Welcome to issue 207 of Feral Flyer.

In this edition:


PestSmart Roadshow Dates

RoadShow Dates

DATE PLACE VENUE

FEBRUARY

Friday 24th Esperance, WA Esperance Civic Theatre
Bourke, NSW Postponed to May due to  flood

MARCH

Charleville, Qld
Postponed to May due to  flood
Friday 16th Toowoomba, Qld Highfields Cultural Centre
Tuesday 20th Armidale, NSW Armidale Ex‐Services Club

APRIL

Tuedsay 17th Bairnsdale, Vic Bairnsdale RSL

MAY

Tuesday 1st Townsville, Qld Townsville RSL
Thursday-Saturday 3-5 May Carrick, Tasmania Agfest Field Days
Tuesday 29th Charleville, Qld  Charleville Memorial RSL Club
Thursday 31st Bourke  Digger on the Darling (old Oxley RSL)
Remember to register

Register for any of these events by logging onto: http://pestsmart.eventbrite.com.au/


CRC Selection Round online

CRC online is now open for applications for the 15th Cooperative Research Centres (CRC) selection round. The CRC program guidelines, selection round application instructions, application forms and impact tool are available at: www.crc.gov.au

Applications for the 15th CRC program selection round must be lodged by 5:00pm (Australian Eastern Standard Time) Thursday 14 June 2012.

LATE APPLICATIONS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED.

If you have any queries please contact the CRC help line on (02) 6213 7177 or email crc.program@innovation.gov.au.


Churchill Fellows Back In Australia

Paul Meek from the Invasive Animals CRC and Jim Mitchell from Biosecurity Queensland have returned from their respective prestigious Churchill Fellowships overseas. Paul studied the emerging world of camera trapping and Jim studied novel techniques to control wild boar.

Paul Meek setting a camera trap in the
Swiss Alps above the snow line at 2,000 feet.

In 2010, Paul learned about camera trapping techniques for different species, data management and analysis tools. His newly-acquired knowledge has been incorporated into a best-practice camera trapping manual to provide information for Australian and New Zealand fauna researchers and managers. Paul’s journey started in the United Kingdom where he met scientists at the Royal Zoological Society of London.

Next stop was KORA in Switzerland which coordinates research for the conservation and management of carnivores. Paul participated in surveys for wolves in the Swiss Alps. In the Netherlands, he met researchers using camera trapping to survey foxes and mustelids which include weasels, badgers and otters. He ventured into the Netherlands woods to see his first badger set.

Paul then went to the United States and visited various experts, conservation researchers, camera trap manufacturers and agents. Paul’s interesting findings are described in his travelogue <www.foxandberry.blogspot.com> and his final report will soon be available upon request.

Paul gratefully acknowledged the Winston Churchill Trust and thanked Dr Glen Saunders and Mr Terry Korn for being his referees.


Wild boar in Europe

Jim Mitchell said that in Europe wild boar is a native species and is protected by legislation as a hunting resource. However, their numbers in Europe are increasing and they are becoming a serious agricultural pest which is similar to the Australian feral pig situation. Overall, Jim found Australian expertise in feral pig control to be far superior to European wild boar control strategies. However, European expertise in disease containment, ecological studies, modeling, fertility control and developing novel monitoring techniques including remote cameras and thermal imagery may offer some lessons for Australia.

In England, devices such as the
‘Boar Operating System’ (BOS) were able
to deliver baits that are wild boar specific

The Churchill Fellowship allowed Jim to visit six wild boar research institutes in France, England and Scotland. He also presented a paper ‘Ecological impacts of feral pigs on freshwater ecosystems in tropical Australia’ at the 8th European Vertebrate Pest Management Conference in Berlin.

The BOS device incorporates a heavy sliding cone covering the bait material to prevent non-target species from accessing the bait material. Pigs learn to lift the cone with their powerful noses. Similar commercially sold bait systems, developed by the Invasive Animals CRC, rely on the same snout lifting principle and are sold in Australia as HogHopper™.

Jim said that research trials by Biosecurity Queensland have commenced, with thermal imagery equipment to monitor feral pig populations having been purchased. Thermal imaging cameras allow greater precision in calculating population densities.

This technique has enormous potential for use in feral pig monitoring throughout Australia. Indeed, this technique has potential in all feral and pest animal monitoring. The results of these trials will be published through scientific and technical articles.

Jim gratefully acknowledged the Churchill Fellowship sponsorship by the Samual and Eileen Gluyas Trust and thanked his two referees, Dr. Jim Thompson and Dr. Glen Saunders, who supported this Fellowship application, and Biosecurity Queensland for its support.

Both Paul’s report and Jim’s report are on the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust www page. For further information, contact Jim at jim.mitchell@deedi.qld.gov.auand Paul at paul.meek@invasiveanimals.com.

CHURCHILL FELLOWSHIP APPLICATIONS OPEN UNTIL 29 FEBRUARY

APPLICATIONS are now open for 2012 Churchill Fellowships through the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust. The fellowships allow Australians to study abroad and undertake projects that will deliver a benefit to Australia.

2012 applications close on 29 February 2012 for travel between 1 September 2012 and 31 August 2013.

More information 2012 Churchill Fellowships is available here http://www.churchilltrust.com.au/


USDA to be briefed on Invasive Animals CRC

Mike Braysher and Tony Buckmaster from the Invasive Animals CRC will be presenting at the 25th Vertebrate Pest Conference at Monterey, California from March 5-8. Prior to the conference, Mike and Tony will meet with fellow scientists at the USDA’s National Wildlife Research Centre at Fort Collins in Colorado and at Logan in Utah.

They will speak generally on pest management in Australia where community groups and pest management agencies work together to identify local pest management problems and plan and implement programs to achieve locally determined management outcomes.

At the conference, Mike’s paper will cover the principles that underpin the strategic approach to managing invasive species; namely why pest management should focus on the desired outcomes from management not just killing pests.

Tony is presenting two papers at the conference on:

Feral cats in the temperate wet forests of South Eastern Australia. This presentation is based on the outcomes of Tony’s PhD research on feral cats in the Southern Ark Demonstration site in Victoria.

Strategic Pest Management Training in Australia. This will cover the range courses developed with the Invasive Animals CRC in conjunction with the University of Canberra. This will include the Diploma in Conservation and Land Management and the Graduate level programs that give senior managers the understanding and skills to plan and implement landscape-scale plans to manage the damage due to pests.

For further information on invasive animals courses from the Invasive Animals CRC, please contact Mike.Braysher@canberra.edu.au and Anthony.Buckmaster@canberra.edu.au


Backyard Bandicoot Diggings by Alex Carthey

Just a quick email to all those who have donated time, odour samples, knowledge or other assistance to my PhD (naiveté towards alien predators in Australian native mammals) over the years, to let you know that my first chapter has just been published in the journal PLoS ONE, as a paper co-authored with my supervisor Assoc. Prof. Peter Banks, and is freely available online to download if you are interested. http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0031804

The paper has also appeared in the media in a few formats, so you might see or hear more about it sometime in the coming days.

Here are two links to the story on the University of Sydney website: http://sydney.edu.au/news/84.html?newscategoryid=2&newsstoryid=8650&utm_source=console&utm_medium=news&utm_campaign=cws
http://sydney.edu.au/news/science/397.html?newscategoryid=60&newsstoryid=8656

The paper reports on research I did in 2009, where I surveyed residents who live adjacent to Kuringai Chase, Garigal and Sydney Harbour (North Head) National Parks, asking them to report on the frequency and quantity of bandicoot diggings that typically appear in their back yards, and to tell me whether they own pet dogs or cats. Spoiler alert: The bandicoots avoided yards with resident dogs but seemed unfazed by resident cats, and of course dug happily in yards without pets.

In our paper we suggest that this could be due to the thousands of years experience that bandicoots have had with dingoes (which are very closely related to domestic dogs), allowing them to recognise the predation danger posed by dogs. Since cats only spread throughout Australia about 150 years ago, bandicoots have had far less experience with them, which may be why they failed to avoid yards with resident cats. It may also be that cats roam beyond yards whereas dogs do not, so that threat is closely tied to a particular yard for a dog, but not so for cats.

We also take it a step further and suggest that for a species that was introduced a very long time ago, such as the dingo, one way to decide whether they should be considered a native species or not is to ‘ask’ the local fauna it interacts with – in this example, bandicoots appear to recognise and avoid dogs, suggesting that they respond to them as they would to a native predator. You would of course need to ‘ask’ a lot more fauna before making any serious decisions about how to manage dingoes based on these results, but we think it is a good idea to consider how a species such as the dingo is interacting with native fauna at the fine scale when deciding how to manage it.

Hopefully this is of interest to some of you – I mostly wanted to show you that your help is appreciated and that my research is moving forward. The field work that followed, with night-vision cameras, and the laboratory analyses of the predators’ odours, all stemmed from this initial piece of work (and will be keeping me very busy with analysis and writing for the next few months!).

I plan to submit my thesis at the end of August, and will keep you informed of any findings that come from the rest of the thesis.

Thanks again for your help with my research.

Cheers,
Alex


Community Action Grants

The Australian Government is seeking applications for 2012-13 Community Action Grants from local community groups to help them conserve and protect their local environment.
As part of the Caring for our Country initiative, Community Action Grants recognise the contribution that community groups make to the Caring for our Country priority areas of:

Coastal environments and critical aquatic habitats

Sustainable farm practices, or

Biodiversity and natural icons

Local community, farming and Indigenous groups can apply for grants between $5,000 and $20,000 to fund projects that encourage participation and build skills and knowledge of the community to protect our environment and natural resources.

To find out more or to submit your application, visit the Caring for our Country website or call 1800 552 008. Applications close at 5pm (AEDT), on Tuesday 27 March 2012.


New Publications

Assoc Prof. Phill Cassey and Dr Wendy Henderson (2012) A new study finds that exotic pets and stowaway animals present some of the highest risks for the introduction and establishment of new invasive animals in Australia. http://www.ecosmagazine.com/?paper=EC12188

Bronwyn Merritt (2011) The Southern Brown Bandicoot (SBB) Isoodon obesulus, once common along the coast from Sydney through to Adelaide, has dramatically declined in range and number since European settlement. EMR Project Summaries

PestSmart Publications:

The European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) is a serious environmental and agricultural pest throughout Australia. PestSmart Factsheet: Economic and environmental impacts of rabbits in Australia

Rabbit haemorrhagic disease (RHD), previously known as calicivirus or rabbit calicivirus disease (RCD), has been highly effective in reducing rabbit populations across most of Australia. PestSmart Factsheet: Using RHDV for rabbit control

Rabbit haemorrhagic disease (RHD), previously known as calicivirus or rabbit calicivirus disease (RCD), has been highly effective in reducing rabbit populations across most of Australia. PestSmart Factsheet: Rabbit legislation in Australia

Mozambique tilapia, Oreochromis mossambicus, was thought to have been introduced illegally into Australian waterways during the 1970s. PestSmart Factsheet: Biology and ecology of Mozambique tilapia (Oreochromis mossambicus)

The Mozambique tilapia is a species of deep-bodied fish belonging to the family Cichlidae. PestSmart Factsheet: Mozambique tilapia distribution in Australia

The black mangrove cichlid or ‘spotted tilapia’ (Tilapia mariae) and the Mozambique tilapia (Oreochromis mossambicus) were illegally introduced into Australian waterways during the 1970s. PestSmart Factsheet: Impacts of introduced tilapia — Australia and overseas

The black mangrove cichlid is a deep-bodied fish native to West Africa1. It has a blunt or rounded head with red eyes that are often intersected by a dark band extending downwards toward the mouth. PestSmart Factsheet: Black mangrove cichlid (Tilapia mariae)


Media round-up

National website pinpoints pest animals. You can now go online www.feralscan.org.au to map where wild dogs, feral goats and starlings occur anywhere across Australia, to record sightings, damage and control activities to help manage these pests. http://www.invasiveanimals.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/MRFeralScan_21Feb12.pdf

Invasive plant protects Australian lizards from invasive toad: Study. An invasive plant may have saved an iconic Australian lizard species from death at the hands of toxic cane toads, according to research published in the March issue of The American Naturalist...Eurekalert http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-02/uocp-ipp022212.php

Outshine the Swine begins in NSW. Authorities and landholders in the highlands of south west New South Wales are stepping up efforts to reduce feral pig numbers…ABC Rural http://www.abc.net.au/rural/news/content/201202/s3432224.htm

Producers get smart on pest management. PEST species burden Australian agriculture with billions of dollars in lost production every year and land holder participation is the most important element in pest control, says PestSmart Roadshow project officer Suzy Balogh…Stock Journal http://sj.farmonline.com.au/news/state/agribusiness-and-general/general/producers-get-smart-on-pest-management/2456492.aspx

Get together and beat feral pests. Throughout the Central West LHPA, the weather pattern for the summer period continues to be cool and damp…Western Magazine http://www.westernmagazine.com.au/news/local/news/general/get-together-and-beat-feral-pests/2454671.aspx

Hopping Explosion. Two consecutive years of heavy rainfall across much of Australia have triggered a population explosion of crop-ravaging rabbits, which have reached plague proportions not seen since 1995…Lexis Nexis http://www6.lexisnexis.com/publisher/EndUser?Action=UserDisplayFullDocument&orgId=574&topicId=100019547&docId=l:1607487147&Em=7

Rabbits bound back in Bacchus Marsh. RABBIT numbers in Bacchus Marsh have returned to levels not seen for more than 15 years as farmers battle to protect their crops…Melton Leader http://melton-leader.whereilive.com.au/news/story/rabbits-bound-back-in-bacchus-marsh/

Trapper to target wild dogs in Upper Hunter. Owen’s Gap and Murrurundi will be the first two places the Upper Hunter’s new wild dog trapper will visit in coming months…The Scone Advocate http://www.sconeadvocate.com.au/news/local/news/general/trapper-to-target-wild-dogs-in-upper-hunter/2457859.aspx

New wild dog bait safer for domestic animals. A bait that kills wild dogs, without accidentally killing your pet or working dog, will soon be commercially available in Australia…ABC Rural http://www.abc.net.au/rural/news/content/201202/s3431430.htm

Where are the wild dogs? NSW Farmers is receiving member reports of increased wild dog numbers across many areas of the State. And the organisation predicts the recent wet weather will contribute to the population explosion…Town & Country  www.townandcountrymagazine.com.au/news/local/news/general/where-are-the-wild-dogs/2456869.aspx

Graziers applaud Qld wild dog coordinator funding. In a national first, the research and development group Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) has agreed to fund a full-time wild dog coordinator in Queensland…ABC Gold Coast http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-02-13/graziers-applaud-qld-wild-dog-coordinator-funding/3826614/?site=goldcoast

Forests NSW wild dog trapper featured at PestSmart. FORESTS NSW wild dog trapper Mark Goldspink’s skills were featured in Albury at the first-ever Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre’s PestSmart roadshow…The Land http://theland.farmonline.com.au/news/state/livestock/cattle/forests-nsw-wild-dog-trapper-featured-at-pestsmart/2451423.aspx

Farmers welcome Libs’ biosecurity moves.  Tas farmers said they supported the move by the State Liberals to centralise biosecurity policy measures within one department to protect agriculture from introduced pests and diseases…Get Farming Australia  http://www.getfarming.com.au/pages/farming/news_view.php?nId=12020036

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Upcoming conferences

2012

  • Animal welfare & ethics: from principles to practice. National Convention Centre, Canberra.
    Tuesday 28 February 2012
  • 25th Vertebrate Pest Conference (USA). Monterey, California. 5-8 March
  • Collaborate | Innovate | 2012 National Wine Centre in Adelaide from 15-17 May
  • 4th International Wildlife Management Congress. Durban, South Africa. 9-12 July
  • Invertebrates associated with invasive alien organisms. Riga (Latvia) 16–18 August
  • Invasive organisms and globalisation. Riga (Latvia) 20-23 August
  • 3rd European Congress of Conservation Biology. Glasgow, Scotland. 28 Aug-1 Sept
  • Fertility Control Conference. Jackson Wyoming, USA. 29 Aug-1 Sept

For more information on these and other events, please see details on our website.