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Marsupial Society of Victoria

Autumn 2011

Marsupial Society of Victoria Reg No. A0034765K

MSoV Summer 2011

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Autumn Edition 2011 March, April, May

Welcome New Members G. Ogier, M and E Chettle, B Wilson

Marsupial Society

2011-2012 Committee

Reg No. A0034765K

President Amber Yarde

From The President............. 3

Vice President Doug Van Opijnen

of Victoria

Spot Lighting........................ 4

Membership Convenor Stephanie McKenzie

Handraising.......................... 5

Treasurer Andrew Yarde

Pure Species.......................... 8 Fencing for Macropods..... 10

WPTAC Representative Glen Rathjen

Marsupial Vets................... 14 Book List............................. 15

Exchange Steward Doug Van Opijnen Committee Members Mark Chettle

Objectives of the Marsupial Society of Victoria The Study of marsupials.

The promotion of hygienic keeping, scientific management and breeding of marsupials in captivity. The dissemination of information on marsupial keeping and hand rearing. The conservation of marsupials in the wild and the establishment of viable brreding populations in captivity. The representation and publication of the objectives of the Society to the Government and Community.

front cover image :: Red Neck Wallaby, Macropus rufogriseus. photo by Amber Yarde back cover image :: Lake Elizabeth, near to Forrest, Victoria. photo by Amber Yarde Page 2

MSoV Summer 2011


From The President Amber Yarde

What a wonderful way to start 2011. The Society has a new look magazine, thanks to the fresh eyes of Mark Chettle who has kindly taken on the job of design and printing of the seasonal publication. Welcome on board Steph McKenzie who will be our membership convenor. The Society is renewal period now with all memberships becoming due as of January 1st 2011. There is a renewal form enclosed with this edition, or it can be downloaded from the MSoV website. Welcome to our new members, G.Ogier, M. Chettle, E. Chettle and B. Wilson. This years Annual General Meeting was an informal event held after the Mornington Peninsula Bird Sale, which the Society is attending with a display. Doug has been talking to Mt Rothwell about the Society becoming more involved at the property and participating in animal surveys and catches at the property. This will evolve over time and we look forward to planning some event and spending sometime there. Glen has started to discuss WPTAC submission again. If any member has and ideas for species they wish to see added to the schedule please contact myself or Glen. We will plan to follow a similar process that we previously did. Once we have a list of species the committee or interested member will write submissions. Along with submission for adding species to the schedules DSE has ask for comment on the current wildlife regulations via submissions. The scope of the comments should identify.

Matters to be address in the new regulations: Problems, issues or gaps with the current regulations. Suggested changes/amendments to the current regulations; and any other relevant matters affecting the regulations. For any comments please call or email me amber@ vicmarsupial.org.au. The deadline for all submission is June 30 2011. We are planning a winter weekend away to Halls Gap to visit the Halls Gap Zoo from Friday July 29th through to Sunday July 31st. (See Promo on page 9) The Society attended the Herp Reptile Expo held at the show grounds handed out over 100 flyers. We had great visual display that had Doug busy all day chatting and passing on information to people about the Society and keeping marsupials. Over the year we will be up grading the MSoV website. This will include a full range of fact sheets and lots of photos. If you have any information, photos or keeper experiences please forward them to info@vicmarsupial.org.au

website :: www.vicmarsupial.org.au email :: info@vicmarsupial.org.au postage :: 2641 Colac Forrest Road, Forrest VIC 3249 exchange steward :: doug@vicmarsupial.org.au MSoV Summer 2011

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Spotlighting

Doug Van Opijnen Spotlighting native wildlife can be an entertaining pastime wether on your own, or with a group of friends, as the majority of wildlife is nocturnal. This makes night time the right time to view our amazing fauna. So what does one need to go out spotlighting? It can be done with as little as a house hold torch and venturing out in your back yard at night to see what’s about, or if you wish to be a bit more professional about it you can arm yourself, with a spotlight of quality costing hundreds of dollars. Available from shooting / sporting goods stores and some automotive retailers and of course on line, Better models will require a portable 12 volt DC battery as well. Make sure to obtain a sealed gel type to avoid messy and costly acid spills, your battery can be housed in a small canvas bag for ease of transportation.

Safety Note Disconnect your battery from your spotlight during transport as it may inadvertently turn on during transport and start a fire. Currently most are Quartz halogen or of the sealed beam variety, both work quite well, with the draw back of being rather power hungry. If you are on foot a model of around 30 to 50 watts would be best. Models of a 100 watts or more are best utilised in a vehicle or on very short

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excursions when spotlighting. If you are looking to purchase a new light. I would look at Lightforce and Powerbeam Brands. New to the market are LED lights. LED standing for light emitting diodes, these lights are much more energy efficient giving days of run time. Instead of hours with the current quartz halogen and sealed beam type. Currently there are very high performance LED lights being used by the military. These are three times more powerful than what is currently available to the public at the moment, The technology is starting to filter through to the domestic market.

What to look for in power ratings Lights are rated by two main methods. Candle power in which light is measured at the source its (radiance). And the more important rating. Lumens which refers to amount of light that strikes an object (luminance) now 70 lumens is quite bright available now are lights of 200+ can turn night into day with the most extreme at 1000+. These have issues with run times and require specialised batteries to keep them going.

Animal Welfare The nocturnal eyes of native wildlife are adapted to low light conditions many of them have a mirror like membrane situated behind the retina called the tapetum. This reflects the light we see when

MSoV Summer 2011


spotlighting. As with humans, exposure to higher light levels than what you are meant to have may damage your eyes. So don’t stare into the spotlight, thus don’t shine your light on animals with more sensitive eyes for prolonged or repeated times, to minimize any possible damage to the animal.

When looking for wildlife Hold the spotlight at your eye level to maximise, your chances of seeing a reflection of your quarries eyes. This is referred to as (eye shine) Searching from a vehicle will get you over more ground improving your chances. The thing to keep in mind when on foot while spotlighting is the J-curve after 20 minutes looking in one location your odds of seeing extra animals decreases dramatically as the animals move on after checking you out.

Handraising Amber Yarde

As private keepers of native animals it is rare that we regularly have the need to handraise a marsupial. For wildlife carers this task is second nature. My first experience and contact with the Marsupial Society was over the need to handraise a 45g ringtail possum. I knew the then President, who also had not experience with handraising any marsupial. She referred me to two other members of the Society and again they were unable to help with advice. Their comments were quite similar that they kept animals and never had the need to handraise anything. I was then referred to a member who was a wildlife carer. This member was a fantastic resource and I raised the little ringtail possum successfully and he lived to 9 years of age. I know now over the years as the Society has grown with a diverse membership base, our knowledge base has also expanded to the extent that there is always some to offer assistance for most situations.

It would be a good idea to wear sturdy boots and full length clothing as you will not be looking were you are going or were you are putting your feet. As trips and falls are to be expected. Also think about taking along a pair of binoculars for those perched high in a tree. Finally like most things that are fun a permit is required to spotlight native wildlife in Victoria. These can be obtained f rom t h e D e p ar t m e nt of Sustainability and Environment to be within the law.

handraising joey Northern Swamp Wallaby @ 4 months old MSoV Summer 2011

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So what do you do? I would always suggest to give it a go. However, giving it a go depends on a great deal of factors. What does the joey weigh? How many feeds will it need in a 24hr period? Do you have the ability to keep the joey warm? Do you have the equipment to feed the joey? The weight of the animal is a major factor in your decision to handraise, if the animal is too small your very best attempts to handraise may not be successful. Sometimes the decision to euthanasia an animal is the kindest. Saving it and yourself from a great deal of stress.

But consider, if you have a pair of animals chances are they will breed and there may be a slim chance that for whatever reason the female will throw her pouch young. If she does not take back the young into her pouch, you may be faced with the task of handraising the offspring.

How many feeds will the animal need in a 24 hr period. This is also an important factor at some growth stages feeding is required at regular time intervals around the clock. So you may have a few busy days and sleepless nights ahead. Keeping the animal warm. Again depending on the stage of its development, heat will usually be required. There are many options for warmth, pouches, hospital cages, heat mats, hot water bottles, your own body warmth, all of which I have seen employed, it simply comes down to what you have on hand or can get to do the job. Feeding equipment. Many pet shops, vet surgery’s or the chemist will stock the basics. Not necessarily specific to marsupials, but they will have some products that will get you by, until you can obtain a product more specific to your needs. For example, I have use feeding teats meant for kittens for possums until I have been able to get some possum specific teats. Food to feed, the quickest easiest option is DiVetelact, which is a low lactose animal formula. There are other fantastic products on the market however, in an emergency situation you many not find them as readily as a tin of Di-Vetelact.

handraising “Pascal” Northern Swamp Wallaby @ 7 months old Page 6

If your pet shop or vet does not have teats you can always find a supplier via the Wamabroo website www.wambaroo.com.au or Biolac site www. biolac.com.au. You will also find more specific

MSoV Summer 2011


milk formals for your animal and its different growth stages from both of these companies. For sugar gliders and possums your teats will fit on a 10ml syringe for easy feeding before the animal starts lapping and you can measure the amount being consumed. For macropods teats will fit on small feeding bottles, many of these will have a volume measurement.

“Lily� a Red Kangaroo joey.

Keeping the joey safe and warm. For gliders and possums a small cage is a good start. As they grow and become mobile a larger cage will be required. I constructed a cage for possums which can see them through all the stages until they can be put outside into a larger aviary. It can have fresh branches put in for food and climbing. Removable tray at the bottom for easy cleaning. Nest box attached to the side, with area for a heat lamp. Toileting, you will need to toilet the pouch young, this is very simple, once they have been fed, use a moist cotton bud or tissue, rub it over the animals cloaca which will simulate it, this way you will see the consistency of the faeces. Caring for Australian Wildlife. By Sharon White, has feeding charts or growth stages. Very self explanatory and I have found them a very valuable tool during my few handraising experiences. If raising a Ringtail, Brushtail or Sugar Glider, if you are keeping the animal, you will need to seriously consider giving it a new enclosure. Introductions back into the parents environment should be treated as introducing a new animal. The adults may not accept a new introduction. With macropods putting the handraised animal back into the group will be easier, when the joey does not require heat during the day and is on three milk feeds a day, you can start to graze it outside with the group, under observation from you. This will give the other animals a chance to accept and the introduction. Remember each situation is different, but always give it a go. It can be difficult at first, but extremely rewarding in the end.

See page 15 for special MSoV price on this book.

MSoV Summer 2011

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Pure Species Andrew Yarde

“After five generations you are considered to be pure again”, this seems to be a common misconception I have heard a few of our members say when discussing the topic of pure species. The fact is when hybridization occurs between two species no offspring produced from a hybrid no matter how many generations can ever be considered pure. Even though it may be visually indistinguishable from a species, genetically it will never pure. I think the lack of understanding of specific definitions is where the misconceptions in the conversations I hear and have been.

What is a Species A species is a taxonomic concept used in biology to refer to a population of organisms that are in some important way similar.

What is a Sub Species In taxonomy a sub species is the taxon immediately sub ordinate to a species. Members of one subspecies differ morphologically from other members of the species.

What is a Hybrid A hybrid is the result of interbreeding between two animals of a different species. Or interbreeding between subspecies.

What is a Breed A breed is a group of domestic animals with homogeneous appearance, behaviour and other characteristics that distinguish it from other animals of the same species. As keepers of Australian wildlife we have an obligation to keep our bloodlines pure. Luckily Page 8

most of the macropods species produce infertile offspring (refer Jackson pg 284). But the subspecies do not. For any responsible, respectful keeper of the few animals we are fortunate to keep, we must always endeavour and promote to keep all the species and subspecies pure. There are no percentages of purity when it comes to a species. An animal is either a pure species or it is not. The term pure is 100%. You cannot have a 50% or 97% pure animal. If the animals you have are not a 100% described species or a 100% described subspecies. It will never be, or can ever be bred back to be a pure species no matter what the animals looks like. Irresponsible breeding practices have seen the demise of the Queensland Sugar Gliders Petaurus breviceps longicaudatus in Victorian collections. There are animals out there that look physically like Queensland Sugar Gliders but their purity is always questionable. The other subspecies of concern is the Red Neck wallaby (mainland Australia) Macropus rufogriseus banksianus and the Bennetts wallaby (Tasmania) Macropus rufogriseus I have been to a number of wildlife parks where they suspect some of there animals to be Bennetts wallabies and still let them breed with their Red Necks. When the subject of “pure species” is raised I always hear the worrying comment “after breeding five generations you breed back to pure again” When breeding domestic animals such as livestock and pets there are many breeds of each. The five generations breeding concept is true with domesticated animals this is because domesticated animals are derived from a common ancestor. Through breeding selectively for size, colour, coat and temperament over thousands of years the wolf gave rise to most dog breeds from the Chihauhau

MSoV Summer 2011


to the Great Dane. Domestically for livestock, dogs and cats, we humans have manipulated and selectively bred simply for our own purposes, more wool, better meat, nicer temperament, in fact more money. With the marsupials we can keep in captivity, they have not been kept for long enough periods for any breeds to be developed. There are few mutations and colour mophs, the most common being albinos. When it comes to hybridizing you mess up the gene pool no matter how many generations of breed you can never bring it back to 100% pure. This is also true for subspecies. Subspecies should only be hybridized as a last resort to save a species for extinction. Hybridisation should never be done. There are concerns with hybridizing about animals having a different number of chromosomes. Animals being infertile. Aniamals having deformed reproductive organs. None of these are desirable outcomes. Hybridization does occasionally happen so the question is what should we do with the offspring? The answer is we should never breed from a hybrid so if it is male neutering is preferred, if it is a female we should never let it come into contact with a male. The problem with breeding from hybrids is that their offspring may not be visually distinguishable from either parent species. So a breeder sells the offspring as the species it is most closely resembles to an unsuspecting buyer. The buyer expects to be getting what he is paying for. The buyer mates it with his animals and now forever any offspring from this mating and its offspring is questionable and sadly if sold on the cycle continues.

Halls Gap Zoo MSoV Special Visit 29th to 31st July 2011 Halls Gap Zoo.Entry $20.00 Members planning to stay in Halls Gap need to find their own accommodation. Please contact Amber if you plan to attend.

Conservation is not the only saving pristine rainforest or a specific species from extinction it also means conserving the few species we are lucky enough to keep.

MSoV Summer 2011

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Fencing for Macropods Amber Yarde

There are many different ways to design and build fencing for macropods and many different types of materials you can consider using. The height of the fence and types of materials used will depend on a few things. Is it an external fence on a property line? Is it an internal fence to divide enclosures or paddocks? Does the fence need to keep predators out? What type of animals do you need to keep in? Once you have answered all these questions, what material should you use? Your choice materials may or will come down to price. But do consider what lifespan you want out of the fencing and how much maintaince it will need in the future. We decided to take some good advice which was

“plan to do the fence once� with as little future maintenance as possible; this then directed us towards the materials to use. Our fenced area is about 1.5 acres of a 10 acre property it is divided into three areas. One large paddock and two smaller paddocks. The paddocks have double gates to be able to get vehicles into each area with the small paddock to double as a holding or catching area for animals. We currently have Northern Swamp wallabies, Tasmanian pademelons and Rufous bettongs all in the one larger paddock. The fence was built at 6ft high with the view to keeping some kangaroos in the future. We also needed to keep predators out, mainly foxes. The materials we used where metal posts concreted into the ground at 4 metre spacings. There are 3 strainers of high tensile wire (allowed to be a bit loose) for attaching the 6ft cyclone wire to. (as shown here to the left). The external fence had 3ft vermin wire attached to the bottom strainer, folded into and attached

80m row of metal posts concreted and ready for the wire mesh. Page 10

MSoV Summer 2011


to the cyclone wire. We decided not to dig the remaining 2.5ft of wire into the ground as we had such a larger area, instead in a zigzag pattern every 30cm we pegged the wire down with V shaped pegs about 15cm in length, made from the high tensile wire that was used for the strainers. Vermin wire, looks like chicken wire but has a heavier gauge than the chicken wire.

the wire being added to the 3 paddocks.

We electrified the top of the fence using a solar battery system (as shown here to the left), which is attached to the single strand wire with isolators holding it from the fence. (below left). To protect the gate area a removable isolator was used. (below right) Under all the gates and area was dug out and concreted 10cm down by 20cm wide, to avoid anything digging in.

predator proof skirt. MSoV Summer 2011

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Pictured above is a fully fenced 5 acre property with internal fencing which houses large, medium and small macropods. On the same property holding area and catching area is a small fenced area that also allows vehicles to travel easily into and between the separate areas. (pictured here to the bottom left) Treated pine posts are more commonly used for fence posts with a range of sizes commercially

available. Also a large range of wire is commercially available depending on the types of fence you need. With larger macropods, ring lock wire, similar to wire that would used for deer fencing could be used. Post and rail fencing can be used for smaller macropods; the fence pictured an internal fence on a member’s 5 acre property. The external fence on this property is vermin proof.

doubled gated area for catching animals and vehicle access. Page 12

internal fencing between paddocks

MSoV Summer 2011


The internal fence shown is constructed of treated pine posts with a top rail approximately 5ft high. 4ft high chicken wire with strainers, this fence houses, Swamp wallabies, Tammar wallabies and Red neck wallabies. (pictured here to the bottom right of the previous page). With some fences you may consider to have an external or internal over hang as picture in the diagram, this fence design has added shade cloth for further protection for bettongs. It also has wire dug 30cm into the ground. This fence was built by a member as a small enclosure. Our “fort knox” for a fence did not hold in the Bettongs, they dug out regularly. But I must add they always dug back in. So the and internal skirt of chicken wire was attached internally to the fencing, this has kept the Bettongs from getting out. You don’t need acreage to keep some of the smaller wallabies. Some suburban backyards with metal colour bond fencing around the permitters allow for some predator protection. If you have secure colour bond fencing consider constructing a smaller night area for the animals that you know predators cannot get it.

Proposed Macropod Enclosure—Specifications

Eastern Grey, Red Neck Wallabies and Tammar Wallabies feeding.

So, if you are planning to construct a fence on a large or small scale. I hope some these ideas helped get the project underway.

90 cm Wire Netting

180 cm Wire Netting

o l

100—125 Diam. T.P. Post 2.4 m— 600 mm in ground

90 cm Shade Cloth as visible barrier

30 cm Wire Netting

MSoV Summer 2011

Ground Line

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Vets for Your Marsupials Not all vets are confident with marsupials, to avoid any confusion ring the clinic, tell them your problem and ask to see a vet that can help you with your particular animal. Avonsleigh Vet Clinic

Castlemaine Vet Clinic

Kyabram Vet Clinic

Altona Nth Vet Clinic

Highbury Vet Clinic

Springvale Vet Clinic

Karingal Vet Hosptial

Warranwood Vet ClinicÂ

441 Belgrave-Gembrook Rd Avonsleigh Ph: 5968 3957 Dr Peter Cameron 221 Millers Rd Altona Nth Ph: 9391 5837

Ballarat Vet Clinic

Dr Richard Lawrence Sturt St Ballarat Ph: 5331 1533

Camperdown Vet Clinic 1 Leura St Camperdown Ph: 55931077

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16 Templeton St Castlemaine Ph: 5470 6300

128 Highbury Rd Burwood Ph: 9808 9011

Ph: 9789 3444 Dr Shane Simpson (also @ Aspendale Gardens Vet Clinic)

Kingston Vet Clinic

32 Lower-Dandenong Rd Mentone Ph: 9584 7500Â

MSoV Summer 2011

77 McCormick Rd Kyabram Ph: 5982 2244 570 Springvale Rd Springvale Sth Ph: 9546 5022

Dr Brendan Carmel 2/1 Colman Road Warranwood Ph: 9879 0900


MSoV Books for Sale Book Title

Author

A Guide to Wildlife Sounds(with CD) Elliott Attracting Butterflies to Your Garden Clyne Attracting Birds to Your Garden Dengate Attracting Frogs to Your Garden Casey Australian Bird Garden Pizzey Australian Native Gardening Made Easy Chadwick Care of Australian Wildlife Walraven Caring for Australian Native Birds Parsons Caring for Possums Smith Field Guide to Mammals of Australia Menkhorst Fox Control Frain Green Guide to Mammals of Australia Lindsey How to Photograph Animals in the Wild Rue How to Photograph Close-ups in Nature Rotenberg Kangaroos (UNSW) Dawson Green Guide - Kangaroos & Wallabies of Australia Robinson Melbourne’s Wildlife Slattery Mountain Pygmy Possum (UNSW) Mansergh Photographic Guide Mammals of Australia Strahan Prehistoric Mammals: Australia/NG Flannery et al Secret Life of Wombats Woodford Tadpoles of South-Eastern Australia Anstis Tracks, Scats and Other Traces Triggs Wildlife on Farms: How to Conserve Native Animals Life of Marsupials Tyndale-Biscoe Mammals of Australia Strahan

RRP

MSOV

$52.95 $24.95 $35.95 $16.40 $39.95 $29.95 $24.95 $26.95 $21.95 $42.95 $36.95 $18.95 $52.95 $43.95 $39.95

$48.00 $20.00 $30.00 $12.00 $34.00 $25.00 $20.00 $20.00 $18.00 $38.00 $32.00 $15.00 $46.00 $38.00 $32.00

$18.95 $39.95 $24.95 $19.95 $75.00 $24.95 $59.95 $42.95 $34.95 $99.95 $149.95

$15.00 $35.00 $20.00 $15.00 $69.95 $20.00 $52.00 $37.00 $29.00 $89.95 $120.00

Enquires or Orders :: Contact MSoV Amber Yarde - 03 5236 6376 amber@vicmarsupial.org.au Postage and Handling extra. All Prices shown include GST. Make Cheques payable to MSoV - Some books are subject to availability MSoV Summer 2011

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MSoV Summer 2011

Marsupial Society of Victoria - Autumn 2011  

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