Still learning how to catch a cat

The  number of feral cats and foxes stalking Australia  is unknown, but scientists tell us they are decimating what is left of our unique small mammals. Cats survive on prey fluids alone, so they live where there is no water, and that’s most of Australia. This video shows just how difficult cats are to locate and the damage they cause. National Parks trials cat traps in cresent nailtail wallaby habitat Queensland

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Sounds of the Forest Disappearing

Leadbeater’s Possum numbers are estimated to have peaked in the mid-1980s, when approximately 7500 were known in the wild. From then, it’s numbers have declined. Logging has impacted on its habitat and range. Devastatingly, the Black Saturday bushfires of 2009 burned around 45% of its remaining habitat. At Lake Mountain a population of 300 possums was reduced to just two family groups (5 individuals).  Late in 2011, 6-7 individuals were being monitored and supplementary fed on the plateau. There is now only an estimated 1500 Leadbeater’s Possums remaining in the wild and it may soon be admitted to the critically endangered list.

Leadbeater's possum.

Leadbeaters possum (Gymnobelideus leadbeateri) adult Emblem of Victoria

The Denis Naphine government handed over all forest east of the Hume Hwy in Victoria to commercial paper  harvesters just days before the election…

http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/victoria-state-election-2014/vicforests-given-control-of-commercial-logging-before-state-election-campaign-20141124-11sr5m.html

Videos of what is happening:

http://leadbeaters.org.au/video-and-photo-gallery/logging-media/

David Attenborough and Jane Goodall have called for support for mountain ash forest protection…..

http://http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2014/nov/11/-sp-david-attenborough-jane-goodall-join-fight-create-national-park-victoria

This is “Sounds of the forest” with Dr David Lindenmayer, ANU if you need further persuasion.

 

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.

 

velvet gecko3

And this is a velvet gecko.

 

DSCF8958

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

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

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