Archive for the ‘Conservation of wildlife and their habitats’ Category

Balloons that kill wildlife

Balloons that kill wildlife

By guest writer Amy Motherwell

For years we’ve seen the balloons go up at big events in news stories. In times of celebration and in sadness; hundreds of colours released into the air, seemingly no one considering what lies beyond that moment. If they knew the journey a balloon takes once it has floated off into the distance, surely they’d think twice?

A balloon can travel many kilometres before it reaches a height at which it bursts into fragments and falls back to the earth as litter where it becomes a danger to our wildlife.

facebook-20140404-095823Balloons are easily mistaken for food by many species of wildlife and when ingested they can block the digestive tract causing the animal to starve resulting in a slow and painful death. Animals can also become entangled in the balloon and/or its ribbon rendering them unable to move or eat and, again, slowly starving to death.

Sea turtles are especially vulnerable as they naturally prey on jellies which balloon fragments can easily be mistaken for. Six of the world’s seven species of marine turtle occur in Australian waters three of which are considered to be critically endangered.

But it’s not only sea life that is at risk, many terrestrial species are also falling victim to this threat.

On June 14th, 2014 the Australian Platypus Conservancy reported on the death of a platypus which had become entangled in the streamer of a deflated helium balloon. Birds too are extremely susceptible to entanglement as well as many other animals. Penguins and even seals have been documented as being injured or killed by becoming entangled in a balloons ribbon.

NoBalloonsLatex balloons marketed as biodegradable are unfortunately misleading as they take months, if not years, to degrade and even then they never entirely break down.

So is it time to start treating balloon releases for what they are, deliberate littering, detrimental to wildlife, marine life and the overall environment?

I think so and it was with this in mind that I started a petition calling for a nationwide ban on ceremonial balloon releases.

If you believe in this cause and would like to sign the petition it can be found at:

Echidna Walkabout wins international award

Echidna Walkabout short-listed for international award -
***They Won! Get The Update Here

koalaEchidnaWalkaboutWTA member Echidna Walkabout has been short-listed for an international award in responsible tourism, and even have their koala photo (see pic on right) heading the page of the website:

The category they are short-listed for involves commitment to the conservation of habitats and animals in the wild and using tourism to achieve conservation objectives.

From the website:

The winners will be announced in a special ceremony as part of the World Responsible Tourism Day celebrations at the World Travel Market, the leading global event for the travel industry, in London on Wednesday 05 November before a packed audience of the media, industry and responsible tourism professionals. – See more at:

WTA offers hearty congratulations to Janine Duffy and Roger Smith for the short-listing

At time of writing Janine is on her way to London for the awards dinner on 5th November 2014

Read more on Echidna Walkabout’s own webste:



AND THE WINNER IS:  Gold award: Echidna Walkabout Nature Tours

Congratulations Echnida Walkabout Nature Tours!

Read more here:  Best for wildlife conservation

Echidna Walkabout Nature Tours

Shooting in Conservation Areas

Shooting in Conservation Areas

I was contacted this year for a comment on control of e=feral animals by recreational shooters n conservation areas.

I agree  the control of feral animals is necessary to protect our wildlife, and that shooting is often the most selective an humane method, but it must be done with care, and I’ve seen too many unfortunate examples of shooting without the right kind of attitude or control.  Here is the link to the resultant article:

Green tape can be useful!

Green tape can be useful!

This is a 90-sec talk given by WTA chair Ronda Green as part of  an ‘opinion-leader’ panel at the Global Eco Asia-Pacific Congress in November 2013:
So, we’re cutting green tape and opening our national parks to ecotourism. I hate red tape. One example. was applying to trap frogs for an impact assessment and told the ethics officer I was was already identifying some by their calls. He said “Don’t tell me that – it’s not legal.’ ‘What? It’s not legal to listen to frogs?’ ‘Oh you can listen but you can’t identify them for consultancies without a permit.’ ‘But I’m not doing anything to the frogs.’ ‘Don’t expect ethics legislation to have anything to do with welfare.’ ok, so red tape, even green tape, can be infuriating and ludicrous. But half a century ago I enjoyed galloping horses through the national park, not realising the extent of the weeds and erosion. I never did like my father’s duck-shooting buddies laughing about the eagles and swans they were shooting, or seeing whole hillsides cleared of bushland for tax rebates, and was very happy when legislation stopped a lot of that. Now wildlife are facing climate change, habitat destruction for urbanisation and various industries and – please – let’s not make ecotourism one of the threats. Let’s use our knowledge, our imagination and technological advances to give our tourists wonderful experiences without increasing impacts. Some regulations do make a lot of sense. While we’re unraveling tangles of ridiculous red tape, please let’s not throw the green baby out with the bathwater

National parks in India aim for tiger conservation

Guest post

Top 5 national parks in India which aim for tiger conservation

Jessica Frei

India possesses half of the world’s tiger population, but the astonishing fact is that these ferocious creatures are in grave danger. There are only fewer numbers of tigers left in India that are on the verge of getting extinct from the earth. However, in order to contain the abating population of the tigers, the various government agencies and national parks in India are introducing various conservation programs such as the Project Tiger, nature camps and education at the school level to protect the tigers. Some of the National Parks that have undertaken tiger conservation programs are as follows:

Jim Corbett National Park

The Jim Corbett National park is renowned as one of the first national parks in India from where the ‘Project Tiger’ was initiated. It is also the oldest national park of India. During the 19th century, there were approximately 50000 tigers all across India. In the year 1972, their population decreased alarmingly to 1800 all over India. Deeply concerned by the dwindling number of tigers, the former Prime Minister of India, Mrs. Indira Gandhi took some concrete steps to protect these species from the brink of extinction. As a result, Project Tiger was launched on 1st April, 1973 in the Corbett tiger reserve. Since then, there has been no looking back as this particular project is still proving to be successful for the tiger conservation.

Tiger, Photo:  K shreesh

Tiger, Photo: K shreesh

Bandipur National Park

Bandipur National Park is situated in Mysore (Karnataka) that was set up as a tiger reserve in the year 1973, under Project Tiger. The population of tigers in this park has increased considerably, mainly due to the conservation efforts of the National Tiger Conservation Agency, a well-known government agency and scientific monitoring of the tigers. The monitoring of the tigers is done by the amazing technique known as the camera trap. The camera trapping project undertaken by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and the involvement of several local people and NGOs has greatly helped in boosting the population of tigers significantly.

Bandhavgarh National Park

The popular Bandhavgarh National Park is located in Umaria (Madhya Pradesh). It was declared a national park in the year 1958. Considering the large percentage of flora and fauna found in the park, it was included in the Project Tiger Network in 1993. The Madhya Pradesh government has launched many conservation efforts in this park with the help of the World Bank (WB). The funds provided by the WB are utilized to develop the necessary infrastructure and training staff for the tiger protection. M.P. Tiger Foundation Society has also been formed that collects funds from the people and NGO’s to safeguard the tigers.

Ranthambore National Park

Ranthambore National Park is situated in Sawai Madhopur District (Rajasthan) was declared as the tiger reserve in 1980. The main objective of the park is to protect the tigers and various other flora and fauna of the forest. When the reserve was established, there were many villages in the park that used the forest year for grazing. After the creation of the reserve, the villagers were relocated to another place to shield the wildlife. Many ecodevelopment committees have been formed to protect the forests and the special patrolling is undertaken in the regular area to prevent tigers from poaching.

Panna National Park

Panna National Park is nestled in Panna district of Madhya Pradesh. The park is renowned all over the world as one of the best maintained parks in India. It also got the Award of Excellence in 2007. The park was created in the year 1981 and declared as a tiger reserve in 1994. The reserve boasts of an excellent wireless network that proves to be useful to take quick action in the event of poaching. Fire line maintenance work is carried out every year to prevent any event of fire in the park.

Therefore, the prominent conservation activities undertaken by the national parks in India will really save the tigers and delete their name from the endangered species list.

Author bio-

Jessica frei is a wildlife enthusiast and a blogger too, she likes to travel different national parks and wildlife sanctuaries all over the globe. She is currently in India on her wildlife tour. In this article she is sharing about different national parks which aim to conserve tiger.

Great Barrier Reef and industrial port expansions

Guest post:

Great Barrier Reef facing grave threat from industrial port expansions

Lissa Schindler, Australian Marine Conservation Society

Reef scene: photo by Cherry Muddle

Reef scene: photo by Cherry Muddle

Those lucky enough to have visited the World Heritage Listed Great Barrier Reef will agree that it is a memorable experience. The clear water, colourful corals, fish, sharks, turtles and dolphins are all examples of why this wondrous place has been listed as one of the seven natural wonders of the world, and is touted as a national icon.

The reef also supports the livelihoods of many people living along its coastline. Tourism, fishing and research organisations all rely on the reef and in turn provide around $7 billion annually for our economy and around 70,000 jobs. Queensland needs a healthy reef for a strong economy, now and in the future.

What many people don’t realise is that despite its beauty, economic importance and world heritage listing, the Great Barrier Reef is under threat from massive new industrial developments along its coastline. Large scale mining operations, new rail lines and ports are planned, driven by a huge demand for coal, gas and other mineral resources, especially in India and China. There are at least 67 developments on the drawing board in or near the Great Barrier Reef, including five mega ports – one of which would become the largest coal export terminal in the world only 50kms from the tourism mecca — the Whitsunday Islands.

Hay Point. Photo: Greenpeace

Hay Point. Photo: Greenpeace

If these developments are approved, millions of tonnes of seafloor will be dredged and then dumped in the Great Barrier Reef waters and the number of freight ships criss-crossing the reef each year will nearly double to over 7000, putting the reef and the industries which rely on it at risk.

At a time when the reef needs stronger protection, the Queensland Government is fast tracking these developments and giving special treatment to industry. They’ve cut environmental protection, removed assessment officers and ignored the concerns of the community.

If we’re not careful, Queensland will emerge from the “mining boom” with one of its best tourism icons ruined and the loss of a coastal lifestyle loved by many.

The Australian Marine Conservation Society has recently joined forces with WWF-Australia to fight for the reef and stop this massive threat of industrialisation. TV ads featuring long time conservationist Bob Irwin are helping to raise awareness in regional Queensland.

But we can’t do it without you.

We need you to join us in the fight for the reef and share the information about what’s going on along the Reef’s coast with your friends and family.

If we don’t want the Reef to become an industrial zone and shipping super highway, we must let the Queensland and Australian governments know it’s their job to protect it.

After all, with mining you can only dig it up once, but if we look after the Reef it will be here forever.

Every Australian wants to protect the Reef. But as Bob Irwin warns, we’re going to have to fight for it.

We are fighting so that our children and their children can enjoy the Reef’s natural beauty. We are fighting for our fishers and tourism operators who need a healthy Reef for their livelihoods.

And we are fighting so the Reef remains one of the great natural wonders of the world. It needs you now more than ever.

Join Fight for the Reef today!

Come and rally for the Reef in Brisbane on 25th August.

New publication on wildlife tourism, economics and conservation

New publication on wildlife tourism, economics and conservation

Emeritus Professor Clem Tisdell was one of our keynote speakers at the national wildlife tourism workshop held a Currumbin Wildlife sanctuary last year. He has now published a paper on the topic on which he spoke at our workshop:

Tisdell, C. 2012. Economic benefits, conservation and wildlife tourism. Acta Turistica 4:127-148

Part of the abstract reads:

“A way of maximising the economic contribution of nature-based tourism to regional and local communities is outlined. Several factors are identified that result in wildlife tourism contributing to nature conservation. This is followed by a discussion of the diversity of stake-holders in nature-based tourism and the economic challenges facing them.”


You may also be interested in further information linked from:

Protect The Bush Alliance

PTBA_logo300dpi_enlargedProtect the Bush Alliance

 Paul Donatu, Chair PTBA

[Wildlife Tourism Australia is one of the member organisations]

In early 2012, several conservation organisations conducted flora and fauna surveys on Bimblebox Nature Refuge, an 8,000 hectare property 50km NW of Alpha in Central Queensland. Bimblebox was and still is threatened by a massive coal mine, but at the time its conservation values were largely unknown. During those surveys, almost 300 plant species and populations of the endangered Black-throated finch were found.

This experience spurred the creation of the Protect the Bush Alliance (PTBA), a multi-organisation Alliance established in July 2012 that use their survey skills to protect the flora and fauna of Queensland from increasing threats to their survival. The initial meeting included representatives from Birds Queensland, BirdLife Southern Queensland, National Parks Association of Queensland and Wildlife Queensland. Since then, a number of other organisations have joined the Alliance, which now can boost a collective membership of over 10,000 individuals.

The aims of the Alliance are:

  • To advocate the protection of areas of high conservation value.

  • To identify and encourage activities that improve understanding of their biodiversity and other environmental values.


Current actions that the Alliance is engaged in:

  • Examination of proposed changes to the Nature Conservation Act and other conservation legislation, and appropriate responses to the same.

  • Surveys of biodiversity in areas under exploration for coal mining or CSG in Central Queensland, including additional surveys of Bimblebox Nature Refuge.

  • Responding to mining and development activities in inappropriate places.

  • Collection of conservation data on priority State Forests.


For more information, see the Alliance website at:

International Coastal and Marine Tourism Society

Invitation to join the International Coastal and Marine Tourism Society

Scuba divers coming ashore on Fitzroy Island

Scuba divers coming ashore on Fitzroy Island

The International Coastal and Marine Tourism Society (ICMTS) is seeking members.

The society encourages and supports sustainable and ethical tourism that utilises and manages coastal and marine environments in an informed, wise, and protective way.

Membership is open to tour operators, researchers, teachers students, academics, governmental or management agencies, NGOs or others associated with coastal and marine tourism. Presently membership is free.

Any person interested in joining ICMTS is invited to apply for membership via this web page

Biggest marine parks network in the world created

Australian marine wildlife protected in new parks

Federal environment minister Tony Burke and hs team have announced that the creation of the world’s largest network of marine parks is now entrenched in Australia’s legislation.

Read details of the protected areas here:

Wildlife Tourism Australia applauds the creation of these parks, which will help to protect the  biodiversity of  several of Australia’s marine ecosystems, as well as being beneficial to long-term fisheries and tourism.


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