Archive for the ‘News’ Category


Wildlife Tourism Workshop Perth 25 November

Wildlife Tourism Workshop Perth 25 November

Wildlife Tourism Australia will be conducted a half-day workshop on wildlife tourism

“Thinking outside the box: diversity and innovation in wildlife tourism”

One of the few Aussie animals that is more active by day than night - but still not easy to see in the wild. It's a beautiful, active and alert animal

One of the few Aussie animals that is more active by day than night – but still not easy to see in the wild. It’s a beautiful, active and alert animal, and found not far from Perth. But how many visitors – or even Australians – will recognise or even have ever heard of  it?

Venue TBA: probably the campus of Murdoch University, Perth

The workshop will begin with a short presentation, then break into several small discussion groups to consider questions such as:

  • what wildlife species are not well promoted for tourism? Which ones could have high appeal to visitors,  and how could we best view and promote them?
  • what makes viewing difficult for some species? (nocturnal habits, underground lifestyle, sparse distribution, remote locations …). If money was no object, what could we do to enhance viewing opportunities?  Since money IS usually limiting, which possibilities might be most feasible?
  • what seasonal spectacles could we be making better use of?
  • What invertebrates could be appealing, either through beauty, weird looks, strange behaviour, architecture (termite mounds and corals attract – what about smaller structures?), or important functions in  ecosystems?
  • How do we minimise negative impacts to wildlife and their habitats in all of the above?
  • How do we best employ tour operations in research into our lesser-known species?

The workshop is free of charge and will be held the day before the ITSA (International Tourism Studies Association) conference to be held at Murdoch University 26-28 November

Please let us know if you’re interested n attending

 

 

 

 


WTA member Moonlit Sanctuary rewarded for animal welfare standards

Moonlit Sanctuary leads the way with positive animal welfare 

ZAA-Logo-AccreditedMoonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park in Pearcedale, Victoria,  has been recognized for meeting positive animal welfare outcomes.  Recently assessed by the Zoo and Aquarium Association’s (ZAA) Accreditation Program, Moonlit Sanctuary has successfully achieved Accreditation.

The Zoo and Aquarium (ZAA) Accreditation Program has lifted the bar for animal welfare standards, and is for all ZAA member zoos and aquariums.  With a positive animal welfare focus, the new Accreditation Program is a world first for the zoo industry.

“The Accreditation Program is creating a new standard for animal welfare,” said ZAA President Karen Fifield.  “Being accredited means our members can be proud of providing our animals with the best possible care.”

Rather than simply making sure animals are not experiencing negative welfare states, the new program goes a step further to focus on delivering positive welfare outcomes.  This new standard is a result of the Animal Welfare Position Statement released by ZAA in early 2013.  This contemporary framework looks at the Five Welfare Domains – from the four physical domains of nutrition, environment, health, and behavior through to the fifth domain of mental affective state.

“The Animal Welfare Position Statement provides a strong foundation for zoos and aquariums to maintain and improve welfare for all animals in their care,” explained Ms Fifield.  “The Accreditation Program gives us a tool to assess that level of care provided at ZAA institutions.”

bettong holding leg on night tour

Bettong holding leg on night tour

For Moonlit Sanctuary to gain this accreditation means that they are ensuring the animals in their care live in a positive welfare state.

“The Accreditation Program really celebrates and validates animal welfare states,” said Ms Fifield.  “This means the wider community can be certain that ZAA member institutions provide the best level of care for their animals, not just a minimum standard.”

ZAA member institutions are assessed every three years, with accreditation based on a principle of ongoing development and better practice.  This means criteria for assessment will be refined for each cycle to make sure that new understandings about animal welfare can be included.

For further information about Moonlit Sanctuary please contact Michael Johnson on 0409 021 843.

For further information about the ZAA Accreditation Program, please contact the Zoo and Aquarium Association at 61-2-9978-4797.

Michael Johnson

Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park

www.moonlit-sanctuary.com

p +61 03 5978 7935

 


Moreton Bay’s 50,000 Frequent Flyers

Moreton Bay’s Ramsar Wetlands

Moreton Bay Frequent FlyersEach summer, Moreton Bay near Brisbane is visited by some 50,000 migratory shorebirds. To get here, they fly thousands of kilometres from wetlands in the northern hemisphere along the East Asian–Australasian Flyway.

More than forty shorebird species frequent Moreton Bay including thirty species of migratory birds such as sandpipers, tattlers and godwits. The largest and most easily identified visitor is the Eastern Curlew notable for its long curved bill.

At low tide, shorebirds wander over exposed sandbanks, seagrass beds and mudflats to feed. When these areas are covered by the rising tide, the birds move to viewable roosting areas where they gather in hundreds.

shorebirds

Eastern Curlew

During the southern hemisphere’s winter, when migratory birds are visiting China, Siberia and Alaska, there are still plenty of resident seabirds and shorebirds in Moreton Bay including terns, oystercatchers, herons, egrets and cormorants.

Moreton Bay’s diverse wetlands ecology has been internationally recognized under the Ramsar Convention since 1993.  An area of 113,000 ha, including most of the southern Bay, is protected for many reasons including environmentally important populations of shorebirds, dugongs, green turtles and loggerhead turtles.

mapHumpback wales occasionally enter Moreton Bay on their southern journey each September before heading down the ocean side of North Stradbroke Island which can be accessed by vehicular ferry from Cleveland’s Toondah Harbour.

Redland City (including North Stradbroke Island) embraces southern Moreton Bay and its Ramsar wetlands. The 10 km coastline between Cleveland Point and Redland Bay is largely unspoilt by the development that has blighted many other coastal areas in Queensland.  Parks and extensive foreshore walkways provide excellent opportunities for viewing Moreton Bay’s rich bird life.  As a bonus, the coastal vegetation includes many trees that are home to Redland City’s significant population of koalas.

Toondah_Revised_Perspective1

Artists Impression of Toondah Plan

This area of national environmental significance is threatened by the Redland City Council and Queensland Government’s plans for massive coastal development at Toondah Harbour in Cleveland and Weinam Creek in Redland Bay.  Proposed developments at Cleveland include a 400 berth marina which would destroy seagrass beds, mudflats and mangroves all of which are important habitats for the area’s shorebirds, dugongs and turtles.

koala

Koala in Cleveland

Local resident and environmental groups would prefer the Council and Government to focus on sharing Moreton Bay’s Ramsar wetlands and unique wildlife with tourists from around the world. Where else can you drive less than one hour from a major international airport to vantage points where you can easily view an amazing variety of shorebirds and often see koalas as well?

For more information go to: www.redlands2030.net

Author: Chris Walker


Savannah Guides School

Savannah GuidesSavannah Guides have scheduled a new workshop

“Guiding Skills In The Kimberley”

Date:  9th to 12th October

This is a four day workshop which will showcase the dramatic landscape of the region as well as it’s history and enormous tourism future.

Savannah Guides Limited develops the skills and careers of tour guides.  It is a non-profit, member based network of tourguides and operators that works with its partners to support “Protectors and Interpreters of the Outback”.

This El Questro Savannah Guides School will provide valuable skills training and networking for guides and friends from across northern Australia.  Most of the time will be spent in the field exploring spectacular landscapes and learning about the incredible Kimberley region.

***Download the pdf for more infoInfo-El-Questro


How networks lead to breakthroughs!

 How networks lead to breakthroughs!


EchidnaWalkaboutKoalaKARENWildlife Tour Operator’s koala research paper accepted by scientific conference.

Sixteen years of looking up koala’s noses. Sixteen years of hand-drawn diagrams of nearly 100 koalas, and over 19,000 photographs. Thousands of koala sightings on hard copy maps in the early years, then the wonderous ease of GPS locations on mobile phones. Sixteen years of wondering whether a discovery made on a wildlife tour would ever be useful for the protection of koalas Australia-wide.

Finally, a breakthrough.

Echidna Walkabout’s first scientific paper: “As plain as the nose on their face: Efficacy of nostril pigment patterns in identifying individual koalas” has been accepted for presentation at the Pathways 2014 conference on Human Dimensions Of Wildlife in Colorado, USA. This is a huge leap for the Melbourne-based wildlife tour operator. For non-scientists, presenting and publishing a wildlife discovery to the scientific community is difficult. It couldn’t have happened without the input and encouragement of one very special man – Assistant Professor Jeff Skibins of Kansas State University.

EchidnaWalkabout_koalabookJanine & Roger of Echidna Walkabout met Dr Jeff Skibins at the Wildlife Tourism Workshop in Darwin in 2013. Jeff delivered the most inspiring presentation: a call to action for wildlife and eco-tour operators to upsell, publicize, and shout out to the world about how great wildlife tourism is for people, wildlife and the planet! Janine & Roger were so motivated by Jeff’s talk that they stayed in contact, and ultimately took Jeff on their tour. On tour Roger explained how they had discovered a method of identifying wild koalas from their nose patterns. Later Jeff did some research, and found that this discovery was a first for koala science. He encouraged Janine to write the paper, with himself and a colleague – Dr Peg McBee – as co-authors. Jeff and Peg have checked the data collected by Echidna Walkabout on their wildlife tours and pronounced it to be ‘very strong’.


pat250214p01textThe Pathways conference brings together wildlife professionals from all over the world to discuss how human behaviour affects wildlife management and conservation. Over 100 researchers presented at the 2012 conference, and around 500 delegates attended. Great Bustards in Mongolia, lions in Kenya, tigers in India, Monk Parakeets in Argentina and coyotes in US were all discussed. Jeff Skibins lectured on the influence of wildlife tourism on tourists, particularly on their subsequent conservation behaviour. For 2014, Janine, Jeff & Peg’s paper has been accepted by the conference committee, who proclaimed it to be ‘both interesting and relevant’.

Echidna Walkabout’s presence at the 2014 conference will be an exciting voice demonstrating that Australian wildlife tourism is a leader in the field of conservation tourism.

Wildlife Tourism Australia brought the network together that made this breakthrough.

 

 
 

Flying Foxes in Cairns

Spectacled flying foxes by the library before their trees were hacked into.

Spectacled flying foxes by the library before their trees were hacked into (photo Araucaria Ecotours).

Flying Foxes in Cairns

Maree Treadwell (WTA committee member)

Australia has a high biodiversity of wildlife, much of which can actually be found in our cities, which is great for our international visitors. While birds provide plenty of opportunities to see the more common varieties in the city, mammals are mostly cryptic or nocturnal or both. However there is one type of mammal, the flying fox a large mega-bat, that calls our cities home.
Flying foxes are not found in Europe, non-tropical Asia or anywhere in the Americas so they are a novel experience for many  of our visitors. Their spectacular evening fly-outs are a wildlife highlight of many a traveller’s Australian trip.

Flying foxes are keystone species moving seeds of rainforest and other trees from one isolated patch of rainforest to another and are a significant long distance pollinator of rainforest and hardwood forests particularly of eucalypts and related trees. They are migratory or nomadic, following the flowering of their food trees, many of which have irregular flowering which varies from year to year in both quality and quantity and in distribution. So a single flying fox can travel 40 km in a night and over 1,000 km in a year. The flying fox you see one year in Brisbane may be the one you see in Melbourne the next.

There are four species of large flying fox in Australia, found from northern WA, across the top end and down the east coast of Australia from Queensland to Melbourne and west to Adelaide. One species, the little red flying fox is also found in inland Australia following flowering along water courses but often visits the camps of its coastal cousins as far south as northern Victoria, stays a few weeks and then moves on. Two of the four species, the Grey-headed Flying-fox and the Spectacled Flying–fox, are listed as vulnerable under the Commonwealth EPBC Act, the main environmental protection act in Australia. The grey-headed flying-fox ranges from Ingham in Queensland down the east coast of Australia and west across Victoria to Adelaide, many of its camps located in cities, often in botanical gardens or by rivers or coastal mangroves. It is the only endemic flying-fox. The spectacled flying-fox is confined to wet tropics in Queensland in Australia but extends into Papua- New Guinea. The remaining species, the Black Flying-fox, is found in northern Australia, from WA across the Top End, throughout Queensland and south down the east coast to about Sydney. The different flying fox species often share roosts- In Ingham earlier this year you could see all four species roosting in the botanical gardens.
The great thing for visitors to the major capital cities is that not only can you see the spectacular flyouts, but you can also visit the camps in daytime and observe their daytime behaviour. But in Melbourne and Sydney the flying foxes are no longer in the botanical gardens in the centre of the city, so while you can see them foraging at night in the city you need to travel to the suburbs to see their daytime camps or evening flyouts. This is no hardship because they have selected roosts with both natural beauty and historical significance. Some of our Australian suburbs are worth visiting, especially so when flying foxes are involved.
But in Cairns, a Queensland city that acts as a gateway to both tropical north with its world heritage rainforests and the world heritage listed Great Barrier Reef, you can see Spectacled flying foxes in the middle of town, roosting in the grounds of the beautiful library. You can even stay in the adjacent Novotel hotel and overlook the camps and watch the evening flyout in comfort from your room.
However, there is a sad story to the bats in Cairns. Despite nightly photographing of the flying foxes flying out over Cairns from tourists, despite pleas from well known ecologist, Jane Goodall, and film stars like Glenn Close, despite interstate tourism industry delegates and operators who can see the potential of bat tourism in Cairns, despite the success of bat tourism in North America and other countries, one of the best known being the emergence each summer evening of free tailed bats from under a bridge in Austin, Texas which brings in thousands of visitors per year, Cairns Council dismisses flying foxes as a tourism attraction, one councillor saying that “there may be other places that are reduced to bat tourism …”. (Cairns Post April 2014).

Cairns Council has applied to remove the flying foxes from their roost in heritage listed trees at the Library and has begun a program of “tree trimming”. Because the spectacled flying foxes are listed federally, there are a number of criteria that must be adhered to, one being that work cannot take place if flying foxes are present in the tree. Local film maker team, Noel and Michele Castley Wright, allege that this criteria has been breached, and they have filmed this breach.
The trimming began a few weeks ago (late April 2014) and the bats have come back. Dispersal as a management tool is an ineffective and costly exercise. Most dispersals have not worked- the bats not leaving the local area but becoming scattered and roosting in smaller groups often in inappropriate places. Unless alternative good quality roosting sites are found, the flying foxes will return so long as there are trees to return to Roberts et al 2011).
The Council intends to move them on again, regardless of the stress this may cause to a Commonwealth listed vulnerable species and regardless of the cumulative other dispersals some of which include spectacled flying foxes are happening throughout Queensland. Unfortunately for the flying foxes, while listed at national level, they are not considered threatened at Queensland state level.
Because spectacled flying foxes within Australia are only found in Queensland, continued dispersals of their camps could cause local extinctions and possibly extinction within Queensland and thus Australia. And how are the extra-liminal populations going?
What will this mean for the wet tropics in Queensland? The loss of a keystone species will have an impact on our remaining tropical rainforests.
In the meantime in Cairns, you can still see the flying foxes but the trees they are in are a mess and the street scape once so nice and treed is now so ugly- what must tourists and visitors to Cairns think?

Roberts B.J., Eby P., Catterall C.C., Kanowski J.K. and Bennett G. (2011) The outcomes and
costs of relocating flying-fox camps: insights from the case of Maclean, Australia, pp. 277-287 in
The Biology and Conservation of Australasian Bats, edited by B. Law, P. Eby, D. Lunney and L.
Lumsden. Royal Zoological Society of NSW, Mosman.


EXPLORING BIODIVERSITY AS CULTURAL VALUE

 

EXPLORING BIODIVERSITY AS CULTURAL VALUE

An interesting seminar to be hosted by the University of Sydney next month

16 June, 2014
12:00-2:00pm

ALL WELCOME
This is a Free Event.
RSVP Essential

Seminar Featuring John Miller and Robert McKay 

http://sydney.edu.au/arts/research/harn/news_events/events.shtml?id=2785

From their website:

To whom does extinction matter, why, and how? Answers to these questions often rely on a principle of concealed usefulness. In this outlook, biodiversity represents a vast data bank of genetic information that contains an array of undiscovered possibilities for medicine or industry. A striking contrast to this hard-nosed, market-driven approach resides in the emotional attachment to certain species, or to the natural world more generally, that motivates many conservation campaigns. Such reasoning, though widely on show, has the disadvantage of appearing vague, sentimental and under-theorized. What it highlights is the urgent need for a humanities perspective on the question of biodiversity loss as a key part of the global challenge of responding to climate change.


3 Simple Ways You Can Support Wildlife Conservation at Home

3 Simple Ways You Can Support Wildlife Conservation at Home

by guest wrier Jessica Grospitch

Jessica is dedicated to sustainability and loves to share her eco-friendly initiatives.

You may already donate to wildlife charities and support eco-tourism, but there are some changes you can make in your day-to-day life to help local wildlife and the environment. Home upgrades such as solar panels, energy-saving appliances, green construction practices and other earth-friendly solutions are excellent, but they’re also expensive and time-consuming. While these are good goals for homeowners to work toward, you can begin making these simple changes today.

Home Decor

Think about where your furniture and decor come from, and furnish your home with wildlife and the environment in mind. Deforestation and pollution are major problems that are partially caused by logging to make furniture and other wood supplies. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, around 18 million acres of forest are lost each year to deforestation. ConservationBytes.com reports that Australia has lost 38 percent of its forest coverage since European settlement (that’s 1.5 times the size of Tasmania). Only 15 percent of forests in Australia are currently protected, and 132 of plant and animal species in the Adelaide region have gone extinct since 1836. Forests and natural land provide homes to animals and are important to our delicate ecosystem.

Search for home items that are made from sustainable materials, like bamboo or recycled materials. Wayfair.com.au features many brands that use recycled materials and environmentally friendly manufacturing practices, including Nova Solo, Australia Matting and Raki. Be sure to research any company before buying a new product, so you know exactly where it came from. You can also buy secondhand furniture and decor, repurposed pieces and items made from recycled material or reclaimed wood. Not only are these stylish options, but they cut down on waste that fills our landfills and harms the habitats of endangered wildlife.

Updating Lighting and Saving Energy

Traditional florescent, incandescent and even CFL light bulbs either contain mercury or produce it in their coal factories. When mercury enters the atmosphere, it can be dangerous for humans and wildlife. According to the U.S.’s Natural Resources Defense Council, the fluorescent tubes you see in offices, schools and hospitals contain up to 100 mg of mercury each. These traditional bulbs also use more energy and need to be thrown out more often, creating waste hazards.

LED (light-emitting diode) bulbs not only produce a small fraction of the mercury that incandescent bulbs do, but they reduce energy use and waste. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, LED lights use 75 percent less energy and last at least 25 times as long as standard incandescent bulbs. They also produce very little heat, which saves on cooling costs. Completely switching your home to LED lighting can take some time, but it will save money and energy in the long run.

Create a Wildlife-Friendly Backyard

Many species of native Australian wildlife are threatened by loss of habitat. No matter how large your outdoor space is, keep local wildlife in mind when landscaping and gardening. Providing water and shelter is the most important part of making your yard wildlife-friendly. Consider what kind of animals are native to your region when landscaping.

Photo by Drs via Wikimedia Commons

The South Australian Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources offers some guiding principles for creating a wildlife-friendly outdoor space, including:

  • Use native plants that range in height. Trees and bushes that grow abundantly in your area will provide natural cover for native animals.
  • Use a variety of flowers, and choose types that bloom in different seasons. Having flowers year-round will attract birds, bees and other pollinators and provide food for other animals.
  • Monitor your pets. If you have outdoor pets like dogs and cats, keep them away from your wildlife area. Cats, of course, hunt birds, lizards and insects, while dogs can damage habitats by digging and urinating—and both may scare away birds and other animals.
  • Don’t use chemicals in your lawn and garden care. Use nontoxic, natural solutions when trying to control weeds, pets and fungus. Not only can the chemicals harm your animal visitors, but they can run into water sources and pollute a larger area than just your yard. Attract birds and helpful insects to minimize harmful pests and pull weeds by hand.
 

Turn a Passion for the Great Outdoors Into an EcoTourism Career

Turn a Passion for the Great Outdoors Into an EcoTourism Career

by Jessica Grospitch

Jessica is dedicated to sustainability and loves to share her eco-friendly initiatives.

The flora and fauna of Australia have a uniqueness that separates them from every other taxonomy of the entire world. Some 80 percent of all plants and animals living in the Land Down Under cannot be found in any other part of the planet, making ecotourism in Australia a viable industry that attracts millions from near and far each year. When you have a passion for conservation and keeping endangered animals from becoming harmed by human presences, how can you turn your interests into a lifelong career? Here are some starting pointers:

Begin as a Volunteer

Just as you can become a CEO of a major corporation by first interning on the ground floor, so too do you get valuable experience and contacts by volunteering for an environmental or animal care organization on the path to an ecotourism career. Volunteers have an advantage over interns in that they can quickly progress to a career path, and are under no scrutiny from Fair Work for their services, as Abc.net.au points out. Volunteer with a zoo, a conservation effort, or a scientific survey and you may get to head out into the wild and experience nature close-up. You can hone skills valuable in ecotourism, like explaining concepts and helping to lead others, while you’re volunteering. WildlifeTourism.org.au has an extensive list of resources for anyone interested in wildlife and eco-tourism jobs, including volunteer opportunities, internships for students or full-time positions.

Educate Yourself

The Australian ecosystem has a great deal of nuances and subtleties that defy easy categorization. For example, the saltwater crocodile lives on the northern coast of the entire continent, but can survive as far as 100 kilometers inland away from the ocean and primary feeding grounds, according to AustralianFauna.com. Any person interested in a career involving animals, conservation, and ecotourism should have a strong scientific background in biology, anatomy, food chains and climate. Students thinking about career paths can plan ahead by looking at accreditation options for animal studies. Penn Foster is one resource that has information about how to earn a license to become a vet tech associate. Another great resource to have is the Wildlife Tourism Handbook e-book for anyone interested in the business, available on Amazon. In veterinary medicine, it’s important to be able to quickly find work upon graduation. Once you have a degree in hand, you can work with animals ranging from 15-foot crocs to pint-sized pets.

Manage People, Manage Ecosystems

Sometimes the best way to find a job working with animals lies in job skills working with humans. After all, every scientist that plunges into the rainforest needs a project manager in order to find funding, plan for the expedition, and help communicate the findings. Working on people skills lets you choose a career path in managing everything from wildlife trusts to tourist excursions, the latter of which can help you to lead any of the six million tourists who visit Australia annually, as the Sydney Morning Herald points out. Whether you’d prefer to work with a small team to find the last known members of a species or you’d rather introduce visitors to cuddly koalas, a career with animals is never less than thrilling. Brush up on leadership skills like public speaking, motivation, planning, and conflict resolution in order to position yourself into a career where you can be calling the shots.

animalconservation


The elusive rufous scrub bird

 

The elusive rufous scrub bird

WTA member Greg Clancy writes about his experiences seeking this little brown bird that forages like a small mammal on the forest floor, and despite its strong voice is quite a challenge to actually find.

http://gregswildliferamblings.blogspot.com.au/


Next Page »