Author Archives: AWPC

Green tree snakes are the most dangerous … here’s why!

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IN RECENT WEEKS while in the garden setting out the sprinkler I noticed a bright yellow stick obscurely standing upright — it was about two foot high and six feet in front of me. That’s a bit odd I thought to myself. Then it started swaying from side-to-side … that’s when I realised it was a snake.

Searching images on the computer identified it as the green tree snake, with the vibrant yellow-belly as photographed above by David Clode at the Cairns Aquarium, North Queensland.

The accompanying blurb stated that this particular snake is …

usually green but may also be black, blue or yellow. Pale blue flecks can often be seen between the body scales. SOURCE

To be honest I didn’t look that closely for the blue flecks when I saw it again last week. So it seems to have taken up residence in our tropical garden.

If you have some ‘good news’ personal stories to tell, and ways of helping wildlife (that does not involve large gatherings of people!) — we would love to hear from you and publish your anecdotal reports and observations.

Write to webeditor.awpc@gmail.com

PS: While I was at the computer identifying our ‘guest’ I came across the yarn below … hope our story ends differently!

— Sue Van Homrigh


GREEN TREE SNAKES (Dendrolaphis punctulata) can be dangerous. Yes, tree snakes or grass snakes, not brown snakes or taipans. Here’s why: A couple in Townsville had a lot of potted plants.

During a recent cold winter (for Townsville that is!), a wife was bringing some of the valued tender ones indoors to protect them from the cold night. It turned out that a little green tree snake was hidden in one of the plants. When it had warmed up, it slithered out and the wife saw it go under the lounge — she let out a very loud scream.

The husband (who was taking a shower) ran out into the living room naked to see what the problem was and she told him there was a snake under the lounge.

He got down on the floor on his hands and knees to look for it. About that time the family dog came and cold-nosed him on the behind. He thought the snake had bitten him, so he screamed and fell over on the floor.

His wife thought he had had a heart attack, so she covered him up, told him to lie still and called an ambulance. The paramedics rushed in, would not listen to his protests, loaded him on their stretcher, and started carrying him out.

About that time, the snake came out from under the lounge and the paramedic saw it and dropped his end of the stretcher. That’s when the man broke his leg and why he is still in hospital.

The wife still had the problem of the snake in the house, so she called on a neighbour who volunteered to capture the snake. He armed himself with a rolled-up newspaper and began poking under the lounge. Soon he decided it was gone and told the woman, who sat down on the lounge in relief. But while relaxing, her hand dangled in between the cushions, where she felt the snake wriggling around.

She screamed and fainted, the snake rushed back under the lounge. The neighbour, seeing her lying there passed out, tried to use CPR to revive her.

The neighbour’s wife, who had just returned from shopping at Woolies, saw her husband’s mouth on the woman’s mouth and slammed her husband on the back of the head with a bag of canned goods, knocking him out and cutting his scalp to a point where it needed stitches.

The noise woke the woman from her dead faint and she saw her neighbour lying on the floor with his wife bending over him, so she assumed that the snake had bitten him. She went to the kitchen and got a small bottle of whiskey and began pouring it down the man’s throat.

By now, the police had arrived.

They saw the unconscious man, smelled the whiskey, and assumed that a drunken fight had occurred. They were about to arrest them all, when the women tried to explain how it all happened over a little garden snake!

The police called an ambulance, which took away the neighbour and his sobbing wife.

Now, the little snake again crawled out from under the lounge and one of the policemen drew his gun and fired at it. He missed the snake and hit the leg of the end table. The table fell over, the lamp on it shattered and, as the bulb broke, it started a fire in the curtains.

The other policeman tried to beat out the flames, and fell through the window into the yard on top of the family dog who, startled, jumped out and raced into the street, where an oncoming car swerved to avoid it and smashed into the parked police car.

Meanwhile, neighbours saw the burning curtains and called in the fire brigade. The firemen had started raising the fire ladder when they were halfway down the street. The rising ladder tore out the overhead wires, put out the power, and disconnected the power in a ten-square city block area (but they did get the house fire out).

Time passed! The snake was caught and both men were discharged from the hospital; the house was repaired; the dog came home; the police acquired a new car and all was right with their world.

A while later they were watching TV and the weatherman announced a cold snap for that night. The wife asked her husband if he thought they should bring in their plants for the night.

And that’s when he shot her.

— SOURCE

 

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Dawn of a Dingo Day

Dawn of a Dingo Day-book-promo-aug2020

A NEW BOOK with terrific photos of Australia’s native dog the Dingo, is available now from the Australian Dingo Foundation. The short work is by Yosef Lasarow, a newer arrival to Australia, who came with great appreciation for the country’s unique beauty and animals. That appreciation is reflected in this work.

Lasarow accompanies some stunning, up-close Dingo photography with mediations on the nature and ecological role of our native dog, persecution by the farming community and governments and some directions to co-existence and truce, before it is too late. All Australians might support that direction.

Available from http://www.dingodiscovery.net  — link to SHOP.

Or check Amazon for an e book version.

 

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The Red Kangaroo: Going, gone?

Les-Hutchinson_Barrier-Daily-cover

LES HUTCHINSON was a science teacher in Broken Hill in the early 2000s. He witnessed the relentless slaughter of the Red Kangaroo that was going on in the semi-arid pastoral lands around the town. He witnessed the ‘harvest’ trucks loaded with bodies return to Broken Hill every night. He saw the lost and doomed dependent joeys wandering the plain after their mothers were shot. He worked tirelessly also with the AWPC to alert the country to what was going on and to the lack of respect for this magnificent native animal.

ABOVE:  Les is on the right, with zoologist Dr David Croft in Broken Hill 2002 (24 July 2002).

Hutchinson, together with veterinarian John Auty and zoologist David Croft in 2002 tried to interest Broken Hill in an alternative. Eco-tourism would be financially a far better proposition than eking out a sheep pastoral living on the boom and bust arid landscapes of the interior, and then blaming the wildlife for the failures. Their proposals were not taken up.

Disillusioned, Hutchinson sent the following and an essay to the AWPC for its newsletter. Thank you Les for all your work for our wildlife.

Les-Hutchinson-cartoon-archive-aug2020Today, the state of Victoria has picked up the baton to continue Australia’s assault on the Red kangaroo and the two species of Greys to please graziers and to enrich the petfood and skin (soccer shoe) industry. South Australia, the home of the country’s largest kangaroo processor, wants to enlarge its hunt and add wallaby species to its meat grinder.

Just say ‘NO’ to your state government. Enough has long been enough.

 

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Our work is vital for the animals. If you have not already renewed your 2020–21 AWPC membership …

AWPC-editorial-Jan2020-v3

… PLEASE, NOW.

Dear Members and Friends of Australia’s Wildlife

A huge THANK YOU to those who have already renewed their support for the coming year. For many of you, this commitment reaches back into AWPC’s 50 year history of wildlife activism.

For those who may have missed our reminder — Membership renewals are now due (as of 1 July 2020) with contributions of $20; or $10 for concession.

NOTE: All members who joined AWPC from March 2020 will have their respective membership carry-over for the 2020–2021 year.

To renew your membership (or to update your details); or if you are a new member — please fill-in the digital form on our website by simply clicking on this LINK.

The support you all provide through membership and donations allows AWPC to continue to work with other wildlife groups; provide communications and media liaison; lobby government; produce publications; and initiate education projects. We are also interested in seeking sponsorship and affiliation with other conservation-focused organisations.

Tax deductible donations!
Your donations are needed for the important work we do for wildlife.
Donations can be made online
 HERE.

Over the past year AWPC has been active in making submissions to governments, submitting letters, and making personal approaches to agencies and politicians that are enabling the killing of our wildlife.

A lot of work has gone into revitalising our AWPC website and developing more social media information and education pathways, because ever more people use these pathways to information. Please visit and share the website and AWPC Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and help us improve them.

Members of the public continue to contact us, distraught about government activities like the spreading of 1080 baits in burned forests.

— Thank you everyone for caring about wildlife —

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The building blocks of extinction and biodiversity loss in Victoria

AWPC-Extinction-Victoria-June2020

Australian Wildlife Protection Council submissions to the Parliamentary Inquiry into the extinction crisis in Victoria.

 7 June 2020

Introduction:

Australian Wildlife Protection Council Inc (AWPC)

The AWPC is a not-for-profit wildlife education organisation and registered charity, founded by Arthur Queripel in 1969. The AWPC celebrates its 50th year of working on behalf of Australia’s precious wildlife.

“Arthur Queripel remembers seeing smouldering piles of Mallee scrub and mounds of dead Kangaroos and Emus following the round-ups after clearing”.

As the Mallee was cleared, Arthur witnessed mutilated Kangaroos on trucks as the commercial skin and meat trade got underway and saw too much casual cruelty. He sought help from the police, conservation departments and animal welfare organisations to no purpose, each organisation passing responsibility to the other. Arthur founded the AWPC with the aim of protecting Australian native animals from cruelty and exploitation. In the years following Arthur Queripel leadership, Maryland Wilson was the longest-serving president of the organisation. Maryland and many other notable wildlife defenders, here and overseas, worked tirelessly to help the most persecuted wildlife: Australia’s national emblem, the Kangaroo.

The AWPC holds a significant historical archive covering half a century of the mistreatment of Australia’s precious wildlife.

Peter Hylands, conservationist and film producer, is the current President of the Australian Wildlife Protection Council speaking on behalf of the national (and Victorian) AWPC committee and membership. Former Presidents include: Maryland Wilson, Peter Preuss, Arthur Queripel. Patron: Professor Peter Singer.

The natural world in Victoria

What appears to happen is that Australian native animals are continually pushed towards the brink, with all sorts of hideous claims about why they should be exterminated. Claims by the Victoria Government, even for animals like Koalas, were that they were over abundant. Prior to the 2020 fires the Victorian Government was suggesting that young Koalas should not be rescued from fire grounds.

The killing of native Australian wildlife is now so entrenched, and the sense of entitlement of governments promoting this behaviour and the individuals carrying it out, mean poor standards are applied. Just one example of many is that in Victoria and following an extensive trial (from 2014) to turn Victoria’s Kangaroos into pet food, the Government is not able to explain which species are being killed and consequently in what numbers.

So when Australian species have made that journey to the brink, many have gone over the edge, they become endangered, and then perhaps, if they are lucky, some attention and belated compassion is directed towards them. By then it is really too late.

So the trick is to stop endangering the native species that still remain and actually look after their habitat instead of ripping it down when every little bit of common sense provides a thousand reasons why the destruction should stop.

Learning about, and living with Australian wildlife, is an extraordinary privilege that must also be the right of future generations of Australians to enjoy.

Summary of recommendations

Climate change — Recommendation:  Accelerate GHG emissions policies and review hazard reduction policies in Victoria based on scientific research. Apply pressure on Commonwealth Government to improve its performance. Key features here include questioning and moving beyond the idea that gas is a transitional energy source and improving governance and compliance (an active testing regime is required) in relation to building standards and energy codes in Victoria.

Economic structure — Recommendation:  Within Victoria, urgently review those industries and activities that pose a significant threat to biodiversity in Victoria, the worst of all can either be replaced (coal), creating more jobs in renewables sector, are subsidised by the tax payer (many forestry practices) or are activities with no future that should cease with immediate effect, such as commercial harvesting of wildlife (Kangaroos) or hunting (Duck shooting) which contribute little to economic activity in the state and are significant actors in blocking out more beneficial knowledge based economic activity. Given that Victoria is currently very good at destroying its natural assets, a new way forward to help change current practices will be to develop a significant ecotourism industry. If we can do it for Penguins we can do it more broadly before it is too late.

The environmental impact v productivity of current farming methods in Victoria needs review, the Victorian Government should actively encourage farmers to learn to live with wildlife and more generally the natural world, the opposite is currently occurring.

Government — Recommendation:  A long and deteriorating history of government conduct in relation to wildlife conservation clearly indicates that action is now required. In Victoria, that action is a restructuring of DELWP with the precise goal of extracting any responsibility for the care of biodiversity from this department and placing this vital task into the hands of a new department with the sole purpose of protecting Victoria’s environment and the plants and animals that live in it.

Human rights — Recommendation:  Free from fear and threat — a new deal for wildlife carers and rescuers and proper protection for the lands surrounding wildlife shelters. The protection of people, their human rights and their property rights — for individuals and families investing in knowledge economy and conservation based activities and businesses in regional Victoria.

Protecting the web of life — Recommendation:  Initiate proper and structured conservation activities and a state wide assessment of the current circumstances for Victoria’s species, in doing so to build the understanding of how to avoid further endangerment of all species in Victoria. This should include state wide and cross state border plans and long term objectives for species with the resources to properly monitor the wellbeing of species against plans. We can no longer afford a situation where there is a conflict of interest between the organisations driving key threatening processes, organisations that are also the enforcer and legislator. This practice has been all too common in Victoria and has resulted in the poor outcomes we see today.

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Dingo (Wild Dog) baiting in Southeastern Australia and Bushfire Recovery

Dear Minister/s,

17 February 2020

The Honourable Sussan Ley MP
Minister for Environment, Australia
Address: Parliament House CANBERRA ACT 2600
minister.ley@environment.gov.au

cc: The Honourable David Littleproud MP, Minister for Agriculture, Australia
(
minister.littleproud@agriculture.gov.au)
cc: The Honourable Lily D’Ambrosio MP, Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Victoria (
lily.dambrosio@parliament.vic.gov.au)
cc: The Honourable Jaclyn Symes, Minister for Agriculture, Victoria
(
jaclyn.symes@parliament.vic.gov.au)
cc: The Honourable Matthew Kean MP, Minister for Energy and Environment, New
South Wales (
office@kean.minister.nsw.gov.au)
cc: The Honourable Adam Marshall MP, Minister for Agriculture, New South Wales
(
adam.marshall@parliament.nsw.gov.au)
cc: Dr Sally Box, Threatened Species Commissioner
(
ThreatenedSpeciesCommissioner@environment.gov.au)

The undersigned wish to express our expert opinion on the status of dingoes across Australia in light of the current bushfire emergency. At the time of writing, more than 10 million hectares has been burnt across Australia, including 1.2 million hectares in Victoria and 4.9 million hectares in New South Wales. Across southeastern Australia this represents burning of major dingo habitat zones in National Parks and State Forests. We commend the Federal, NSW and VIC State Governments for their focus on assisting fauna and flora recovery after the catastrophic 2019/2020 bushfire season, however, the proposed ‘feral predator’ aerial baiting plans are counterproductive to that aim. In particular, we wish to express concern about plans to undertake widespread 1080 “wild dog” aerial baiting across burnt habitat in NSW and VIC.

The prevailing wisdom is that introduced predators such as foxes and feral cats pose the most significant risk to native fauna (marsupials, birds, reptiles etc). These risks need to be proactively and swiftly managed to protect (already struggling) threatened species that have been endangered by recent bushfires. We agree that proactive measures to limit introduced predators may need to be taken but these should be targeted and not endanger native predators such as quolls, dingoes and varanids. Currently proposed aerial baiting programs will not target cats, leaving threatened species under increased pressure from these predators. It is also important to iterate that “wild dog” baiting will kill dingoes, leading to widespread mesopredator release, removing suppressive pressure on cat and fox populations exerted by dingoes.

Aerial baiting in bushfire affected southeastern Australia is an unacceptable risk to native carnivores Aerial baiting with 1080 poison poses an unacceptable risk to native predators such as quolls, dingoes and varanids because it is unknown if food scarcity in burnt landscape may increase bait consumption leading to poisoning of quolls or varanids. Furthermore, dingoes are highly susceptible to 1080 baiting and are included as a direct target of “wild dog” baiting efforts. Importantly, best-practice guidelines to limit 1080 baiting impacts on quolls suggests that all baits should be buried to a depth of more than 10 cm andaerial or broadcast surface baiting should only be used in areas where it can
be demonstrated that there is a low risk to spot-tailed quoll populations
(EPBC Act Policy Statement 3.4 — Significant impact guidelines for the endangered spot-tailed quoll Dasyurus maculatus maculatus (southeastern mainland population) and the use of 1080). Currently it is unknown how quolls and other non-target species will be impacted by aerial baiting in burnt habitat. Arguably, the recently proposed NSW “wildlife and conservation bushfire recovery” plan should be referred to the Federal Environment Minister under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 for assessment.

We strongly emphasise the ecological importance of terrestrial apex predators in  biodiversity resilience and ecosystem functioning. Dingoes are the sole non-human land-based top predator on the Australian mainland. Their importance to the ecological health and resilience of Australian ecosystems cannot be overstated, from regulating wild herbivore abundance (e.g. various kangaroo species), to reducing the impacts of feral mesopredators (cats, foxes) on native marsupials (Johnson & VanDerWal 2009; Wallach et al. 2010; Letnic et al. 2012; Letnic et al. 2013; Newsome et al. 2015; Morris & Letnic 2017). It would be hypothesised that continued dramatic reduction of dingo populations, by aerial baiting, will enable introduced mesopredators such as foxes and cats to exploit burnt areas unchecked, posing a high risk to threatened native species. The impacts of feral cats and red foxes are likely to be amplified in disturbed ecosystems, such as those burnt by bushfires. Indiscriminate and non-target specific lethal management should not be implemented if there is a risk to the persistence of threatened native fauna or ecosystem resilience.

We would urge the Federal, NSW and VIC State Governments to focus bushfire recovery efforts on proactive evidence-based measures including:

Installation of exclusion fences to protect recovering vegetation and wildlife communities (short-term)

Targeting lethal control measures to key refuge areas and important sites for remaining populations of threatened species

Limiting lethal control to targeted methods such as shooting, trapping or ground-baiting where steps are taken to limit non-target bait consumption

Providing supplemental shelter, food and water to identified remaining populations of threatened species

Increasing post-fire weed control to protect regeneration efforts.

 

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