Cats are lovely pets but;

slide 1

And there’s other reasons to discourage cat ownership..

slide 2

Predators are disappearing world-wild, including from our seas. On land this can have unforseen effects. The left diagram below is what we have done, and the right is what the science suggests we should do. The problem is these decisions would effect on-farm income.

slide 3

However agriculture and conservation can work together. Rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus in arid South Australia released 4 threatened study mammals from feral predation. The result was the 4 species’ removal from the IUCN Red list.

slide 4

So next time you see a spider or cockroach in your cupboard remember your own actions and decisions also have consequenses.

slide 5

Go see “Extinction” a play by Hannie Rayson, if you get a chance.

The show is currently showing at Geelong Performing Arts Centre and will tour Canberra and Melbourne in coming months. See details here.

CroppedImage1200500-gpac-main-event-image-extinction2

Redstitch Theatre & GPAC have bravely and successfully launched the extinction theme into the public arena, something which desperately needs to happen if change is to take place in this country.

Director Nadia Tass said in an after show ‘question and answer’ that the large production houses had not shown interest which doesn’t surprise me. Extinction as a theme is certainly not in the public mind so it would not be considered  a commercial proposition, but from my observation if any arts production can do this, this show will. It was beautifully timed and crafted and almost filmic in style using computer generated graphics projected as a backdrop. This kept the audience aware of what was happening in the forest simultaneously with phone screen events or even skyped international callers.

Driving back to Melbourne I thought how easily the play could be made as a movie production for a wider audience.

I’ve been thinking along the lines of the writers and producers of this work for some time so it was great to see artists putting up their hands and taking the necessary risks.

 

Most effective way to save small Australian mammals

The most effective way to save  endangered Australian mammals, birds and biodiversity without spending one conservation dollar.  It might seem weird but the release of Rabbit Hemorrhage Disease Virus reduced cat and fox impacts. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-02-17/rabbit-control-research-rhdv-threatened-mammals-south-australia/7177600#

rabbitIt’s easy to photograph rabbits even if you live in a major Australian city. This one 10km from Melb CBD.

Lead researcher Reece Pedler from Natural Resources SA Arid Lands said the results were compelling.“We found that three threatened mammals, the dusky hopping mouse, the plains mouse and the crest-tailed mulgara, had undergone huge changes in their distribution,” Mr Pedler said…“Some of those species have increased their extent of occurrence by between 250 and 350 per cent, so they have made massive increases in their range.”

And in Rabbit biocontrol and landscape-scale recovery
of threatened desert mammals
Reece D. Pedler,∗ ¶ Robert Brandle,∗ John L. Read,†‡ Richard Southgate,§ Peter Bird,∗∗
and Katherine E. Moseby†‡
“In an era of increasing conservation crisis, costefficiency
in conservation planning and investment is
critical (Carwardine et al. 2012; McDonald et al. 2015).
Well-considered actions that simultaneously abate threats
relevant to multiple species and ecosystems are keys
to maximizing conservation outcomes (Auerbach et al.
2014). Despite this, many celebrated conservation successes
feature intense single-species captive breeding
and reintroduction programs for endangered flagship
mammals. Some expensive examples include recovery
actions for the black-footed ferret (Mustela nigripes) in
North America, which have involved nearly 50 government
agencies in the captive breeding of 6000 individuals
(Jachowski et al. 2011), with 100 wild-released animals
costing US$29,100/individual (Bodenchuk et al.
2000). Similarly, recovery of the golden lion tamarin
(Leontopithecus rosalia) has involved intense captive
breeding and wild-population translocation, requiring
millions of dollars in investment sustained over 4
decades (Kierulff et al. 2012). Although these examples
may represent extreme cases, where extinction
risk is high, they highlight the high costs of 11th hour
intensive conservation intervention compared with preventative
measures implemented at earlier stages.
Within our study area, single-species-focused conservation
actions for small mammals have also gained much
emphasis, but these costly species recovery plans are
seldom funded and are perhaps too narrowly focused
and unrealistic in sparsely populated regions (Southgate
2014). Single-species recovery planning for the plains
mouse prescribes research and small-scale habitat protection
costing AU$895,000 over 5 years (Moseby 2011).
Four-year recovery actions for the crest-tailed mulgara
(published in the same year as RHDV’s introduction)
were estimated at AU$852,000 (Morris et al. 1996). Few
of these identified actions were funded or enacted, and revised
actions have since been identified (Woinarski et al.
2014). In the meantime, both species have recovered significantly
because of action that (somewhat fortuitously)
addressed common threatening processes that simultaneously
benefited other species, ecosystems, and important
agricultural industries on a continent wide scale (Cox
et al. 2013). This multispecies recovery provided by rabbit
biocontrol arguably costs nothing, as the AU$12 million
cost to introduce RHDV has been recouped many
times over by the AU$350 million annual benefit to agriculture
alone (Saunders et al. 2010).
In arid inland Australia, the release of the rabbit
biocontrol agent RHDV has been the single most
important and cost-effective conservation action for
small threatened mammals (and a range of other taxa and
ecosystems) in recent decades. This result highlights the
power of harnessing trophic cascades as a wide-reaching
conservation tool. Although the scale of RHDV’s benefits
was not foreseen at the time of its introduction, these
changes were detected through multiple long-term monitoring
data sets, without which the important applied
conservation lessons may have been missed. Sustained recovery
depends on the continued suppression of rabbits
and by extension of cats and foxes through adaptation
and release of new rabbit biocontrol agents. The
associated benefits to agricultural industries alone
would provide substantial net economic gain from
this relatively cheap yet wide-reaching action. Such
broad-scale conservation management initiatives with
appropriate long-term monitoring should be prioritized
over single-species-focused recovery actions or smallscale
intensive programs.”

 

 

 

 

 

Brush-tailed Phascogale rendered from cardboard is recognizable

Yesterday just for fun, I uploaded a photo of my cardboard ‘Phascogale’ to my Facebook page and it was ID’d from the artwork from a friend. Here’s what the animal looks like, although this is a red-tailed Phascogale from WA. Both of these small carnivores are declining. red-tailed-phascogale

Phascogale S

And here’s my sculptural Phascogale on a cardboard ‘log’. I often leave raw (recycled) cardboard because it makes the connection to the cardboard/paper/packaging industry and our insatiable need to buy new stuff.

This work is part of ‘Departure Lounge” and will be seen at;
The G.R.A.I.N. Store exhibition in Nathalia.  Opening Sunday June 19th, 2016 4pm by John Kean curator and writer and Honorary Associate of the Museum Victoria. Kean has written extensively about the representation of nature in Australian museums. He has also published extensively on Indigenous art and was Art Advisor at Papunya Tula Artists in the late 1970s.

http://www.abc.net.au/classic/content/2015/01/29/4169599.htm

Squirrel Glider ready to fly..

Squirrel Glider FB

This sculpture will be part of the upcoming Nathalia Vic G.R.A.I.N.Store community exhibition. I use used cardboard, as thrown out in huge quantities at the rear of retail premises, notice the ‘log’ the flying marsupial is standing on. The sheer quantity cardboard produced  and destined for packaging ‘products’ is staggering, we are destroying the places gliders live to make paper and cardboard.

This is the last of three posts which describes the process I use, and looks at painting the surface. Go to side menu to see previous posts for construction stage.

Painting begins by filling in darks, these are usually crevices and concave surfaces. Paint the darks into ‘fur’ (tail) and fur folds (front of back leg etc. Be bold and ignore areas which are to be light or white.

glider prog dark paint

White gesso is underpainted on areas which are to be light and mid-tone areas are left bare entirely of paint.

glider prog white paint

glider prog white paint detail

Here’s a detail of gesso underpainting. A process similar to gesso underpainting used by painters on canvas.

Colour is now applied to whites where required, and lighter highlights added to mid-tone areas and dark areas. Glider prog z finished paint small f one

This is a studio shot of the ‘just-finished-painted’ marsupial glider.

Details about this upcoming exhibition will be posted at https://www.facebook.com/The-GRAIN-Store-Nathalia-125682797583711/?fref=nf

The G.R.A.I.N. Store exhibition in Nathalia will be opened Sunday June 19th, 2016 4pm by John Kean curator and writer. He is an Honorary Associate of the Museum Victoria, where he was a producer of exhibitions and other projects for fifteen years. Kean has written extensively about the representation of nature in Australian museums. He has also published extensively on Indigenous art and was Art Advisor at Papunya Tula Artists in the late 1970s.

http://www.abc.net.au/classic/content/2015/01/29/4169599.htm

 

Squirrel Glider from cardboard box continued…

After much time and effort I managed to get most of the fluffy tail cut and assembled..

glider prog 9.5

I use fresh box cutter blades and use cardboard which I has one layer of paper carefully removed by wetting the surface. Then its time to crank up the ipod.

glider prog 11

I have given the tail a trim and blow-wave to settle the ‘fur’. I will come back to this at a more finished stage.

glider prog 12 detail

Details such as ears claws and eyes bring the piece to life. It’s best to use plastic pegs to clamp surfaces together, they don’t stick to PVA glue.

Throughout the process I look at ways to achieve a natural posture for the species, note the change of angle.

I will post more progress photos in the coming weeks.

Petaurus norfolcensis (endangered in Victoria) will become part of an installation to be seen at: The G.R.A.I.N. Store, Nathalia and will be opened Sunday June 19th, 2016 4pm by John Kean https://www.australianbookreview.com.au/about/author/1170-johnkean

http://www.abc.net.au/classic/content/2015/01/29/4169599.htm

Squirrel Glider from a cardboard box.

squirrel glider in hand

A Squirrel Glider Petaurus norfolcensis (endangered in Victoria) held by Deb Fowler of Bohollow Wildlife Rescue, photographed  by me in Kotupna Victoria 2015. This little chap had been injured and was ready for release.

He’s some progress photos of how to make a Squirrel Glider from this…

boxcycle

So here’s my progress so far:

glider prog 1

A basic shape

glider prog 3

Building up a shape

glider prog 4

Adding limbs and looking at posture

glider prog 5

Modifying head angle and increasing tail size

glider prog 6

glider prog 9

Starting work on tail detail (very time consuming)

More about the species and some amazing efforts to minimise road casualties can be seen at: https://lifeontheverge.net/tag/road-ecology/

I will post more progress photos in the coming weeks.

The G.R.A.I.N. Store exhibition in Nathalia will be opened Sunday June 19th, 2016 4pm by John Kean https://www.australianbookreview.com.au/about/author/1170-johnkean

http://www.abc.net.au/classic/content/2015/01/29/4169599.htm

 

EXTINCTION… the heat's on and before you know it, they're gone forever

%d bloggers like this: