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Animals > Australian indigenous wildlife

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message 1: by Clare (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6041 comments Mod
Indigenous means native, for those who aren't sure, so no horses or rabbits in the thread please. Pouched marsupials are the unusual mammal type found in Australia and also in New Guinea, since these lands were once all part of the same continental plate. Australia also has native birds and invertebrates.

What started me thinking we should have a thread collecting stories about these creatures, is this message from Google today about the Easter bilby.
Yes, really.
https://artsandculture.google.com/the...


message 2: by Jimmy (new)

Jimmy | 1577 comments Mod
Thank you for that story, Clare.


message 3: by Clare (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6041 comments Mod
And a happy Easter to you!


message 4: by Jimmy (new)

Jimmy | 1577 comments Mod
Greek Easter is still a Sunday away.


message 5: by Clare (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6041 comments Mod
I wasn't aware of that, thanks!


message 6: by Clare (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6041 comments Mod
Apparently the koala could now be functionally extinct.

https://www.ecowatch.com/koalas-funct...


message 7: by Clare (last edited May 18, 2019 01:14AM) (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6041 comments Mod
Thanks go to Aussie author Patty Jansen Patty Jansen
Patty Jansen
for making me aware of this news item. This is why you don't keep a baby emu as a pet. Fortunately the little bird survived.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-04-2...


message 8: by Clare (last edited Jun 02, 2019 06:29AM) (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6041 comments Mod
Enlightening book:
Dark Emu
Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe

Bruce Pascoe

Here's the edition showing my review; don't know why it doesn't come up in the one above.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3...


message 9: by Clare (last edited Mar 28, 2021 10:07AM) (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6041 comments Mod
From author Patty Jansen
Patty Jansen

"The echidna that went shopping...
The echidna not only wandered into a fruit shop, but was extricated from the shop by none other than the son of the great Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin (we miss you, Steve).
An echidna is Australia's version of a porcupine. Except, like all good Australian mammals, it's a marsupial. Oh, and it lays eggs. So yeah, it's a weird creature.
Echidnas are also commonly seen in areas with a bit of bush. They're known to come into gardens, shamble around without regard for loudly barking dogs. And the dogs are not mad. I mean, look at the spikes on that animal!"

https://www.environment.sa.gov.au/goo...


message 10: by Clare (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6041 comments Mod
More from Patty Jansen

The cassowary is one of the large flightless birds, the ratites, all of which are potentially dangerous.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-06-2...

Here is some more info about ratites and how they got the name:
https://www.beautyofbirds.com/ratites...


message 11: by Clare (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6041 comments Mod
Feral cats and foxes, beside introduced rats, are responsible for killing off much native Aussie wildlife. Now a fenced sanctuary is being repopulated with native creatures.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-07-1...


message 12: by Clare (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6041 comments Mod
A zoo in Newquay, Cornwall, welcomes the tiniest wallabies in the world.

https://www.independent.ie/world-news...


message 13: by Clare (last edited Mar 28, 2021 10:08AM) (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6041 comments Mod
Another tipoff from Patty Jansen Patty Jansen

What happens when corellas - white parrots - flock in large numbers in towns? And why are they behaving this way?
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-07-1...

"Professor Kaplan from the University of New England said the assumption that flocks of corellas equated to an abundance of the birds was misleading.
"Corellas prefer to move in small flocks of 20 or 30, but what we have seen in the last [few] years in Western Australia and South Australia and occasionally in Sydney, is huge flocks of thousands, but that doesn't necessarily mean that their numbers have increased," she said.
"It can mean that they have all fled from somewhere and flocked together ... in most cases, it happens when there is a dire shortage of food and water or the heat gets so bad they have to flee the inland." "


message 14: by Clare (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6041 comments Mod
This week Patty Jansen tells us about the bush-stone curlew.

https://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/to...

"Where do they live?

The bush stone-curlew inhabits open forests and grassy woodlands. It is found in all states, except for Tasmania, and numbers have drastically declined in south-eastern parts of Australia. If you see one of these birds, count yourself lucky.

What do they eat?

Bush stone-curlews feed at night on insects and small vertebrates including frogs, lizards, snakes and mice."


message 15: by Robert (new)

Robert Zwilling | 1999 comments Feral cats and foxes, beside introduced rats, are responsible for killing off much native

I wish the above statement, which is used quite readily to describe all kinds of animals killing other animals, to start with Besides human activity,

Besides human activity, feral cats and foxes, beside introduced rats, are responsible for killing off much native.

Every time that sentence is rolled out, put the human activity first, that way nobody gets confused. Otherwise it's just personal preference driving the dialog, and human personal preference always trumps conflict of interest. How ironic that Trump always trumps conflict of interest.

Too many people think that cats and foxes kill more animals than people do. I'm not talking about hunters either. It's time to stop pretending. We destroy their habitats, end their existence. Is that somehow different from killing them as they walk by.


message 16: by Clare (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6041 comments Mod
The Macquarie Marshes dry up but frogs survive. Here is a twitter clip (really short) showing how. Brought to my attention by Patty Jansen.

https://twitter.com/jodirowley/status...


message 17: by Clare (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6041 comments Mod
Some better news for koalas. Apparently they are extremely tied to location and subspecies of tree; with a dose of biomedicine they may be able to adapt when moved.
Thanks to Patty Jansen for the tip.

https://www.smh.com.au/national/queen...


message 18: by Clare (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6041 comments Mod
Patty Jansen again tipped me off to this story. Fungi come somewhere between animals and plants; they are detritivores, meaning they get nourishment by breaking down debris.

A highly toxic fungus called fire coral has been found in Australia for the first time.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-10-0...


message 19: by Clare (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6041 comments Mod
More from Patty Jansen about the extended drought causing problems for wildlife; the emus come to town and wander down the streets.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-10-2...


message 20: by Clare (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6041 comments Mod
Patty Jansen shared a story about a couple who live near a lake and became fascinated by the nearly 200 species of birds using the lake.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-10-2...

" "The most concerning thing to me is not many people in the area know what is here, so that's why we're using our Facebook page, hoping to reach out to everybody," Ms Van Dyk said.
"If you don't know what birds are here, how can you look after the birds?"
Ms Van Dyk said Lake Cargelligo and its surrounding waterways attracted a bevy of birds from around the world. "

" Citizen science vital to conservation efforts

Mick Roderick is Bird Life Australia's Woodland Bird Project manager for New South Wales.
He said residents of remote communities who take it upon themselves to document bird populations are vital for conservation efforts.
"We absolutely need that information," Mr Roderick said. "


message 21: by Clare (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6041 comments Mod
Ibis are so common in some Aussie cities they pick rubbish from bins, garnering the name 'bin chickens'. I kid you not. Genetic research compares them to mummified Egyptian Sacred Ibis.

https://www.smh.com.au/national/queen...


message 22: by Clare (last edited Jan 10, 2020 12:37PM) (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6041 comments Mod
Author Bianca D'Arc tells me:

"I've been watching with great sadness what's happening in Australia - particularly the plight of the animals. As you may know, I wrote a koala shifter book a while back. The character of Seamus started out as a joke, but became very real to me. I'm pledging the January royalties from THE LUCK OF THE SHIFTERS (Seamus's book) to a koala charity in Australia because of the devastating bush fires and all the injured koalas. It just doesn't feel right to profit from a book with a koala on the cover when they're being killed in such large numbers and their habitat devastated.

"I know it's an older book, but the subject matter makes it the right choice, and if sales are lower than usual, I'm going to make up the difference and send the sanctuary a nice donation at the end of the month, regardless. It's what Seamus would want."
The Luck of the Shifters
The Luck of the Shifters (Tales of the Were Grizzly Cove #8) by Bianca D'Arc


message 23: by Clare (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6041 comments Mod
On the news I saw sweet potatoes being dropped from a plane to Aussie wildlife.
Here's an article explaining what is happening.

https://www.ecowatch.com/australia-fi...


message 24: by Robert (new)

Robert Zwilling | 1999 comments They are also getting carrots. The food is supposed to be supplied until natural food in the areas becomes available again.


message 25: by Clare (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6041 comments Mod
The wildlife includes turtles. These ones have not enough water in their lagoon after drought plus abstraction for firefighting.

The lucky ones are being helped.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-12-2...


message 26: by Clare (last edited Feb 09, 2020 11:32PM) (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6041 comments Mod
Fruit bats... sweet little things, pollinators, seed dispersers. But thousands of them in your town?

https://www.rte.ie/news/newslens/2020...

The story doesn't speculate about the cause of the invasion; however, it could be that the bats are escaping the smoke or devastated landscapes.


message 27: by Clare (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6041 comments Mod
Lyrebirds are territorial but a farm resident snapped eleven of them coming to her small dam for shelter and water during the bushfires. Experts say they have never seen so many in one place.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-01-3...


message 28: by Clare (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6041 comments Mod
This article discusses the devastation to the high country from the bushfires and how hard it will be for animal survivors. The photos they show are brumbies, wild horses, which are not native... looks like they could not find any native animals - except wasps.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-01-1...


message 29: by Clare (last edited Mar 29, 2020 10:03AM) (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6041 comments Mod
Christmas Island is Australian, and a researcher studying flying foxes had her camera stolen. Suspect: a robber crab.
Great film.


message 31: by Jimmy (new)

Jimmy | 1577 comments Mod
That one has the story.


message 32: by Clare (last edited Mar 29, 2020 10:03AM) (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6041 comments Mod
Optimised for phones held vertically, for some reason.

Folks, if you are filming, or taking most photos, get in the habit of holding the phone horizontally. Computers and TV screens are widescreen.


message 33: by Clare (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6041 comments Mod
Koalas have been filmed drinking water running down tree trunks during rain.

https://phys.org/news/2020-05-tree-tr...


message 34: by Clare (last edited Jun 04, 2020 03:17AM) (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6041 comments Mod
Tiger snakes absorb and accumulate heavy metals from their prey, which is largely frogs. The large amount of metals found in the livers of these snakes suggests contamination of the wetland habitat.
It would also suggest the snakes are being killed in the the course of the study. Or maybe they are using snakes run over on the road, or killed because they invaded homes?

https://phys.org/news/2020-06-heavy-m...

""However, the high concentrations of heavy metals we found in the snakes' livers and sediment samples suggest urbanisation and human-induced pollution are the cause, and consequently could be affecting local snake populations," Mr Lettoof said.

The study found the metal concentrations in the snake livers were collectively highest in Perth's most urbanised wetland: Herdsman Lake in the north western suburbs.

"Snakes tested from Herdsman Lake also had the highest concentration of the metal molybdenum ever reported in a terrestrial reptile, in the world," Mr Lettoof said."


message 35: by Clare (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6041 comments Mod
I've placed several links about the Night Parrot which was photographed first in 2013, on the Biodiversity section about Endangered Animals.
Here's one recent item.

https://phys.org/news/2020-06-mysteri...


message 36: by Clare (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6041 comments Mod
The Murray-Darling River includes water from the Snowy River, which was diverted through a tunnel from one side of the mountain range - the east coast - to the other - the dry interior.
Ever since, the naturalists have been complaining that the fish, birds and other wildlife on the coastal side do not get enough water released to them.

Here is a recent study of the sediments from the Murray river, which rises on the west side of the range, showing that it can take a million years for mountain eroded soil to work its way to the sea. None of the diversion for abstraction is explained.

https://phys.org/news/2020-06-transit...


message 37: by Clare (last edited Jun 25, 2020 01:49PM) (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6041 comments Mod
The long-nosed potoroo is adapting to predation by feral cats and managing to avoid them at least some of this time.

"Feral and pet cats are responsible for a huge part of Australia's shameful mammal extinction record. Small and medium-sized ground-dwelling mammals are most susceptible.

But we've found one mammal in particular that can outsmart cats and live alongside them: the long-nosed potoroo.

These miniature kangaroo-like marsupials are officially listed as vulnerable. And after the recent devastating fires, extensive swathes of their habitat in southeastern Australia were severely burnt, leaving them more exposed to predators such as foxes and cats. But the true extent of the impact on their numbers remains unclear.

Amid the devastation, our new study is reason to be optimistic.

Using motion-sensing camera traps on the wildlife haven of French Island – which is free of foxes, but not cats – we found potoroos may have developed strategies to avoid prowling cats, such as hiding in dense vegetation."

https://www.ecowatch.com/cats-wildlif...


message 38: by Clare (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6041 comments Mod
WWF tells us of the dire count of animals killed and harmed by last summer's bushfires. While some of those were livestock, or feral animals, they say:

"Uprooting families and claiming lives, bushfires raged across Australia from June 2019 to February 2020. New WWF research reveals that the toll on wildlife was around three times higher than an earlier study estimated.

In total, 143 million mammals, 2.46 billion reptiles, 180 million birds, and 51 million frogs were harmed. “It’s a difficult number to comprehend,” said Professor Chris Dickman of the University of Sydney....

"Professor Dickman said the findings show how drastically fires can shrink biodiversity. To preserve species, he emphasized the need to channel sadness into action: “How quickly can we decarbonize? How quickly can we stop our manic land clearing?”

The interim report recommends improving habitat connectivity to help species escape fires, identifying and protecting unburnt habitat crucial to threatened species, improving fire prevention and management, and establishing rapid response teams to help species impacted by fire. A final report on the study is expected later this summer."

https://www.worldwildlife.org/stories...


message 39: by Clare (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6041 comments Mod
Tasmanian devils once lived on the Australian continent, but went extinct there, probably due to the introduction of the dingo by the early settlers.

Now they are being reintroduced as an ark colony which bred them safe from the disease affecting the devils on Tasmania has prospered.

" About 30 devils, free of devil facial tumour disease, have been released into a 500ha, predator-free sanctuary in the Barrington Tops national park, north of Sydney.

Aussie Ark will use tracking devices and camera traps to monitor how the animals fare in their new environment and consider whether the release of devils into a wild environment could help conservation.

If the devils breed and thrive in the sanctuary, another group of animals will be released into a second predator-free area in a year’s time.
Tim Faulkner, the president of Aussie Ark, said the eventual goal is to release Tasmanian devils into the broader landscape to see whether the reintroduction of a native species that is an apex predator will help restore the ecology of forests that have been devastated by foxes, cats and other invasive predators."

https://www.theguardian.com/environme...


message 40: by Clare (last edited Oct 08, 2020 07:07AM) (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6041 comments Mod
Freshwater sawfish in Australian rivers have come in for a new study.

"Lead researcher Dr. Karissa Lear said the project revealed sawfish were considerably healthier in years with greater wet season river flows, allowing them to build a higher resilience to the long dry seasons that follow.

"We could physically see sawfish becoming much fatter following large floods, after they have had more opportunity to feed during periods where the river floodplains were inundated," Dr. Lear said.

"Productivity and food availability in the Fitzroy River are highly dependent on the level of wet season flooding; large floods pull in more nutrients and increase the amount of fish and crustaceans in the river for sawfish to eat. The increased weight sawfish have accumulated following bigger wet-seasons provides an important buffer for the following harsh dry season and help to prevent individuals from perishing from starvation.""

https://phys.org/news/2020-10-western...

More information: Karissa O. Lear et al. Wet season flood magnitude drives resilience to dry season drought of a euryhaline elasmobranch in a dry-land river, Science of The Total Environment (2020). DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.142234
Journal information: Science of the Total Environment
Provided by Murdoch University


message 41: by Clare (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6041 comments Mod
Stresses on koalas analysed.

"The regional area with the highest number of koalas found was Lismore, which has a high level of human population growth associated with deforestation of koala habitat.

The researchers conclude that their data indicates a significant impact of human population growth on koala populations through a variety of stressors, including habitat disturbance, vehicle collisions, and dog attacks. Furthermore, stress to the koala immune system resulting from bushfires and human disturbance of koala habitat may explain the prevalence of disease. Creation of sustainable connectivity between land use for agriculture and native wildlife conservation is of paramount importance at the local and national level."

https://phys.org/news/2020-10-long-te...
More information: Charalambous R, Narayan E (2020) A 29-year retrospective analysis of koala rescues in New South Wales, Australia. PLoS ONE 15(10): e0239182. doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0239182
Journal information: PLoS ONE
Provided by Public Library of Science


message 42: by Clare (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6041 comments Mod
"It’s not enough to be a mammal who lays eggs, sports a duck-like bill and webbed feet, hunts using electroreception, and wields venomous spurs. The platypus also glows green under ultraviolet light. Because of course it does. Details of this unexpected discovery were published earlier this month in the science journal Mammalia.

The platypus now joins a very exclusive club, as it’s one of only three known biofluorescent mammals, the other two being opossums and flying squirrels. That said, the platypus does stand alone as the only known monotreme, or egg-laying mammal, capable of pulling off this trick (the only other extant monotremes are four species of echidna). "

https://gizmodo.com/as-if-the-platypu...

Biofluorescence in the platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus)
Paula Spaeth Anich
, Sharon Anthony
, Michaela Carlson
, Adam Gunnelson
, Allison M. Kohler
, Jonathan G. Martin
and Erik R. Olson
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/mammalia-2020... | Published online: 15 Oct 2020
https://www.degruyter.com/view/journa...


message 43: by Clare (last edited Dec 12, 2020 01:56AM) (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6041 comments Mod
"NSW Environment Minister Matt Kean and Australian Wildlife Conservancy ecologists and land managers have just released Numbats into Mallee Cliffs National Park as part of a bold plan to save the species.

“Numbats are a striking and very rare species which once occurred from south-western NSW to south-west Western Australia,” Minister Kean said. “With an estimated population of approximately 1,000 animals remaining, Numbats are rarer than Black Rhinos or Giant Pandas.

“They had disappeared from NSW by the end of the 19th century and today the only remnant population not protected by predator proof fences are in south-west Western Australia."
...
"With their red-brown fur and white stripes Numbats have a striking and unique appearance but they are also unique in the world of marsupials. Unlike other marsupials they are active during the day, have no true pouch and are a termite specialist, extracting termites with their long slender and sticky tongue."

https://www.australianwildlife.org/nu...


message 44: by Clare (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6041 comments Mod
This story will come to no surprise to anyone who has seen Skippy, the Bush Kangaroo.

"Kangaroos can learn to communicate with humans similar to how domesticated dogs do, by using their gaze to "point" and ask for help, according to new research.

The study involved 11 kangaroos that lived in captivity but had not been domesticated.

Ten of the 11 marsupials intently gazed at researchers when they were unable to open a box with food, according to the report.

Nine alternately looked at the human and at the container, as a way of pointing or gesturing toward the object."

https://www.rte.ie/news/world/2020/12...


message 45: by Clare (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6041 comments Mod
https://gizmodo.com/researchers-take-...

More about the platypus and echidna, including one of the cutest echidna snaps I've seen. This story looks at their DNA.


message 46: by Clare (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6041 comments Mod
"A conservation group says Tasmanian devils have been born in the wild on mainland Australia after more than 3,000 years, sparking joy among wildlife enthusiasts.

In an Instagram post, Australian nonprofit Aussie Ark said that seven Tasmanian devil joeys were born into the 400 hectare Barrington Wildlife Sanctuary in New South Wales."

https://www.independent.co.uk/climate...


message 47: by Clare (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6041 comments Mod
"An Australian mammal thought to have been wiped out over 150 years ago can now be crossed off our list of extinct animals, following a new study.

...
"The study showed the extinctGould's mouse was indistinguishable from the Shark Bay mouse, still found on several small islands off the coast of Western Australia.

According to lead author Dr. Emily Roycroft from The Australian National University (ANU), the result is both exciting and sobering.

"The resurrection of this species brings good news in the face of the disproportionally high rate of native rodent extinction, making up 41 percent of Australian mammal extinction since European colonisation in 1788," Dr. Roycroft said.

"It is exciting that Gould's mouse is still around, but its disappearance from the mainland highlights how quickly this species went from being distributed across most of Australia, to only surviving on offshore islands in Western Australia.It's a huge population collapse.""

https://phys.org/news/2021-06-extinct...
More information: Emily Roycroft el al., "Museum genomics reveals the rapid decline and extinction of Australian rodents since European settlement," PNAS (2021). www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.202...
Journal information: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Provided by Australian National University

Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe


message 48: by Clare (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6041 comments Mod
Brush-tailed bettongs are being reintroduced to the Northern Territory after being locally extinct for at least 60 years.

Key points:
Brush-tailed bettongs, or woylies, have not been seen in central Australia since the early 1960s
Dozens of the marsupials have been released into a predator-free wildlife sanctuary
Ecologists hope the animals will deliver the first generation of locally bred woylies in more than a century
Also known as woylies, 44 of the small marsupials — 22 females and 22 males — arrived on charter planes.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-08-0...


message 49: by Clare (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6041 comments Mod
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-09-2...

"Key points:
Ten bilbies have been released into the NSW outback through the Wild Deserts Program
The conservation program aims to increase that number of bilbies in NSW by 17 per cent
The bilby's digging action assists in restoring its environment through influencing seed germination for revegetation

For Dubbo-based senior zookeeper Steve Kleinig a long career in conservation has brought many golden moments, but releasing the bilby is one of the best.

"I've been at Western Plains for the last 19 years, and I've been lucky enough to be involved in quite a few conservation projects over the years," he said.

"But when the first bilby was released, the cameras were on and everyone was crowded around, and to see the emotion on everyone's face; that was very overwhelming."


message 50: by Clare (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6041 comments Mod
https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

"These furry youngsters are fighting against devastating odds.

Key points:
Western quolls are listed as a vulnerable mammal species
Researchers in SA's far north are monitoring the progress of those reintroduced outside a protected area
Tracking data shows males are surviving in the arid conditions"
...

"The hairy marsupials are fitted with what have been dubbed radio "quoll-ars".

"We need to fix little transmitters on collars onto these quolls and then we go out with these big TV aerial antennae things and try to listen for little beeps," Dr Tuft said.

"We have to cover a lot of ground in order to pick them up, especially as these boys are really moving about and changing where they're staying day to day."


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