough taxonomists to describe and document new species discovered. Photo: AAP

Hundreds of newly discovered animals remain unclassified due to an international shortage of taxonomists.

Head of the West Australian Musuem's department of terrestrial zoology, Mark Harvey, said there's not enough taxonomists to describe and document all of the new species discovered. Continue reading »

Jun 072014
 

Original story by Damien Larkins and Russell Varley, ABC Gold Coast

Racehorse trainers and conservationists are angry at plans to fill in a wetland area near the Gold Coast Turf Club.
The wetland is home to a nesting black swan and dozens of other bird species. Photo: Damien Larkins

The wetland is home to a nesting black swan and dozens of other bird species. Photo: Damien Larkins

Trainers received an email on Thursday afternoon that work was going to start the next morning, as preparations continue for the Gold Coast Show to move to the Turf Club.

The email says the 2.75 hectare swamp area will be used for parking at the show and large race days but otherwise will be free for trainers to walk their horses the rest of the time. Continue reading »

Jun 062014
 

Original story at ABC News

You would be happy with a double eagle on the golf course, but a pair of crocs is enough to make any player choke.
Two crocodiles have been moved to a golf course near Cairns. Photo: Sukree Sukplang/Reuters

Two crocodiles have been moved to a golf course near Cairns. Photo: Sukree Sukplang/Reuters

Two crocodiles, both about a metre long, have taken up residence at a Yorkeys Knob golf club near the far north Queensland city of Cairns.

But Half Moon Bay Golf Course manager Greg Ferry reckons they are more of a novelty than a threat.

"A few of the golfers are mentioning there's a few other hazards around," he said.

"They aren't really much of a danger at the moment, they're a bit of a joke and people are interested in having a look at them."

The pair, who live in separate lakes on the club's grounds, come within about 15 metres of a couple of the holes on the course.

Warning signs are dotted around the place and rangers are monitoring the reptiles to ensure they do not pose a danger to golfers. Continue reading »

Jun 052014
 
The platypus is vulnerable to opera house traps set to catch crayfish.

The platypus is vulnerable to opera house traps set to catch crayfish.

Original story at Wildlife Extra

The Australian Platypus Conservancy (APC) has been carrying out trials on a new design of a type of crayfish trap called an opera house trap. Opera house traps are widely sold in Australia to deploy in rivers to catch crayfish for eating. Unfortunately, these same rivers are populated by air-breathing platypus that cannot escape from the traps once they have entered them and so drown. The new design is fitted with a circular escape hatch in the roof, through which platypus can find their way back out. The research, funded by the Taronga Conservation Society, involved 34 adults and 24 juvenile platypus to establish how easily the animals found the escape holes.

Of the four animals tested during daylight hours, all escaped within one minute of being introduced to a trap. At night, 63 per cent of tested animals managed to find their own way out within one minute and 19 per cent in 1-2 minutes. All exited via the escape hatch in the roof. Given that a platypus can hold its breath for approximately two and a half minutes when active, these findings suggest that a large proportion of wild platypus are likely to escape from a modified trap before they drown. Continue reading »

May 192014
 

Original story by Stephen Garnett, Charles Darwin University and Kerstin Zander, Charles Darwin University at The Conversation

Big Ritchie looks up from his pile of bananas, unperturbed by the flock of tourists taking his photo. Sprawled around him, mother orangutans* and their fluffy orange babies groom affectionately, chase each other, hang upside down, or wander off and vanish into the nearby forest canopy.
new research shows seeing orangutans like Big Ritchie in conservation areas can raise vital support to protect his cousins in the wild. Photo: CC BY-SA

new research shows seeing orangutans like Big Ritchie in conservation areas can raise vital support to protect his cousins in the wild. Photo: CC BY-SA

Fewer than 2,000 orangutans are left living in the wild in the Malaysian state of Sarawak, with nearly all truly wild ones confined to a remote site on the Indonesian border. It’s why thousands of tourists and local Sarawak people come to places like this – the popular Semenggoh Nature Reserve – to see orangutans semi-wild in a reserve or captive in a rehabilitation centre. Continue reading »

May 032014
 

The ConversationOriginal story by Tom Rayner, Charles Darwin University and Richard Kingsford at The Conversation

Wetlands and rivers need water – not least in the case of Australia’s biggest river system, the Murray-Darling Basin, which has been the target of an “environmental watering” plan designed to preserve its water levels and quality.
Water management in the Murray-Darling may be inadvertently helping the common carp at the expense of native fish. Photo: Tom Rayner

Water management in the Murray-Darling may be inadvertently helping the common carp at the expense of native fish. Photo: Tom Rayner

But our research shows that, during the 2010-11 floods, measures taken to manage water levels and preserve local wildlife ended up helping alien species, such as the troublesome common carp.

A helping hand for fish

Environmental watering programs are used worldwide to replenish previously degraded catchments. One of the ways to test how well they are working is to look at what happens to native fish. Our evidence suggests that efforts in the Murray-Darling, although on the right track, might need some refinement to ensure we help the right species.

The 2010-11 episode also highlights the difficulty of performing what amounts to “environmental triage” on degraded river systems such as the Murray-Darling, while still ensuring that everything stays in balance. Continue reading »