Dry County Species

In November 2014 I again travelled to AWC Scotia to help with pitfall surveying,  (a scientific recording of species occurrence/change). Monitoring which species actually still exist in this country is done effectively by Australian Wildlife Conservancy. Here’s a couple of little friends who live in arid western NSW. ningaui holdingThis is a Ningaui, a bit stunned by the morning sun, one of our smallest marsupials.

 

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And this is a velvet gecko.

 

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And here’s where they live, burnt out, no water and searingly hot. Amazingly the plants and animals still thrive.

 

 

Feeling down? Need a happy pill? View this video

Looking at what humans are doing to planet earth can make you feel a bit low, so here’s a happy-pill-video (esp for Finnish readers who are going into winter) which I’m certain will cheer you up. 

Now that’s THINKING, and now you’re cheered up I’ll be cheering myself up by getting out of my comfort zone and going to Scotia sanctuary Nov 3rd to count and measure snakes and other reptilians. It will be crispy dry and hot with a chance of meeting a fierce snake (Oxyuranus microlepidotus), also known as the Western Taipan,  its regarded as the most venomous land snake in the  world. (actually, its also endangered)

http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/threatenedSpeciesApp/profile.aspx?id=20169 Oh what fun.

If I don’t come home in a box I will be installing 3D work from “Departure Lounge” for Sculpture 14,  Toyota Spirit Gallery, show opens 19th November. Here’s the invitation. ToyotaSculpture14Invite

If Ten Million Cats goes quiet, you know I came to grief…ah the hazards of the art world.

 

Feral Cat Device

For some years I have been discussing ideas for a remote ‘feral cat device’ with Dr John Read, University of Adelaide. Cats cause immeasurable damage to wildlife in this country and others.

Do I have to add the sad part?
Infra-red photo of bilby at burrow, cat emerges from  same burrow the following night.

Infrared night photos kindly supplied by Dr John Read,  http://www.ecologicalhorizons.com/

John was granted funding for development of a prototype and now in trial. Results so far look encouraging. The device relies on cat grooming behavior, so no trap, bait or cage is used. The device uses infrared sensors to isolate non-target species from feral and a new much more humane toxic agent is used. Having ingested the required dose, the animals falls into a drowse before passing away. Currently there is no place on mainland Australia where cat-threatened mammals can be re-introduced into the wild from fenced sanctuaries, hence the need for such a device. Here’s John’s document for the detail;

Dying to be clean

“Nature in the Dark”

I attended this conference in Bendigo 4th November 2014. The video is worth watching.

“How are we, as humans, going to adapt to life on Earth? An odd question when we have been so spectacularly successful.As with many evolutionary misfits before us, it’s the scale of our success that is causing the destruction of our habitat.” Freya Mathews  Adjunct Professor of Environmental Philosophy at La Trobe University, where she co-coordinates Environmental Culture Research.

Barrier Fences

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THIS PHOTO HAS NOT BEEN DOCTORED

Australia 2014 is STILL building barrier fences to keep ‘vermin’ i.e. emus out of agricultural areas, directly across the bird’s migration route, the same bird that’s on our Coat of Arms!  Working with the character if the country is the obvious direction agriculture and governments should take, not simply altering a landscape to suit a market need.

“This example from Western
Australia corresponds with what’
is seen by many as a growing trend
for governments in Australia to
defend their land-use decisions by
ignoring, dismissing or contradicting
existing robust research on ecological
impacts of particular activities
(see, e.g. Fitzsimons 2012; Lindenmayer
2013).”

emus

Heres the full story;

https://euanritchie.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/ecological-connectivity-or-barrier-fence-critical-choices-on-the-agricultural-margins-of-western-australia.pdf

Trapped Behind Wire

Rufous Hare-wallaby or Mala Largorchestes hirsutus

Mala, the smallest surviving hare-wallaby, now extinct on mainland Australia but once common in spinifex country.

Mala, the smallest surviving hare-wallaby, now extinct on mainland Australia (except behind wire)  but once common in spinifex country.

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The beautiful coat of Mala

Boodie or burrowing bettong Bettongia lesueur:   now extinct on the mainland (except behind wire) once lived in communal burrows over most of southern Australia. At Lake Mungo (NSW) huge circles of exposed light coloured earth indicate how large these systems once were. Invading rabbits simply moved into the bettong warrens displacing the marsupial owners.

Boodie young being weighed and measured, rudely interrupted from slumber by ecologist

Boodie young being weighed and measured, rudely interrupted from slumber by ecologist!

Ecologist Felicity L'Hotellier at work, Scotia Sanctuary NSW, winter 4am after starting at midnight. These people are dedicated. Understanding the biology and requirements of these animals is the first step in helping them survive in a fragmented and warming future Australia.

Field Ecologist Felicity L’Hotellier at work, Scotia Sanctuary NSW, winter 4am after starting at midnight. These people are dedicated. Understanding the biology and requirements of these animals is the first step in helping them survive in a fragmented and warming future Australia.

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The indignity of having one’s tail measured!

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Adult Burrowing bettong

Bridled Nailtail Wallaby Onychogalea fraenata: photographs do not do this animal justice. Adults present as both beautiful and tender. Joeys are even more beautiful, to my eye they have the proportions of the red kangaroo in miniature, the result is a fine and delicate creature which contrasts with its arid preferred home.

nailtail young Nailtail joey, a bucket of cuteness

By the 1950’s this wallaby along with their cousins the crescent nailtail were considered extinct everywhere but were rediscovered by an alert bushman in 1973. Once common it is now restricted to a tiny area of Qld, and also behind wire.

nailtail

Mum

 

 

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

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