Category Archives: Uncategorized

A safe haven for Night Parrots – thought extinct but given a second chance!

The Night Parrot (Pezoporus occidentalis) is one of the most elusive and mysterious birds in the world. It’s a nocturnal and mostly ground-dwelling parrot, endemic to Australia, but for around 100 years it was presumed extinct.


Incredibly, we now have a second chance to save it!

First recorded in 1845, the last living specimen was collected in Western Australia in 1912. It then disappeared, with no confirmed records of the bird between 1912 and 1979.

In 1989 Australian Geographic’s founder, Dick Smith, even joined in on the hunt, offering a reward of $25,000 for the discovery of a night parrot, dead or alive.

It was assumed to be extinct until July 2013 when ornithologist John Young announced that a decade of scouring the spinifex clumps, gibber plains, caves, gullies and salt lakes of the outback had paid off!  The location was shrouded in secrecy to prevent birders flocking to it. The find was so surprising it made the front page of The Australian.

Bush Heritage announced a fundraising campaign to help them secure donations needed to buy a 56,000ha block of pastoral land surrounding the population of night parrots, estimated at 10–30 individuals.

Now, a secretive 56,000-hectare conservation reserve has been established in Queensland in an effort to protect a tiny population of endangered night parrots.  South Australian Museum collection manager Dr Philippa Horton called the find: “One of the holy grails, one of the world’s rarest species probably”.

One of only five ground-dwelling parrots, the night parrot was described in 1861. The Night Parrot is a medium-sized parrot measuring 22 to 25 cm in length, with a wingspan of 44 to 46 cm. It is a medium-sized green parrot with a dumpy body and short tail. Its plumage is generally green, with yellow-and-black streaks, spots and barring. In flight it shows a pale-yellow wing bar.

Interest in the bird is so high that poachers are also a concern.  A live bird or eggs could be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars on the black market.

Research scientist Steve Murphy (The Australian, August 29, 15)  believes the parrots have hung on at this site,  an arid hillside at a secret location in southwest Queensland, because of the terrain, habitat and paucity of introduced predators. His research has established that the birds favour large, old-growth clumps of spinifex. Each bird has its own roost, buried deep within a spinifex clump. The birds leave the roosts soon after sunset, travelling up to 7km during the night to feed.  Most of the parrots are within a 10km radius of John Young’s discovery.

Murphy believes the presence of dingos in the area is an important factor in controlling cat numbers. As part of a management strategy being implemented, the owners of the one million hectare property where the parrots occur have agreed not to cull dingoes.

Bush Heritage negotiating to purchase a 56,000 ha section of a pastoral property in western Queensland where the bird was found. The population size is estimated at between 30 and 100 individuals. It’s not a large number, but enough to be excited about.

Donate here to help save the Night Parrot.

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A tribute to Elsie Quinn

ELSIE QUINN – a poem of tribute

I met a lady named Elsie Quinn Her love for animals knew no bounds

At ninety years old she fought for them still She couldn’t live without them around.

There was no special preference As she did her own thing. Kangaroos, pigs and chickens

Were taken under her wing

If it could walk, fly or swim Or pulled a milk cart. All living creatures Were dear to her heart.

Her generosity knew no bounds The animals always came first

For her faith in humans was already lost And she always thought the worst.

She always struggled for animal rights This was the reason she lived.

Protesting or manning a local stall Were other ways she would give.

And she was famous for her home-made jams Her baskets would fetch a huge price.

Just like the lady who made them. They were sweet and ever so nice.

Now Elsie has gone where all good people go But her legacy lingers still

Through all of the animal welfare groups That were named as a part of her will!

Bill Charlton c 2015

Elsie was born on 5th June 1917 died 28th May 2011 Originally from New Zealand and then lived at 12 Adderstone Neutral Bay on the water.
Elsie Quinn had no children and devoted her life to the care and protection of animals everywhere. After the death of her husband John Quinn she ensured that a substantial amount of the monies to be left in her will were to go to a selection of her favourite animal welfare organisations.
She was a beautiful kind-hearted lady with a niece, family, many friends. Elsie always helped out on the
various stalls in her local area raising money for animals and she was famous for her home-made jams
which were often raffled as prizes at the various animal functions.  This was a prowess of which she was enormously proud.
She is so sadly missed as an aunt, a friend and as an stalwart in the animal welfare world who had no peer.
94 year old Elsie Quinn passed away after devoting many, many years of voluntary help to many organisations, including AWPC, that helped animals and we continue to remember her.

AWPC President Maryland Wilson says:

One of the dearest people on earth, Elsie was beloved by all.

She cared deeply about animals and worked tirelessly help them.

RIP dear Elsie… you will never be forgotten.


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Anatomy of an Overseas Campaign

When we look at the possible modern reasons as to why kangaroos are still maligned as ‘pests’, even in drought when their numbers crash, it becomes obvious when you discover the economic benefit big business and government have for perpetuating the misinformation.

Read on, in this excerpt from a forthcoming book by Maria Taylor on Australia’s deadly relationship with its wildlife since colonial times, with a focus on the most persecuted species in modern times, the large kangaroos.
*Copyrighted material, links in red, pic by C. Lynn

Critical overseas views on Australia’s treatment of its wildlife (and that includes the well-loved koala) continues to shine a strong spotlight that hardly penetrates domestically. Australia is not alone in believing its cultural myths and values are civilised while other cultures are barbaric (whale hunts being exhibit A). But overseas critics looking at Australia see an economic narrative steeped in colonial myth and a casual attitude to native animal suffering. VIVA!, the British vegan and animal welfare organisation, across two decades has successfully created a consumer campaign to stop the sale of kangaroo meat in that country’s supermarkets. They have been able to convince celebrities like footballer David Beckham to live without kangaroo leather. Here’s their story as told to me. ‘Killing for Kicks’ Film- Warning Contains Disturbing Footage

“In 1994, shortly after the launch of Viva!, our attention was drawn to a new ‘product’ range in Tesco’s meat chillers, simply labelled ‘kangaroo steaks’. We discovered that this so-called delicacy was the product of the largest slaughter of land based wildlife in history – hunted at night in the vast outback, with powerful four-track vehicles and mesmerising search lights, the startled animals are shot, supposedly in the head.
We obtained video footage of a kangaroo shooter in action, exposing a cruel and barbaric blood bath. The footage showed animals being shot in the throat, their legs slashed open, a hook inserted and they were hauled on to the back of the vehicle, still gasping in agony. Large, still-conscious males were dragged up by their testicles.
“When females were shot, the first action of the killer was to search their pouches for babies. Having found one, he threw it to the ground and stamped on it, grinding his heel on the ‘joey’s’ head. He walked away, leaving it writhing. Obviously, there is no justification for this wildlife massacre and our research revealed the excuses offered by the Australian government were lies.

“Determined to stop this cruelty we targeted Tesco – persistently campaigning for two years to show the truth of the matter to consumers. We printed specific materials for their customers, organising hundreds of local groups outside their stores to distribute it, and supplied information to the media. The culmination was a double-page spread in the News of the World on kangaroo killing; Tesco dropped the trade four days later. That was 26 September 1997. As a result Somerfield also dropped sales, cancelling an entire frozen food range.

“In 1998, Viva!’s director Juliet Gellatley was invited to Australia by various wildlife groups and created a storm of controversy – doing about 50 media interviews and a press conference at Canberra’s Parliament House filmed live on national and regional TV news. She returned to the UK to reinvigorate the campaign – including a demonstration outside Sainsbury’s supermarket’s headquarters in London on 24 July 1998.

“Actress, Pam Ferris, cut up her Sainsbury’s loyalty card in an act of defiance against the industry in front of Australian and British radio and TV cameras. It was followed the next day with 100 demonstrations in the UK outside Sainsbury’s stores and in Australia at restaurants that sold the meat.

“Representatives of the killing industry came to the Brighton demo, desperate to protect their markets. It did them no good because Sainsbury’s also dumped ‘roo meat, followed closely by all major supermarkets – 1,500 stores in all. It led to Juliet being presented with the Australian Wildlife Protection Council award for services to wildlife.”

Despite the victory in Britain, sales of kangaroo meat and leather continued in Australia and the global market was on the rise. Hoping to spread the word and save “these unique and wonderful animals from further persecution” ’Juliet Gellatley returned to Australia in 2002. She appeared on the popular 60 Minutes, exposing key issues with the kangaroo slaughter. She visited the home of a kangaroo shooter to debate the industry. The hope was to build a collaborative network across countries. To some extent that has succeeded.
Viva! told me in 2006 they had another win when, after a four year campaign, David Beckham finally ditched his controversial kangaroo skin football boots in favour of synthetic ones reinforcing their Save the Kangaroo campaign.

Their next victory was in 2008 when they congratulated Booker cash and carry for taking an ethical lead and dropping sales of ‘exotic meat’, including kangaroo, to help preserve species ”after a meeting in which we provided compelling evidence of the cruelty and unsustainable nature inherent in the kangaroo trade. A second leading cash and carry company, Makro, removed sales of kangaroo meat due to similar concerns in 2009.

Kangaroo skin football boots made the headlines once again in 2011, after it was discovered that large manufacturers (such as Adidas) were moving away from using the leather due to pressure from Viva! and other groups. The big four (Adidas, Nike, Umbro and Puma) still use kangaroo leather to some degree. ( Viva, 2018)

Kangaroo meat began making a resurgence in British supermarkets around 2013 when budget chain Lidl introduced a promotional burger range and the Viva! story continued. “We launched an ongoing campaign calling for an end to trade in kangaroo, which secured major press coverage in The Sun newspaper. It didn’t stop there as frozen food giant Iceland followed suit in 2015 with the introduction of so-called ‘exotic meats’ – including kangaroo.

“Another supermarket chain, Morrisons, was also slammed in the national media for putting consumers at risk by selling kangaroo steaks and recommending the meat be cooked “medium rare”. Soon after the deluge of emails from Viva! supporters Morrisons too dumped the range.

As kangaroo meat returned to both Tesco and Sainsbury’s Viva! Moved quickly to condemn them publicly and soon both chains again dropping sales. The latest supermarket victory came with Lidl and Iceland dropping their kangaroo meat lines in 2018.
Significant animal welfare issues and health concerns had been forwarded to Lidl UK’s Managing Director.”

This model campaign, carried out over two decades, showed how persistent the Australian kangaroo killers have been but also that persistence in return paid off.

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Andrew’s Government is set to kill baby koalas, and other ‘protected wildlife’ that survive bush fire!- Write to Government Now!

Update posted by Eve Kelly 10th Jan 2020

Re: and the AWPC’s 2018 website article

On Jan 10th 2020, Andy Meddick MP published a response, from DELWP, saying the recent media on the fire ground rescue of wildlife is ‘categorically untrue’. It is also being reported that this story is ‘fake news’ and in light of the current BOT situation it is very damaging if the public thinks that real news is fake.

DELWP’s statement (below) relates closely to a Yahoo article and an article that was published on the Australian Wildlife Protection Council’s (AWPC) website in 2018. The article was written by wildlife advocates and me. I am the former Secretary of the AWPC, former employee of Wildlife Victoria and wildlife rescuer and shelter operator for the past 10 years.

Andy Meddick MP reported on Facebook:

UPDATE 09/01

Today I had a forthright phone conference with key DEWLP figures and the Minister’s Senior Advisor.

I bluntly put to them the issues facing rescuers and carers, as well as concerns expressed online about rescuing young wildlife.

I have been able to facilitate a meeting between wildlife rescue & carer representatives and DEWLP next week to advance the plan for better response – and they’ve also issued a statement on the rescue of young wildlife, which is below.

They also told me that these are the guidelines in place at the fire zone:
(* Please note the above document is a copy of the Wildlife Shelter and Foster Carer Authorisation (WSFCA) and not the Fire Response Manual in question—DELWP have not yet addressed the Fire Response manual that they gave to vets and wildlife rescuers during training in 2018 (and possibly 2019))

I promised I would get this for you – and here it is. I’m also committed to keeping this discussion with them ongoing, and of course, keeping them accountable.

I hope you will all understand that at this time, it’s difficult for me to continue to answer all comments but I am doing my best to get information to you.

There’s a lot of work to be done to get change enacted for wildlife. I will be working hard on it over the coming weeks, and I also intend to continue to make as many trips into affected areas as I can with medical supplies and food.

Thank you all for your passion, dedication and patience.

Eve Kelly writes:
I thought you might be interested in some more information proving that DELWP are producing concerning material, in more than one form, about the rescue and care of Australian wildlife.

This issue resurfaced after members of the public read an article the AWPC published, back in Dec 2018. It was not written in response to the current bush fires. Now that the current crisis has put wildlife in the spotlight, people are researching wildlife, and so came across and shared the 2018 AWPC article.

In 2018, the AWPC was contacted by wildlife rescuers and carers about a fire ground document ‘Victorian Response Plan for Wildlife Impacted by Fire pdf’, pg. 26′ (Response Plan), being used by DELWP in fire ground wildlife rescue training. They were understandably concerned. It is not a public document to my knowledge. The AWPC article (not DELWP’s doc) was written in conjunction with experienced wildlife advocates.

It is purely DELWP’s information in the Response Plan that was discussed and reported on by the AWPC. For DELWP to continue to act dishonestly, confuse and concern the public and to pit wildlife volunteers against one another is very concerning indeed.

For the record, in relation to Andy Meddick MP’s statement today, no one has made any claims about, or taken information out of the Wildlife Shelter and Foster Carer Authorisation (WSFCA). It’s the 2018 Response Plan manual that gives the concerning and contradictory information.

Pinky joeys (eyes closed, furless, under-developed) on and off the fire ground, are rarely viable. Of course, if an animal is burnt or injured so badly that it can’t be rehabilitated, and is suffering, it is best to euthanase—a decision rescuers and shelters deal with every day. For DELWP to imply that wildlife carers/rescuers would want wildlife to suffer is insulting.

DELWP’s Response Plan was given to wildlife rescuers during DELWP fire ground training in 2018 and possibly in 2019. It is worth noting that very similar ‘ideas’ were floated in the ATCW review document DELWP, also published in 2018 ‘’. They are DELWP’s words not ours.

DELWP states that the information circulating is categorically untrue, but then only goes onto explain the WSFCA. No one is disputing the WSFCA, at this stage. But they have not addressed why they printed the following in the 2018 Response Plan on p26:

‘Rehabilitation of orphaned milk-dependent pouch young of common species such as macropods and koalas is not supported as these animals require significant long term care and cannot be successfully returned to the wild.’


Considerations for euthanasia

General indications that an animal should be

euthanised are:

  • burns that cover more than 15% of the total body surface area (see Figure 4). This is likely to have occurred when most of the body hair is singed. For example, a koala with four feet burnt, top and bottom with burns to nose, chin and eyes
  • evidence of severe dehydration suggestive of renal failure
  • presence of an infectious disease
  • broken limbs
  • orphaned milk dependent pouch young
  • genetic or other deformities.’

As you can see, they don’t mention pinkies (eyes closed, furless), the only say ‘milk dependant young’ and then go on to imply that they can’t be hand-raised and released successfully back into the wild. They need to remove this material from their documents, as it is categorically untrue!

Why does DELWP have this dishonest approach?

The Response Plan’s intro says ‘The Department of Environment Land Water and Planning (DELWP) is the designated lead agency for wildlife welfare arising from a declared emergency as defined in the Emergency Management Manual Victoria (EMMV).

The purpose of this manual is to provide:

  • the policy context and planning framework for the safe, humane and efficient response to wildlife impacted by fire.

This includes:

– minimising risks to health and safety of personnel and the public

– responding to wildlife welfare arising from the incident and treat impacted wildlife as humanely as possible

– creating a framework to enable the safe involvement of volunteer organisations

– encouraging the involvement of volunteer organisations and the wider community, wherever it is safe and reasonable to do so

– managing incidents efficiently and cost effectively

  • current ‘best practice’ standard operating procedures and protocols for assessing, treating and rehabilitating wildlife impacted by fire in Victoria, and
  • a training manual for responders.

This manual focuses on the processes that must be followed by all individuals participating in response and recovery activities in relation to wildlife impacted by fire and planned burning.

Wildlife response activities may also arise from other emergency incidents such as floods or toxic and hazardous chemical spills. While the emergency response roles and structures should mirror those defined in this manual, the detail of how to respond to these types of emergency incidents are not covered by this manual. Compliance with this manual is a requirement of all individuals participating in response and recovery activities relating to wildlife affected by fire. Any plan, instruction, prescription, training or guideline developed for wildlife welfare response activities in Victoria must be consistent with this manual.


The audience for this document is:

  • Incident Management Team members undertaking fire response or planned burning activities where wildlife either have been impacted or there is a potential for them to be impacted
  • DELWP regional and State controllers (as a reference document)
  • Agency staff deployed to undertake wildlife rescue activities
  • Veterinarians undertaking wildlife triage, and
  • Personnel in DELWP conducted training.


This manual will be reviewed on an annual basis to consider changes in legislation, governance arrangements, policies and procedures as well as to apply learnings from research and field experience and feedback from the community, stakeholders

and incident personnel.’

The Response Plan states, This manual focuses on the processes that must be followed by all individuals participating in response and recovery activities in relation to wildlife impacted by fire and planned burning.’ It doesn’t say it is superseded by the WSFCA. This isn’t the first time DELWP has released contradictory information. It also says, ‘Any plan, instruction, prescription, training or guideline developed for wildlife welfare response activities in Victoria must be consistent with this manual’.

So, who is being categorically untrue?

It is worth noting that none of what DELWP produces to regulate wildlife is policy or legislation, they are all protocols, suggestions or guidelines. None the less, they enact them as if they were law.

Vague phrases like ‘not supported’ can be interpreted in many ways, by wildlife rescuers and DELWP staff alike. However, I find the bit after more concerning, ‘as these animals require significant long term care and cannot be successfully returned to the wild.’ This statement is untrue and not backed by good scientific research. If DELWP produces these documents, we can’t blame people asking questions, especially in such an ethically important area as wildlife rescue and rehab.

We need clear, regulatory documents that don’t contradict themselves from one paragraph to the next and from document to document—like the WSFCA and Response Plans do—our wildlife is too important!

Let’s hope they change this info, after this public review. DELWP should remove this information from all documentation immediately and confirm with the public.

**The below story was originally posted on our website in 2018. Please scroll down for the sample letter to send to the Premier.

‘God help any Victorian native animals injured rescued from bushfire areas. It is the policy of the Daniel Andrews Govt that all viable milk dependent joeys of kangaroos, wombats and koalas be automatically killed.’ Says a concerned wildlife shelter operator

DELWP’s fire ground regulations read ‘Rehabilitation of orphaned milk-dependant pouch young of common species such as macropods and koalas is not supported as these animals require significant long term care and cannot be successfully returned to the wild’

See the document from DELWP here:p 26. Victorian-Response-Plan-for-Wildlife-Impacted-by-Fire

Last year DELWP released the below suggestion on their Authority to Control Wildlife (ATCW) permit system review. They should remember that all extinct, endangered and threatened species were all once ‘common’.

‘Not allowing the rehabilitation of Eastern Grey Kangaroos or other overabundant species

Wildlife shelters and foster carers invest significant time and resources rehabilitating sick, injured and orphaned Eastern Grey Kangaroos. Given that the species is overabundant in many areas and is the species that the majority of ATCWs are issued for, some members of the community have suggested that the species should not be able to be rehabilitated under the wildlife shelter system.

A restriction on rehabilitating Eastern Grey Kangaroos has been in place in the ACT for many years, as the species is overabundant in the territory and is subject to significant control activities to protect property and biodiversity values.

While this is outside the scope of the ATCW review, it may be considered in future reviews of the wildlife shelter system, as it may save significant shelter resources and reduce the impact of the species on landholders. In this context, it may also be appropriate to consider whether the rehabilitation of unprotected wildlife, such as wombats, cockatoos or possums, should be disallowed or restricted to areas where such wildlife is not over-abundant (e.g. wombats found outside the parishes where the unprotection order applies).’

This idea was ‘floated by the community’ according to DELWP. The since have backdown due to pressure from the public and wildlife activists. See the full doc here, the above information appeared on page 31. How do they know what is ‘overabundant’ when we know they don’t do proper counts?

Daniel Andrews is set to kill baby koalas!

Please write/email the Victorian government and express your concern about the unethical treatment orphaned native wildlife on the fire ground and elsewhere. Feel free to use/cut and paste the draft letter (complied by VOWS members) below.

Please write to:

Minister Lily D’Ambrosio

Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change

Ground Office 2
30 Oleander Drive, Mill Park


Premier Daniel Andrews

Office of the Premier
1 Treasury Place
Melbourne, Victoria
Australia, 3002

AND your local members


Insert date

Insert name of Minister here

Insert position

Insert address

Insert email address

Insert your full name

Insert your postal address

Insert your email address

Insert your phone number

Dear insert title and name,

My name is ………… and I live at …………… I wish to express my outrage and concern that in an irresponsible and callous move the Daniel Andrews’ Government has installed regulations to euthanase any surviving joeys of ‘common species’, including koalas, that are found on the fire ground. Viable, healthy joeys are now to be killed if they survive bush fires, this is unacceptable.

This year his government signaled that it is interested in adopting a short-sighted catastrophic policy that will see ALL sick, injured and orphaned kangaroos, wombats, possums, cockatoos and any species they deem to be ‘overabundant’ KILLED instead of rescued and rehabilitated. This unjustified policy may act to drive wildlife carers underground and will see members of the public refusing to hand over animals to vets and shelters in the fear that they will be automatically killed. This will ultimately result in horrendous and widespread animal suffering.

Trained and experienced wildlife carers and rescuers, provide a service to the community that the pubic expects and the government fails to and cannot provide.

Volunteers fund all wildlife rescue and rehabilitation from their own pockets with no funding from the state government except for a tokenistic and inadequate annual wildlife shelter grant. They make themselves available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Yet the Andrews’ Government is planning to strip the community of this invaluable service, declaring that it is too costly to raise these animals and that they want to free up shelter resources. This cynical and disingenuous ploy is an insulting falsehood considering the lack of government funding and it’s own policies and procedures that put the welfare of wildlife at risk on a daily basis across all sectors.

Hundreds, if not thousands, of trained and experienced rescuers across Victoria rescue and rehabilitate injured and orphaned wildlife. No one else can give the same level of service with the commitment, dedication and efficiency that we provide. No Government budget would be big enough and no department would be competent enough to achieve the same outcomes.

Carers and rescuers, are committed to rescuing injured animals and they will continue to euthanase when necessary. But, I don’t agree they should become Andrew’s ‘killing machines’ to slaughter viable and healthy animals to facilitate a policy that is morally corrupt with no scientific merit. It is incomprehensible that the bureaucrats have not considered the psychological impacts these cruel policies will have on wildlife rescuers, carers and the veterinarians, who will be expected to undertake the killing, let alone the impact on members of the community who also encounter wildlife in need.

This is an urgent wake up call to the predicament of Victoria’s native wildlife that are in the incapable hands of a mega-department that is actively working to harm and exploit them for political and economic gain. We ask everyone to contact Victorian parliamentarians and tell them that wildlife and wildlife volunteers are valued. They must remember that Australia has the highest rate of mammalian extinction on the planet and that all ‘threatened’ and ‘extinct species’ were once considered ‘common and secure’.


Your Name

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Arguments for not feeding native animals

Part of the enjoyment of living in a regional area with garden space is creating a habitat for our native animals in the backyard.

But while birdbaths and frog ponds provide a useful service for native species, a bird feeder full of seed does not.  The NSW Office of Environment and Heritage has published an information document called ‘Keep wildlife wild: please don’t feed the animals’.   The Office of Environment and Heritage even pointed out that feeding lorikeets sugar-based foods like fruit, could cause the birds to die at an unusually young age.

While we desire to commune with Nature, and our wonderful native species, we may be doing more harm than good by feeding them inappropriate foods.



(image: Rainbow Lorrikets, photographer Pamela Rose)

Feeding  Kookaburras, Magpies and Currawongs with meat, mince or bread can produce imbalances in their nutritional requirements causing severe deficiencies.


(image: . "Currawong in peppercorn02" by Taken byfir0002 | 20D + Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 L - Own work. Licensed under GFDL 1.2 via Wikimedia Commons)

For Rosellas, Cockatoos and Galahs, introduced fruit is not natural part of their diet and  seed mixes are rarely nutritionally balanced.  Many people acting with the very best intentions feed them meat from a butcher such as cheap mince, sausage etc. Unfortunately those products are loaded with chemical additives that are lethal to birds. 

Aggression may also result from competing for food offerings. Sometimes species such as Currawongs and ravens can become so numerous that they drive other species away by aggressive behaviour or by preying on them or their young.

The digestive system of some birds is designed for a predominately liquid intake. Bread seed mixes and fruit quickly fill the bird and slow the digestion process leading to vitamin and mineral deficiencies predisposing the birds to disease through bacterial and yeast infections.  Diseases such as beak and feather diseases are easily spread through communal feeding trays.

A study of mass deaths of lorikeets in NSW showed that the birds had been killed by a condition called necrotizing enteritis. That’s a disease caused by a combination of inadequate diet and poor hygiene. In the case of that study, it turned out that the birds had been crowding onto tiny, dirty feeding trays — a situation very much different to their normal behaviour where a flock of birds might be spread across several trees.

Birds could lose their “wild-ness” and become sedentary, mate at the wrong times, and lose their nomadic drive.

For ducks, food could sink at the bottom of ponds, and in turn rot, causing increased levels of bacteria, and diseases.  Bread can ferment in the gut causing bacterial infections.

Kangaroos are designed to eat large amounts of low protein roughage such as native grasses and browse. Human food is a poor substitute with little nutritional value and will disrupt their natural intake. It’s a far cry from their natural foods, such as grasses.
Smaller macropods such as wallabies also eat fungus and insects.

In regard to feeding orphan joeys and young native mammals that cow’s milk is really not appropriate and may lead to fatal diarrhoea.Eating processed foods can cause bony growths toform in wallabies’ jaws (‘lumpy jaw’). This can lead to a slow and painful death

Fruits are not digested easily by ringtail possums, it ferments in the gut and produces vast quantities of gas – death is usually the end result. They should be fed bark, grass and leaves, eucalypt trees being the favourite for both the leaves and flowers, including native fruit and small insects.

WIRES- let Nature feed itself

Lots of people know that chocolate is poisonous to dogs, but bread causes a lethal jaw disease in wallabies and kangaroos.  When you feed wild animals you’re training them to lose their fear of people. While that might seem fine at first glance, all too often it ends badly.  An ugly minority of people exists, who desire to kill and maim animals sadistically, so then it’s going to serve the animals well to be wary of people. All people. Even the good ones.

Wildlife can still be encouraged to live in or visit gardens or properties by providing and maintaining areas of suitable natural habitat harbouring natural food sources.

If you are interested in attracting native birds to your property, there are a number of other ways you can do this which includes planting locally indigenous plans and providing nest boxes.  Fallen timber provides ideal habitat for a range of insects which provide other local native fauna such as Sugar Gliders with ample food.

Parks and Wildlife: WA Why you should not feed wild animals

Most young native animals are fed using a special formula or specialised diet to accurately replicate their natural diet, as human foods can be very harmful for them. They often need feeding every two hours when they’re tiny, with feeding routines gradually changing over a few weeks or months until they’re weaned.

To find out more about how you can become involved in wildlife care, contact your local rescue group.

(featured image:  Rainbow Lorikeet Trichoglossus moluccanus on a garden bird feeder, Sydney, Australia)

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Arid Recovery’s success – an ‘overpopulation’ of Bettongs

From Arid Recovery’s initial 30 burrowing bettongs, released in the reserve in 1998, there are now between 6,000 and 8,000. Bettongs were previously vanished from SA.

“The Government’s approach to this road project has all the hallmarks of their usual philosophy when it comes to the protecting the environment: ‘ignore the science, develop and clear, and ask questions later.'”  

General Manager of Arid Recovery Dr Katherine Tuft said while the program’s success is great, there are issues with having too many of the animals. So, they are victims of their own success, of over-breeding?

Being free from feral cats and foxes, she now claims that “bettong population is so high now that it has a negative impact on the condition of native vegetation within the reserve and is causing concerns for more sensitive threatened species that compete for the same resources, such as the endangered Greater Stick-nest Rat.”


Due to their overpopulation, some will be relocated to other reserves. They are planning to reintroduce a native predator – the Western Quoll – in 2018, and we expect that quolls will eventually help to regulate the bettong population naturally. so the Cat will be let loose among the Pigeons! Nature’s way of population control, with natural, not introduced, predators!

Bettongs are also known as rat kangaroos, that have a spring in their hop. These small marsupials are endemic to Australia and were once widespread throughout the country, but now are only usually found on islands or inside fenced reserves where they are safe from feral foxes and cats.

Maybe the animal’s demise is partly because people don’t like “rats”, or even kangaroos?  A bilby might get sponsors, but a “rat”?  Even world-famous iconic koalas aren’t safe though!

They’re in the same family as potoroos and the now extinct Desert Rat-kangaroo. A bettong is about the size of a rabbit, with body length ranging from 30cm to 38cm among species.

Arid Recovery researcher Katherine Moseby said their findings had shown for the first time that exposing threatened native animals to small numbers of predators in the wild taught them how to avoid their enemies. “We’ve got one area where we put them in with cats and we’ve got another area where they’re not in with cats.

“This is an idea to try and improve their ability to co-exist with cats by just exposing them to really low levels of cats for long periods of time” . The key word must be ‘low level’ of cats, not being out-numbered!

Arid Recovery manage a 123 square km wildlife reserve in the arid north of South Australia. Wildlife are protected across the Reserve using 80 kilometres of fencing that excludes feral cats, foxes and rabbits. They recognise that conservation fencing is only an interim solution to saving Australian mammals that are vulnerable to cat and fox predation. For this reason, they have dedicated the remaining 67 km² of the Reserve to developing the science that may one day allow vulnerable animals to survive alongside feral animals outside of fenced reserves.

It’s a lofty aim, an ideal, that our slow-evolving, heavily-threatened species may learn strategies to survive against the odds of recently introduced predators, since European settlement? They need to adjust to a quick learning-curve and evolve quickly! Pity they can’t also learn to battle bulldozers, chain saws, axes and property-developers and other economic threats to habitats!

Last year lead researcher George Wilson, a conservation biologist and wildlife manager from the Australian National University in Canberra, said that keeping vulnerable animals such as koalas, Tasmanian devils, rock wallabies, bettongs and bandicoots on private property would shelter them from cats, foxes, agriculture and other rising threats.

For example, “golf courses that have suitable trees and provide protection from dogs would welcome the opportunity to breed koalas,” he said.  Sounds promising if golfers were to agree to share their natural resources?

AWPC policy has always been in support of interlinking wildlife/conservation corridors, however, the many pressures on land has meant this idea has not been give much priority.

(featured image: with permission from Arid Recovery)

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