Newsupdate no. 68 – September 2015 Captive Western Ground Parrot Update – from the Perth Zoo Back in May a considerable amount of work was undertaken to enhance the Western Ground Parrot facility at Perth Zoo, in preparation for the 2015 breeding season. To keep the birds safe while works on the facility were underway, the five birds were relocated (Fig 1) to customised temporary holding enclosures (Fig 2) at the Zoo’s vet department that were generously funded by the Friends of the Western Ground Parrots.
Figure 1: (left) In safe hands – Zephyr’s transfer to temporary holding enclosures at the Perth Zoo’s Vet Department, during works. Figure 2:(above) CCTV cameras were used to monitor the birds while they were housed in the temporary holding enclosures. As part of the facility enhancements, over 36 cubic meters of substrates were shifted from inside and around the outside of the aviaries (18 cubic meters of leaf litter, mulch and soil was replaced with 18 cubic meters of white washed sand (Fig 3) ) to reduce organic matter in the area to help minimise Aspergillus load. Aspergillus is a common fungus that can be found on decayed plant matter. Over 200 new plants were planted in the aviaries (Fig 3), the fibreglass roof sheeting was replaced with new polycarbonate to boost light levels and a new much improved CCTV system (Fig 4) comprising over 350 meters of cat 6 cable, 12 new 5 MP cameras and four microphones were installed in addition to the existing 14 analogue cameras. A transportable office building was also craned into position to accommodate the new CCTV system and food preparation requirements. Funding for the CCTV modifications were paid for by the Perth Zoo, using funds freed up by the provision of $40,000 in funding from the Commonwealth Department of Environment to cover husbandry costs and to enable better understanding of the habits of the Ground Parrots (see http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/publications/factsheetground-parrot.)
Upon returning the birds to the aviaries, changes to pairings and housing arrangements were made. Male Zephyr and female Fifi (Fig 5) have been paired. Male Joy and female Dawn, who attempted breeding at the Department of Parks and wildlife’s (DPaW) south coast facility in 2011 and 2012, have been paired. This leaves male Brutus in an aviary by himself so as to minimise disruption to breeding efforts of the two pairs. Two enthusiastic volunteers from the Friends of the Western Ground Parrot, Bonnie Tuck and Delia Grochowski, have also been enlisted to assist with the review of recorded CCTV footage. The aviary enhancements, changes to pairings and greatly improved CCTV monitoring system have staff eagerly awaiting the upcoming breeding season. Breeding of this species is still not fully understood and Perth Zoo staff are investing a great deal of time watching their behaviour, social interactions and dietary preferences to help unlock the cryptic breeding habits of this shy species. The two pairs (male Joy female Dawn, and male Zephyr female Fifi) are being provided with the very best conditions to encourage breeding and although it’s still early in the season there have been some encouraging signs of pair compatibility with both pairs feeding together on the food trays; and female Dawn has begun copulation solicitation to male Joy.
Figure 3(left): Refurbished aviary - New plants and two of the overhead 5 mega pixel IP cameras. Figure 4(above): Daily CCTV review - Perth Zoo's Matt Ricci undertaking the daily CCTV review to monitor the birds’ health and behaviour. Figure 5(below): New CCTV camera night vision - Male Zephyr (left) and female Fifi early morning feed.
Friends of the Western Ground Parrot’s Annual General Meeting Our AGM will be held on Thursday, 15 October starting at 2:30pm. As in previous years the venue is going to be the South Coast NRM conference facilities at 39 Mercer Road in Albany, which have been made available to us again at no cost. Sarah Comer, Chair of the South Coast Threatened Birds Recovery Team, will provide an update about the Recovery Project. We look forward to seeing you there!
Committee Our Treasurer, Steve Waddington, is not well, and sadly, had to step back from carrying out his duties. At its recent meeting the committee appointed Secretary Anne Bondin as acting Treasurer. Anne has agreed to carry out the Treasurer's duties until the AGM. The committee also appointed Liz Tanner from Albany as a new committee member. Liz is working in natural resource management and is very passionate about birds. With our AGM less than a month away we would like to encourage members to nominate for committee membership. Please don't let the fact that you live in Perth or other parts of the state discourage you as teleconferencing is available for committee meetings thanks to the Department of Parks and Wildlife.
Membership fees This is also a reminder to those of you who have yet to pay their annual membership fee. Unless we receive your $10 payment, your membership will expire by the end of the month. You can pay by direct deposit into the Friends of the Western Ground Parrot bank account with Westpac Albany BSB: 036168 A/C: 298423, and let us know please that you have made the transfer. Please get in touch with us if you have paid your membership fee, but have not received a confirmation from us. This may be due to the fact that the transfer information provided by your bank did not include your name. We have received at least half a dozen payments with transfer details such as Whitford City, Spearwood etc but no name, making it impossible for us to know whose membership fee it is. We received two deposits at the start of this month which we believe to be donations, but again the transfer information provided by the bank did not include a name. We would like the generous donors to contact us so we can issue a tax receipt.
Secrets at Sunrise As you would know from Brenda Newbey's update in the previous newsletter, the production of the documentary “Secrets at Sunrise” has now reached a stage where we need to think about raising funds for the post production process which includes the editing of the footage. We intend to approach Lotterywest in the hope that some of the funding can come from their organisation and we are going to look for philanthropic support from Australian companies. We are also assisting Jennene in approaching foreign broadcasters pre-sale in the hope of getting perhaps a British, German or Scandinavian TV channel will take an interest in the documentary. You are probably aware that the Documentary Australia Foundation has accepted the film project and assists with the raising of funds by providing a donation website for tax-deductible donation. However, the foundation does not contribute any funds itself, they have to be raised by film-maker Jennene Riggs and ourselves. So if you are passionate about seeing the documentary about the Western Ground Parrot on air, please make a tax-deductible donation to the fund: https://www.documentaryaustralia.com.au/films/816/secrets-at-sunrise
World Animal Day Event The City of Melville has invited us to participate in their lunchtime event at Piney Lakes on Friday, 2 October. We will join Project Numbat, Kaarakin and others and will have an information stall between 12:15 and 1:30 pm. Recent photo from Secrets at Sunrise â€“ Perth Zoo vet staff Katja Geschke (left) and Kate Simon-Menasse examining one of the captive birds.
Many thanks to our members Judy and John Blyth who have volunteered their time to be at the display.
We are nearly at the end of another WGP year with the Annual General Meeting coming up in October. It would be great to see members early at the AGM to join your outgoing committee for a tea or coffee and a chat, prior to the meeting. Our recent committee meeting was held on Wednesday 9 September, when special guest Sarah Comer, Regional Ecologist with Department of Parks and Wildlife, updated us on the monitoring of the Western Ground Parrot and gave a brief outline of future programs. The outline also included the work being undertaken by the Perth Zoo. The Friends were represented at the recent National Threatened Species Day held on 6 September in Fremantle, together with 7 other stall holders from either vulnerable or threatened species. Although the day was not a financial success, I am sure the "awareness" of the plight of the Western Ground Parrot was improved. It is very pleasing to see the extent of the children's awareness of the WGP and the knowledge they display of the environment in general. Most children were heard to say "I must tell Miss so & so at school tomorrow." Thanks go to the volunteers who assisted on our stand. Recently, Sarah Comer (as mentioned above) gave a presentation to the Goldfield's Naturalist Club. From all accounts, the presentation was well received and press releases in the Kalgoorlie and Esperance papers followed. Once again this meets an objective of our association: that is, to raise awareness about the Western Ground Parrot. We will again have a small stand at the WA Threatened Species Forum to be held on 2 October at City of Melville buildings at Piney Lakes. Show your support and visit the event, which is very worthwhile. You can pick up a copy of our Western Ground Parrot CD, kindly sponsored by a grant from the South Coast Natural Resource Management. Be sure also to grab some postcards for Christmas; which is not too far away. There is still much to be done in raising awareness of the WGP which, of course, takes funding. The committee is very active in this regard. If any members have the opportunity to "push our wheelbarrow" for funding, please do so as every dollar helps. Hope to see many of you at the Annual general meeting in October.
A Feral Cat Management Webcast by Stephen Fryc This is webcast is an excellent resource that helps outline the current ‘state of play’ of feral cat management. The webcast, as well as a transcript of the session: “Feral cat approaches”, approaches” is available on the Threatened Species Summit website at:
Raising awareness about the Western Ground Parrot, on National Threatened Species Day 2015, at Fremantle. Photo Dave Taylor.
A Special Thank You The Friends would sincerely like to thank the State Natural Resource Management for their generous grant to have a Western Ground Parrot costume made. The mascot is nearing completion and should be ready to show at the AGM. Are there any volunteers that could wear the suit for the occasion? We would also like to thank the South Coast Natural Resource Management for assisting with the additional cost of printing extra brochures. The Friends of the WGP are truly grateful for the support from these agencies. Contacts: David Taylor (Chair). Phone 0458502836
Anne Bondin (Secretary). ). Phone (08) 9844 1793
Address: PO Box 5613, Albany, WA 6332
Website: http://www.western-ground-parrot.org.au parrot.org.au Archive: Previous issues of our newsletter are available online at http://wgpnewsletters.blogspot.com/
Editor: Stephen Fryc Email: email@example.com
Next issue: December 2015