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S.E. QLD Wildlife Rehabilitators

WILDLIFE NEWS A monthly magazine

August issue 5

Photo: Australian Geographic

OUR MARINE LIFE IS IN SERIOUS TROUBLE!


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Photo: Col Limpus

I remember the first time I saw a Turtle in the ocean. It was off Morton Island in 2001. I felt so privileged to see such an amazing animal, so close. It was on a beautiful May evening and there was the turtle, just playing in the ocean. I’m not sure what species it was, but that didn’t matter at the time. I had never seen a turtle before. Let’s hope that through conservation and legislation that these beautiful creatures will be around for future generations to enjoy on a lovely May evening too. Ed Thanks to DEHP website for this information.

Common name: Green turtle Scientific name: Chelonia mydas Family: Cheloniidae

around the carapace (shell) and flippers. There are four costal scales on each side of the carapace . A mature green turtle can grow to a carapace length of more than one metre and weigh on average 150 kg. The green turtle is named for the greenish colour of its fat, created by its diet of seagrass. Green turtles occur in seaweed-rich coral reefs and coastal seagrass pastures in tropical and subtropical areas of Australia. In Australia there are seven separate genetic management units for the green turtle, and three of these occur in Queensland. The entire Great Barrier Reef area is an important feeding area for turtles which nest locally, as well as for those which nest in other regions and countries.

Green turtles that nest on the Conservation status: this species is Australian coast migrate from listed as Vulnerable in Queensland numerous feeding grounds dispersed (Nature Conservation Act 1992) and though Indonesia, Papua New nationally (Environment Protection Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, and Biodiversity Conservation Act Fiji and New Caledonia as well as 1999). it is ranked as a critical from Queensland, Northern Territory priority under the Department of and western Australia. They make Resource Management Back on long migrations between feeding Track species prioritisation grounds and nesting beaches. framework. Migrations recorded from nesting beaches in the southern Great Barrier Description: Green turtles are olive- Reef have exceeded 2600 km but the green above, usually variegated with average migration is about 400 km. brown, reddish-brown and black. They are whitish or cream below. In Queensland, the southern Great Hatchlings are shiny black above and Barrier Reef has 13 major rookeries, white below, with white margins including North West, Wreck, RESCUE NEWS

Hoskyn, and Heron Islands. Nesting occurs between late November and January in southern Queensland. The northern Great Barrier Reef has five major rookeries, including Raine Island and nearby cays, and Bramble Cay in the Torres Strait. The southeastern Gulf of Carpentaria has three major rookeries at Bountiful, Pisonia and Rocky Islands. It takes a female green turtle 30-40 years to reach maturity. In general, female green turtles lay about 115 round, ping-pong ball sized, parchment-shelled eggs, per clutch. Each nesting season she returns to the beach to nest an average of five times at fortnightly intervals. Diet: Adult green turtles feed mostly on seaweeds, seagrasses (e.g. Halophila ovata) and mangrove fruits, although immature green turtles are carnivorous. Commercial harvesting of green turtles in southern Queensland was closed down in 1950 in response to scientific community and Government concerns over the depleted population. The upward trend in the southern Great Barrier Reef green turtle population, as indicated by nesting numbers at the principal index beach of Heron Island, shows a three times increase in the annual nesting population after approximately one turtle generation since closure of


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commercial harvesting in 1950. This is one of the few green turtle populations of the world that is showing a strong increase in response to conservation measures.

Greater than 90% of all marine turtle nesting in eastern Australia south of Torres Strait occurs in Queensland National Parks or Conservation Parks. 97% of the east coast of Queensland from Cape York to the New South Wales border is within Marine Parks, providing habitat protection of turtle foraging habitat and migratory routes.

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Although the green turtle population is recovering, they are still threatened by unsustainable hunting, boat strike, and drowning in crab pots. •

This is a conservation success story worthy of celebration! It is the result of strong species protection, strong habitat protection (National Parks and Marine Parks), and fisheries managed to reduce bycatch. •

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Unsustainable hunting: Hunting of green turtles removes individuals and the harvest of eggs affects recruitment. There is also considerable concern over the unsustainable numbers of green turtles being harvested in neighbouring countries and within northern Australian waters. Boat strike: Boat strike can kill green turtles especially in estuaries, sandy straits and shallow inshore areas, and damage increases with boat speed. Damage to the shell may lead to death or disruption to feeding or breeding regime. Crab pots: Green turtles get tangled and drown in commercial and recreational crab pots and their float lines. Trap types that cause an impact include round crab pots, collapsible pots, and spanner crab traps.

The FV Margiris Super Trawler. © Pierre Gleizes/Greenpeace. It’s super-sized, super-destructive and its trail of devastation is coming to an ocean near you!

One of the world’s largest fishing boats, the Dutch-owned FV Margiris, At Mon Repos Conservation Park has just finished fishing out the and Heron Island National Park, waters off West Africa, where it Department of Environment and hammered already-exploited fish Heritage Protection (EHP) staff stocks and left it even harder for protect turtle nests during the nesting local fishers to catch fish. Now, an season, carry out research and Australian Fishing company, monitoring, and raise public Seafish Tasmania, want this awareness. THE THREAT TO OUR factory trawler to plunder for In order to reduce the impacts of OCEANS IS VERY REAL. small fish that are critical to trawler fishermen on all marine marine ecosystems in waters off turtles, the Queensland I recently received an e mail from a Tasmania. Government initiated a rebate friend regarding the Super Trawler scheme until 2010 to help fishermen FV Margiris. By the time you read Ironically, after the fish are caught start using more effective by-catch this article it will have already, they’ll be sold to African countries reduction devices on their nets. probably, entered our waters. This for human consumption for a measly These include turtle exclusion vessel is yet another nail in the coffin $1/kg devices (TEDs), which are a grid of that marine conservationists can do bars at the neck of a trawl net that without, let alone the marine life It’s difficult to fathom the size of this catches turtles and allows them to itself. This super trawler is likely to giant vessel - at 142 metres long and escape through an opening at the top to catch not only the tiny fish it’s nearly 9500 tonnes it makes most or bottom of the net. after but also by-products including Australian fishing boats look like bath toys. A floating factory and Dolphins. Read on. ED RESCUE NEWS


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freezer, it can process over 240 tonnes (that’s 240,000 kilograms) of fish PER DAY and can store 6.2 MILLION kilograms of fish cargo. But the devouring net of the super trawler won’t just catch small fish. Dolphins, seals and seabirds will likely be accidental victims of this massive trawler. The ‘excluder devices’ designed to protect threatened species are in no way guaranteed to work for a net this size. Even the species spared from the net will feel the destruction of this factory trawler. The small fish it scoops up are a vital food source for critically endangered southern bluefin tuna, rare marine mammals, seabirds and other big fish that are important ecologically, as well as to recreational and other commercial fishers.

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THE BEAUTIFUL SEA COW - DUGONGS! The first time I ever saw a Dugong was in 2006. I was on a weekend camping trip to Rainbow Beach and just by chance I was lucky enough to see a lone Dugong playing in the surf. To be honest I initially thought I was looking at a shark but low and behold it wasn’t. So, mesmerised I watched this beautiful creature playing for almost an hour, and then it vanished. I will never forget that experience, it was magic. The only other time I have seen Dugong is at Sydney Aquarium last year. It’s possible to get up close and personal with them through the under-water viewing areas and whilst this obviously isn’t their natural environment it does do an amazing job in helping to educate us about these animals and how beautiful, graceful and important they are and how we must do everything we can to not only protect them but also their feeding grounds, the forests of sea-grass. Save the habitat - save the species. This article is dedicated to all those who are currently campaigning on behalf of the Dugong. Ed International trade in dugongs is banned by its listing on Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) . The species is found within the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority is currently working with other agencies in an effort to halt the decline in the dugong . An action plan is also in place for the species , and in Australia a system of 16 Dugong Protection Areas, where there are key populations, has been established, and there is ongoing research into the dugong’s distribution and behaviour. However, the IUCN report that little effective management intervention has yet been put in place to reduce the human impacts on the dugong . Measures such as the protection of its seagrass habitat will be crucial if this gentle ‘mermaid of the sea’ is to survive .

Tooni Mahto Marine Campaigner Lets hope our Ministers decide our marine eco-structure is more valuable than a short term, fast buck! They could prevent this vessel from operating in our waters and potentially causing marine mahem. Ed

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Dugong forelimb - source wikipedia

WHAT THREATS ARE THERE TO THE DUGONG? Because dugongs are long-lived and slow to mature, population growth is extremely slow. Even under optimal conditions, the population can only ever increase by 5% a year. When dugong habitat is reduced, due to increased coastal development or large-scale flooding events, females respond by producing less young. Despite the establishment of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and the increase in marine sanctuaries from 5% to 33% in 2004, dugongs still face a number of threats on the reef and across northern Australia. When combined, these threats could have significant impact on the survival of dugongs and inhibit their recovery. Threats to dugongs include: • incidental capture in fishing gear • boat strike • ingestion and entanglement in marine debris • illegal hunting • unsustainable traditional hunting • coastal development reducing seagrass habitat • poor water quality from pesticide and nutrient run-off into the Great Barrier Reef • the loss of seagrass habitat from large-scale flood events, predicted sea level rise and climate change

What is WWF-Australia doing to protect dugongs?

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WWF-Australia is: • campaigning to reduce coastal development and increase habitat protection in key seagrass feeding and breeding areas through improved regulatory protection, increased funding and increased protected areas (expanding no-nets and go-slow zones)

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protected throughout their range, but their populations are still in a tenuous state. Some believe that dugongs were the inspiration for ancient seafaring tales of mermaids and sirens. Source National Geographic

• working with our Indigenous communities and respective traditional owner organisations and clan groups in building their capacity to better manage, protect and conserve sustainable dugong populations. • working to ban key pesticides that contaminate the Great Barrier Reef and other waterways and marine areas, where they pose unacceptable risks to people and wildlife, including dugongs, plus working with farmers to improve reef water quality.

DUGONG FACTS.... These enormous vegetarians can be found in warm coastal waters from East Africa to Australia, including the Red Sea, Indian Ocean, and Pacific. Dugongs are related to manatees and are similar in appearance and behavior— though the dugong's tail is fluked like a whale's. Both are related to the elephant, although the giant land animal is not at all similar in appearance or behavior. Dugongs graze on underwater grasses day and night, rooting for them with their bristled, sensitive snouts and chomping them with their rough lips. These mammals can stay underwater for six minutes before surfacing. They sometimes breathe by "standing" on their tail with their heads above water. Dugongs spend much of their time alone or in pairs, though they are sometimes seen gathered in large herds of a hundred animals.

Fast Facts Type: Mammal Diet: Herbivore Average life span in the wild: 70 years Size: 8 to 10 ft (2.4 to 3 m) Weight: 510 to 1,100 lbs (231 to 499 kg) Group name: Herd Protection status: Threatened Size relative to a 6-ft (2-m) man:

Female dugongs have one calf after a yearlong pregnancy, and the mother helps her young reach the surface and take its first breath. A young dugong remains close to its mother for about 18 months, sometimes catching a ride on her broad back. These languid animals make an easy target for coastal hunters, and they were long sought for their meat, oil, skin, bones, and teeth. Dugongs are now legally

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SHARK BAY, WESTERN AUSTRALIA After half an hour of cruising, and numerous sightings of dolphins and turtles, we still haven't spotted a mermaid. Suddenly, Nick shouts and points to a spot straight ahead of the boat. I see nothing, however. And I'm starting to doubt whether these creatures, reported by mariners for centuries, exist. Then, miraculously, one appears beside the catamaran. I glimpse something surfacing and then a distinctive mermaid tail rises out of the water as this strange being dives. "You can see why a desperate sailor who's been at sea in a leaky wooden ship for six months could glimpse this strange entity in the distance and convince himself that it was half woman, half fish," Nick says. "But up close it's not that seductive, is it?" The "mermaid" I've been seeking is, of course, a dugong, the creature many believe gave rise to the mermaid myth. The dugong also has the unflattering title of sea cow because it grazes on sea grass. Sea cow is surely not a name that would appeal to any self-respecting mermaid. A dugong can weigh up to 400 kilograms. "This area supports 10 per cent of the world's dugong population," Nick says. Suddenly there are dugongs all around our boat. Dugongs can't hold their breath for long and need to surface regularly for air. While these gentle vegetarian mammals may not be drop-dead gorgeous, they are certainly loveable as they forage with their young in the shallow waters of the bay. Because they surface so regularly, dugongs are frequently hit by boats. The local Yadgalah Aboriginal people are working with the DEC on a research program to help protect dugongs. The program involves RESCUE NEWS

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attaching a GPS tag above a dugong's fluke. To do this, Aboriginal men leap from fast-moving, inflatable craft to capture the bulky dugongs, a tactic that takes immense skill. They can catch and tag a dugong in the water in just 15 minutes. Satellite tracking of dugongs has revealed their favourite feeding grounds and has led to the creation of sanctuaries with restricted boat access. The affinity local Aboriginal people have with wildlife such as dugongs makes me want to discover more about their culture, so I take a morning walking tour with guide Darren "Capes" Capewell through the bush behind Monkey Mia. "Shark Bay, or Gutharragudu as we call it, is where the red desert meets the white ocean sand, creating great beauty and a unique environment," Capewell says. "I try to get people to understand the connection to country and how country talks to you." Capewell speaks to his ancestors as we walk and asks dangerous snakes not to harm us, using the local Aboriginal language. He stops abruptly as we enter a track that climbs into the hills overlooking Shark Bay. "That bird call means there's a snake around," he says. Not long afterwards, we spot a brown snake disappearing under a rock. Capewell draws us into the Aboriginal perspective as he shows us animal tracking and the uses of medicinal plants. We learn how to catch rainwater in shells and make a shelter from an acacia tree. He also teaches us how to rub sand on our hands to introduce ourselves to country. "I do this wherever I go, out of respect," he says. "We rub the red desert sand over babies to make them

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strong and so the country will look after them." We learn that it's not just how the country looks but how it feels. "We should understand and feel the deep Aboriginal spiritual connection to this land," Capewell says. "Why do people travel overseas for spiritual experiences, when in Australia we can learn from the spiritual tradition of the planet's oldest inhabitants?" It's a good question. The writer was a guest of Monkey Mia Dolphin Resort, Monkey Mia Wildsights and Wula Guda Nyinda Aboriginal Eco Adventures.

MEDIA REPORT Four traditional owner groups have agreed not to hunt dugong for the next five years and limit their take of green turtles to 20 a year. The groups, from central Queensland, imposed the bans after negotiations with the state government, says Environment Minister Vicky Darling. The announcement comes amid a spike in deaths for both endangered species, with many blamed on starvation after this year's floods wiped out seagrass beds. The agreement covers waters from Burrum Heads, south of Bundaberg, to Curtis Island off Gladstone, a distance of several hundred kilometres. Ms Darling said the floods had had a devastating effect on sea grasses in the region, a primary food source for dugong and sea turtles. "That's why we are seeing increased numbers of strandings and deaths of these animals this year and anything we can do to stem the numbers of deaths is more than welcome," she said in a statement. Under the Native Title Act, traditional owners have the right to 7


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hunt dugong and sea turtles, which are both protected species. Under the self-imposed ban, the Gooreng Gooreng, Gurang, Taribelang Bunda and Bailai people have temporarily given up that right. Earlier this week, wildlife campaigner Bob Irwin called for a moratorium on traditional hunting to address a significant drop in the populations of both endangered species. Ms Darling said the agreement would help traditional owner groups manage their seafood resources and monitor their waters for illegal poachers. "These are real outcomes for sustainable hunting that are occurring right now through genuine engagement with Traditional Owners." Last month, the government revealed 649 turtle deaths had been reported in the first seven months of 2011 - up more than 200 on the same period last year. It also said 96 dugongs had washed up dead on the state's coastline in the first seven months of this year, compared with 79 for the whole of 2010. Researchers have said the actual toll would be much higher, as those are only the animals that have been found. Starvation as a result of the recent natural disasters is being blamed for many of the deaths. But the conservation group WWF says both species are suffering from broader threats including coastal development and boat strikes from a dramatic ramp up in shipping activity related to the mining boom and other industries. Source- Brisbane Times , Sept 2011

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WHO’S WATCHING OUT FOR THE DUGONGS? The Seagrass-Watch program, established in 1998 as an initiative of the Queensland Department of Primary Industries and the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, involves local community groups in mapping and monitoring seagrass habitats vital for fisheries, turtles and dugongs. Seagrass-Watch programs have been established in Hervey Bay, the Whitsundays, Townsville and Cairns, and more recently in the Moreton Bay Marine Park to provide an important early warning of changes to seagrass habitat in each region. Mapping of seagrass communities by trained community volunteers and seagrass researchers resulted in the successful mapping of 22% of the sites in a detailed baseline survey of Hervey Bay and Great Sandy Straits region in December 1998. Long-term monitoring sites, including areas of high impacts and 'control' sites, have been established at over forty locations throughout Queensland. These sites are monitored by over 300 volunteers. Moreton Bay Marine Park provides an important habitat for dugong. Moreton Bay is the southern-most limit for dugong in Queensland. Most dugong in the Bay are located on the eastern side where water quality is high and extensive seagrass beds are found. Moreton Bay Marine Park is the only place in the world where large numbers of these shy creatures can be found near a major city. Moreton Bay is a focus for recreational activity in south-east Queensland. Maintaining the habitat quality for dugongs in Moreton Bay in the face of increasing pressure is a major challenge for dugong conservation. rescue news


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People are encouraged to report any dead, sick or injured dugong by calling 1300 360 898 any time. Coastcare is a program of the Commonwealth Government's Natural Heritage Trust, in partnership with State/Territory and Local Governments. For more information on Coastcare or to join a Coastcare group, please call Environment Australia's Community Information Unit on 1800 803 772 or visit the web site at: www.ea.gov.au/coasts/coastcare

Dugong herd at Moreton Bay

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EXTINCT REALLY IS FOREVER I have recently been doing a bit of research into the endangered, threatened and vulnerable fauna of our great land. I have to say that I was shocked to learn that since these type of records have been kept, 27 mammal species have become extinct, 23 species of birds and 4 species of frogs - gone, forever.

Eastern Hare Wallaby - EXTINCT

We could also have kissed goodbye to the Mary River Cod (endangered) a n d t h e M a r y R i v e r Tu r t l e (endangered) if the Traveston Dam project had been approved. Quite honestly, I cannot understand how it even got as far as it did, given the species status - or are they only endangered when there’s not a reason to destroy their habitat? Looks a bit convenient to me. I started to think that maybe it was because fish and turtles are not cute and cuddly so who would care? But then I thought a little bit beyond this scenario. People have been campaigning for years to get the koala registered as threatened/ vulnerable/endangered and only this year has all that hard work started to pay off....as a species, we don’t seem to learn from our mistakes - and money, land development etc is usually the motivation for not really worrying what the consequence is for the fauna.

Southern Gastric Brooding Frog - EXTINCT

Norfolk Island Kaka - EXTINCT

Every day, there are thousands of displaced birds, animals and reptiles all in the name of human progress. Every day, we allow the destruction of habitat in the name of human progress. Save the habitat - Save the species. Ed Toolache Wallaby - EXTINCT

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DISEASES IN BIRDS Lorikeet Paralysis Syndrome (LPS)

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determine how long the birds may Exercising the clenched foot by live with the clenched feet. opening it to its normal shape and then "bicycling" the legs 2 - 3 times daily may be beneficial

5. In which bird species is 1. What is Lorikeet Paralysis LPS seen? Syndrome (LPS)? It is commonly seen in wild rainbow LPS is a syndrome seen in lorikeets lorikeets though it may be seen in all as a sudden onset of paralysis in both types of aviary and pet lorikeets as legs (bilateral) and/or clenched feet. well. The syndrome is also often called Clenched Foot Syndrome.

2.What is the cause of LPS? The cause is unknown. In some cases an encephalomyelitis of possible viral origin has been suspected. Other suspected causes are vitamin deficiencies with some suggestions that vitamin E deficiency is involved.

3. What are the clinical signs of LPS in the acute form? Signs include clenched feet and general weakness. The generalised weakness may be due to the inability to eat and drink adequately. A significant number of birds may die in the first 24 - 48 hours and up to the first week.

6. How is LPS identified in lorikeets? A diagnosis is made by excluding other causes of bilateral paralysis. These include trauma, lead poisoning, swollen kidneys, heavy metal poisoning, organophosphate poisoning, nutritional deficiencies and bacterial infections. Other causes of paralysis may be due to generalised weakness from septicaemia, parasites and/or metabolic disease. Testing would include radiography, biochemistry, haematology, faecal smears and faecal gram stains in order to exclude these other diagnoses. Treatment trials for the above diseases may also be necessary to exclude some of the causes of paralysis.

7. What is the treatment for LPS? 4. Will recover?

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There is no specific treatment for LPS. The secondary infections, deficiencies and Some birds may recover fully in a nutritional few days to a few weeks. A large inflammation need to be treated. number of birds that survive the first This may include antibiotics, week will stay with clenched feet and corticosteroids and vitamin eat and live relatively normally injections. Fluid therapy is normally during the next few months. No long- necessary in the first 24 - 48 hours term studies have been performed to either by crop tube or by injection.

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THE SONG OF THE HUMPBACK WHALE What would the whales sing to us? Would they even bother? Would it be a song of protest, a song of sadness or a song of utter disbelief and anger? And who would listen - really? Whales don’t need to sing of the cruelty and persecution they are still subjected to by licensed ‘scientific’ whaling in the great Southern Ocean. We know it’s happening and as guardians of this blue planet we should be ashamed that our species still carries out acts of barbaric cruelty in the name of ‘science’. Why, when these magnificent creatures are ‘protected’ do we continue to allow whaling fleets to enter the Southern Ocean ‘sanctuary’, persue, harpoon and slaughter them? Am I missing something here? Why, when the International Whaling Commission placed a ban on the hunting of Humpback whales in the Southern hemisphere in 1963 is it still going on? There can be no justification in the 21st Century for this practice to continue. But someone, somewhere IS justifying it. Hard to believe hey. Time for change? I think so. This article is dedicated to all those who risk their lives to save our beautiful whales. ED

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Objectives The objectives are: the recovery of populations of humpback whales utilising Australian waters so that the species can be considered secure in the wild;

a distribution of humpback whales utilising Australian waters that is similar to the pre-exploitation distribution of the species; and

to maintain the protection of humpback whales from human threats. For the purposes of this plan ‘secure in the wild’ is defined qualitatively, recognising that stricter definitions are not yet available, but will be refined and where possible quantified during the life of this plan by work currently underway and identified in the actions of this plan. ‘Secure in the wild’ with

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respect to humpback whales in Australian waters means: a population with sufficient geographic range and distribution, abundance, and genetic diversity to provide a stable population over long time scales. Criteria to measure performance of the plan against the objectives It is not anticipated that these objectives will be achieved within the life of the plan for both migratory populations of Australian humpback whales. However, the following criteria can be used to measure the ongoing performance of this plan against the objectives:

The humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) is listed as vulnerable under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). This plan outlines the measures necessary to ensure recovery of the Australian populations of humpback whales and is set out in accordance with Part 13, Division 5 of the EPBC Act.

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maintained and where possible improved. Species information The humpback whale is a moderately large baleen whale (order Cetacea, family Balaenopteridae). The species is found virtually worldwide, but with apparent geographical segregation. Each year Australian humpback whales migrate from Southern Ocean summer feeding grounds to sub-tropical winter calving grounds. The northern and southern hemisphere populations appear to be distinct given temporal migration separation.

In the 19th and 20th centuries, humpback whales were hunted extensively throughout the world’s oceans and as a result it is estimated secure populations of that 95% of the population was humpback whales in eliminated. In Australia, it is Australian waters were estimated that humpback whales recorded, or populations were reduced to 3.5 - 5% of precontinued to recover at, or whaling abundance. The close to, the optimum biological rate (understood to International Whaling Commission (IWC) imposed a ban on humpback be whaling in the southern hemisphere approximately 8-10% per annum at the commencement in 1963 and an international moratorium on commercial whaling of this plan); came into effect in 1985-86. populations of humpback whales in Australian waters were known to have a distribution similar to the pre-exploitation distribution, or the range of humpback whale populations

In Australia, humpback whales are distributed throughout the Australian Antarctic, Commonwealth offshore, State and Territory waters. Australia has two migratory populations of humpback whales, a west coast and an east coast population (known as Group D and Group E respectively in

continued to expand towards preexploitation distributions; and 1 3.

domestic and international protection regimes that support the recovery of the species were

international fora). Population levels prior to exploitation are difficult to estimate but it has been suggested that the west coast population was between 16,000-30,000 and the east RESCUE NEWS


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coast population was approximately 27,000. In 1999, the west coast population was estimated to be between 8,000 and 14,000 individuals with a rate of increase of approximately 10.14% from 1982 to 1994. In 1999, the east coast population was estimated to be 3,160-4,040 individuals with a rate of increase of approximately 10.9% from 1978 to 1999. It is likely that these rates of increase will fall as the populations near maximum abundance.

island groups than close to the east Australian coast.

Humpback whales utilising Australian waters currently have tropical calving grounds along the mid and northern parts of the east and west coasts of Australia, and feeding grounds in the Southern Ocean. The majority of humpbacks in Australian waters migrate north to tropical calving grounds from June to August, and south to the Southern Ocean feeding areas from September to November. The exact timing of the migration period can change from year to year and may be influenced by water-temperature, the extent of sea-ice, predation risk, prey abundance and location of feeding ground.

It is not currently possible to define habitat critical to the survival of humpback whales. The flexibility and adaptability of the species’ habitat requirements are not known, and it is not clear if all the currently used areas are critical to survival or whether the loss of one of these areas could be sustained. The plan therefore focuses on habitat important to the survival of humpback whales.

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Queensland - Great Barrier Reef complex between approximately 14°S and 27°S; and

Further information on the biology, population status, distribution and habitat of humpback whales can be • less frequently along the found on the Species Profiles and migratory pathways. Threats Database – www.deh.gov.au/ sprat. This information is regularly 2 updated to ensure that it reflects the most recent research. Migration Habitat critical to the survival of humpback whales

For the purpose of this plan, habitat important (and potentially critical) to the survival of humpback whales is defined as those areas known to seasonally support significant aggregations of whales, and those Feeding is likely to be related to krill ecosystem processes on which humpback whales rely - in particular density and primarily occurs in known calving, resting and feeding Southern Ocean waters south of 55°S. However, several opportunistic areas, and certain sections of the migratory pathways. feeding areas have also been found off the coast of Australia. The Calving available information suggests that a portion of the east coast population Currently known calving areas disperses into the South Pacific (based on observations of mothers including New Caledonia, Tonga and with very young calves) for probably other western South Pacific Australian humpback whales include: Islands. Although there are known • links between these areas, the levels Western Australia - Southern of exchange are poorly understood Kimberley between Broome and the rates of recovery are likely to and the northern end of be lower for those found near the Camden Sound; 14

Along parts of the migratory route there are narrow corridors and bottlenecks resulting from physical and other barriers where the majority of the population passes close to shore (i.e. within 30 km of the coastline). These habitat areas are important during the time of migration and include: •

Western Australia Geraldton/Abrolhos Islands, and Point Cloats to North West Cape; and

Queensland - east of Stradbroke Island, and east of Moreton Island. Resting Resting areas are used by cow-calf pairs and attendant males during the southern migration. These whales appear to use sheltered bays to opportunistically rest during migration to the feeding grounds and include:

Western Australia - Exmouth Gulf, Shark Bay, and Geographe Bay;

Queensland – the Whitsundays, Hervey Bay, Moreton Bay, the Swain Reefs complex Great Barrier Reef, Bell Cay, and the Palm Island Group; and RESCUE NEWS


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New South Wales - Twofold Bay and Cape Byron. Feeding Feeding occurs primarily on Antarctic krill which congregates around the Antarctic continental shelf break and productive, transitional ice-edge zone. Oceanographic features that concentrate krill are likely to attract predators such as humpback whales. Humpback whales from the Australian west and east coast populations are known to mix to some extent at these feeding grounds.

This publication supports the work of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and Greenpeace.

Migaloo

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ANOTHER THREAT LOOMS The same humpback whales that are being targeted by the Japanese whalers face a new threat, a gas hub in a place called James Price Point in Western Australia. It is the world's largest humpback whale nursery. Woodside and the West Australian Government want to drill and dredge up to six kilometres out to sea, with a jetty several kilometres long right through the middle of it. This would mean turbidity from dredging, oil spills, industrial discharges, noise, light and vessel strikes, affecting whales, dolphins, turtles, dugongs and fish.

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Let Tony Burke know this is unacceptable: The Honorable Tony Burke MP Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities PO Box 6022 House of Representatives, Parliament House Canberra ACT 2600 Tony.Burke.MP@aph.gov.au Information sourced from Sea Shepherd website

It has taken over three decades for the Western Australian humpback population to bounce back from the brink of extinction due to whaling. The worlds largest humpback nursery is on the line.

MUGGA MUGGA

Sea Shepherd received an invitation from the Goolarabooloo native people to help them in their efforts to halt the construction. Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is honoured to have received this invitation and we are pleased to have the opportunity to serve constructively with the effort of so many who wish to oppose this invasion of this beautifully diverse coastal region by corporations that wilfully blind themselves to the true value of what they destroy.

'TO CEASE THE SLAUGHTER OF OUR SACRED SPIRITUAL TOTEM' HUMPBACK WHALES - 'Mugga Mugga'

"Sea Shepherd accepts the invitation in the spirit of eternal friendship with a promise to stand in unity with the Goolarabooloo to defend the beauty and sacredness of this wondrous environment." - Captain Paul Watson. In honouring the Goolarabooloo, we are naming this campaign operation Kimberley Miinimbi, the Goolarabooloo name for humpback whale. If the Australian federal government Ministers cannot protect the whales in the Australian Antarctic Whale Sanctuary, then the very least they can do is protect them right off our coast where they are born. They can do this by sending a clear message to the Australian public that they do not support this. Please write to the Honorable Tony Burke MP, Federal Environment Minister, letting him know that you do not support the gas hub in James Price Point. The Honorable Tony Burke MP Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities

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PO Box 6022

We respectfully request

We are an Australian Aboriginal Tribal Group, the Woppaburra People, of the Keppel Islands, Great Barrier Reef, of Central Queensland, Australia. The Keppel Islands are the ancestral homelands of our ancestors/forefathers, who were the original aboriginal inhabitants (custodians) of the Keppel Islands. Today's descendants carry on the ancient customary laws, traditional practices, protocols of our ancestors/forefathers. Our 'living' culture is based on respect and honour for all living things, in the circle of life. As an Aboriginal tribal group of Australia and as Australian citizen's, we have made a 'choice' to be proactive and champion the protection and conservation of our Sacred Spiritual Totem, the Humpback Whale - 'Mugga Mugga', we wish to join countries around the world in their humanitarian conservation cause to protect, not only the Humpback, but all whale species, all marine species and their natural habitats. Every living thing is here for a purpose, all elements, mankind, flora, fauna, we are dependant on each other's existence, Aboriginal people of Australia, have known this since our ancestors/forefathers times. RESCUE NEWS


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The Woppaburra language name for the humpback whale is 'Mugga Mugga', which is our 'Sacred Spiritual Totem', our sacred emblem, it is our life-long responsibility (from the days of our ancestors/forefathers) to protect them and the environment in which they live, we are spiritually connected with Mugga Mugga, they are as much a part of us, our family, as we are of them, their family, we are joined spiritually - forever. We can no longer sit in silence and tolerate their slaughter, as our ancestors/forefathers witnessed in long times gone by. We are becoming increasingly upset and stressed in regard to Japan and their pending 'take' of 50 of our sacred emblem spiritual totem, Mugga Mugga, for the purpose of scientific research.

anticipation and celebrate (in private) in knowing that their sacred spiritual totem, Mugga Mugga, will soon be home for a short while for another year and hope and pray (in private and silence) that their Sacred Spiritual Totem, Mugga Mugga will continue to have safe passage as they travel their annual migratory journey. It is a 'good omen' for us, that everything in the world is as it should be, all elements of our mother earth is continuing, there is 'balance' in the life cycles of all living things, just as we all enjoy the full seasons of Mother Earth, Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter - and when there is 'disturbance' in our world, brought about by mankind, we will always feel the 'full fury' of our Mother Earth, as a global family - it is her warning, to stop and think, before its The Woppaburra descendants of to late......... today, like our ancestors/forefathers in long times gone by, cry tears of sorrow and anguish in silence, in seeing this ongoing slaughter of our emblem - sacred spiritual totem. The beautiful songs and singing of our whale populations is the way they communicate, and we have always strongly believed, just like our ancestors/forefathers, that they also sing songs of sorrow, sorrow for mankind, in the near destruction of their species, and songs of sorrow, for the way mankind destroys all things that are beautiful in our world. The emotional, spiritual health and well-being of the Woppaburra People, past and present and future generations, will continue to suffer, as we witness and are helpless in stopping the slaughter of our Sacred Spiritual Totem - Mugga Mugga. Each year, on the commencement of their migration journey from the Antartic to the Great Barrier Reef to breed, the Woppaburra People of the Keppel Islands, rejoice and wait in RESCUE NEWS

Source - North Coast Voices Blog 17


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CARE & REHABILITATION WORK OVER-SEAS The Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Reintroduction Project is situated 28 km (18 miles) outside Palangka Raya, the capital of Central Kalimantan. It is located within the boundaries of the Nyaru Menteng Arboretum, a 62.5 ha lowland peat-swamp forest ecosystem, founded in 1988 by the Ministry of Forestry Regional office of Central Kalimantan.

them back into their natural environment. Nyaru Menteng also aims to help protect large areas of untouched forest for this purpose. One of the biggest challenges BOS faces today is finding suitable and safe habitat for release.

The clinic, quarantine facilities and socialisation cages are inside a fenced area of 1.5 ha, while mid-way housing is at the farthest end of the Arboretum.

As of August 2009, there are about 600 orangutans being rehabilitated at Nyaru Menteng - a number well beyond the intended capacity of the centre. The centre is also home to 7 sunbears currently.

The project has good forest for the smallest orangutans and is undisturbed by visitors. The larger orangutans are situated on half-way islands in Rungan river, located eight km away by road. On these islands the orangutans are free to roam and learn important forest survival skills.

The method of reintroduction at Nyaru Menteng tries to imitate, as closely as possible, the life the orangutans would have had, were they still with their mothers in the forest. Quarantine All new orangutan arrivals at Nyaru Menteng need a medical check up and a short time in quarantine. The new arrivals are tested for Hepatitis A, B and C, Tuberculosis, Herpes and HIV. Hair, nail and blood samples are taken for DNA tests and are placed on record. They will also go through a worming treatment and measurements are taken of their weight and body size. Finally the new arrivals are photographed.

The Head of the project is Lone Drรถscher-Nielsen. Lone spent four years volunteering in Tanjung Putting, caring for small infant orangutans, before deciding to go out on her own and open the Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Project. The centre now employs more than 150 people including vets, technicians and babysitters. The project works closely with The Wanariset Orangutan Reintroduction Project and works in cooperation with The Department of Konservasi Sumber Daya Alam (a department within the Department of Forestry) for Central Kalimantan. The aim of the Nyaru Menteng Project is to rescue orangutans (and other protected primates) displaced from their habitat or held in captivity as illegal pets, and through quarantine and half-way housing release them back into their natural environment.

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Nyaru Menteng also aims to help protect large areas of

Following this and assuming test results are negative, the orangutans are moved to a level of reintroduction suited to their needs and personal character. The method takes into account that orangutans are just as individual as humans and their backgrounds differ tremendously. A two year old orangutan, who has only spent a week in captivity in a cage with little physical human contact, is still wild and could successfully be moved directly to the release site after quarantine whereas a six or seven year old who has been in captivity for most of his/her life will need a much longer transition period before being moved to a release site. Borneo Orangutan Survival (BOS) Australia Address Details Email: contact@orangutans.com.au Telephone: + 61 2 9011 5455 Address: PO Box 3916 Mosman NSW 2088 Australia

ABN: 46 485 375 414

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Baby-school

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Halfway House / Forest School The halfway house is a playground forest for orangutans aged between 3 and 6 years old. They are free to play and explore the forest between the hours of 0700 and 1600The young orangutans are usually eager to learn how to explore the higher trees and try to make nests of their own, copying the skills of the older orangutans. For safety reasons, they are then encouraged back to the big cage overnight although as they move through this stage and become more independent, many stay out in the forest at night.

Baby-school is provided for baby orangutans that are less than 3 years old. Some older orangutans who have gone through traumatic experiences and/or have physical disabilities may also be placed here for a short time. The baby orangutans spend most of their days in the forest with their carer or baby-sitter who is usually a woman from the Dayak tribe. The baby orangutans are not only trained to climb trees but are also looked after with all the care their own mother would provide them in the wild.

At night they sleep in a basket or in a big cage with their baby-sitter watching over them. Most of these orangutans have been through traumatic experiences. They may have watched their own mothers being killed and as a result they sometimes experiences nightmares when sleeping. The babysitters are there to love, hug and care for them 24 hours a day until they manage to overcome their trauma.

RESCUE NEWS

Wild juvenile and adult orangutans are

The orangutans are by nature motivated to find their own food and enrichment programs are in place to make this activity more challenging for them. Orangutan University The orangutans are then moved to lush river islands to refine their skills. They mostly go it alone without daily food provisioning or other intervention. The orangutans will stay on the island for at least 2 dry seasons and one wet season to allow assessment of their readiness for full release. 19


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Australian Marine Turtle 1 Biennial Symposium

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Buderim, Sunshine Coast, Queensland – Sept 14 to16 2012

Welcome…

The organisers extend a welcome to the 1st Australian Marine Turtle biennial Symposium. This exciting event will be hosted by members of Turtle Care Volunteers Qld Inc. and we will put together an exciting program showcasing existing science and management initiatives from within Australia. The conference will cover 2 days. Each day will comprise a keynote address plus 5 or 10 minute community or research presentations. Plus we will present a panel discussion on satellite telemetry & bio-logging. If you are wishing to present your research, share your community group’s activities, or just wish to attend please fill out the registration form and email to austmarineturtles@gmail.com by August 1 2012

For more information Col Limpus (07) 3170 5617 Bev McLachlan (07) 5445 1238 Mark Hamann (07) 4781 4491 austmarineturtles@gmail.com

To register and submit abstracts austmarineturtles@gmail.com

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RESCUE NEWS


Australian Wildlife News