Archive for the ‘Members’ stories’ Category


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:  http://www.wtmlondon.com/press/Announcing-the-Shortlist-of-the-World-Responsible-Tourism-Awards-2014

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: http://www.wtmlondon.com/press/Announcing-the-Shortlist-of-the-World-Responsible-Tourism-Awards-2014#sthash.7Lt4w0Xr.dpuf

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: http://echidnawalkabout.com.au/world-responsible-tourism-awards-2014

 

UPDATE:

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


Venus Bay Eco Retreat selected!

Congratulations Venus Bay Eco Retreat!

Venus Bay Eco Retreat has been selected as one of four finalists in the Victorian Regional Achievement and Community Awards in the Parks Victoria Environmental Sustainability category.  The final category winners will be announced this coming Friday, and you’re invited to attend the awards night!

Awards Gala Presentation Dinner:
The Gala Awards Presentation Dinner is an event where finalists from all over Victoria come together to celebrate the fantastic achievements of those in regional and rural areas. The Gala Dinner consists of a 3 course dinner, feature presentation of finalists and winners from each Award Category.

Date:  Friday October 24th 2014
Times:  7.00pm – midnight
Location: Etihad Stadium
Admission:  $99 (includes three course meal, beer, wine and softdrink)

More info on the awards night here: www.awardsaustralia.com/regional-achievement-community-awards/vic/event-dates-and-locations

Good luck Mae from everyone at Wildlife Tourism Australia!


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

 


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.

 

 
 

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/


Mt Barney, southeast Queensland, great for walking

Top walks at Mt Barney

Reproduced from an article by Karl C0ndon, Gold Coast Bulletin

[note: although described here as a volcanic summit, Mt Barney , though close to volcanoes it not itself a volcanic cone – it was volcanic larva that cooled underground and was then thrust up by massive earth movements]

IMtBarneySummitCool nights make way for sparkling clear days in the Scenic Rim. There is no better time of year to exhume your walking shoes and head for the hills to do some of the classic walks in the Mt Barney valley than the transition from summer to autumn. The mild weather and clear skies make this the perfect time to “bag a peak” – and there are plenty to choose from amongst the rugged topography that makes up the McPherson Range. The volcanic summit of Mt Barney towers over the many peaks, standing at an impressive 1354m.

If you are unfamiliar with the region, it is an easy 90 minutes drive west from Nerang, and sits close to the NSW border, between Beaudesert and Boonah. Upon leaving the Gold Coast, the leafy drive through the first set of hills – the Green Mountains – immediately transports you into a more relaxed frame of mind, and you definitely know when you are in the Scenic Rim when you pass through the welcoming township of Canungra.

Mt Barney is known as “Queensland’s most impressive peak” – as although it isn’t the highest, its’ alpine-like peak is bare of trees and looks similar to what you may see in a snow-capped alpine area. The area is also very popular with bushwalkers due to the vast areas of off-track bushwalking through pristine protected conservation areas. The park is World Heritage-listed, and contains important remnants of ancient Gondwanan rainforest.

There is a huge variety of walks on offer to experience both the views and the unique landscape. There are easy old 4WD roads to follow on foot, established National Park tracks to peaks, creeks and waterholes, and off-track walks up breezy mountain ridges for the more experienced navigator. For the weekend walker, there are a few good options with tracks to follow as well. Here are my favourites:

Lower Portals

MtBarneyLowerPortalsThis is probably the most popular short walk in the area, as the 40 metre rock gorge and deep waterhole invite you to swim, explore and revisit time and time again. The track leaves from a carpark on the Lower Portals Rd, accessed via Seidenspinner Rd signposted 3.5 km north of Mt Barney Lodge. It is one of the few graded and maintained tracks in the area. The 3.7 km walk rollercoasters over 10 short hills in open eucalypt forest. The walk has features sections of grasstree (Xanthorrhoea johnsonii), and Casaurina in which the threatened Glossy Black-Cockatoo often can be seen feeding. Koala can also be spotted with luck. The walk concludes with a creek crossing requiring sure-footed stepping stone selection, or a deep wade in brisk waters. The gorge itself is found a few hundred metres upstream, and can be reached by two options, another creek wade, or a tricky squeeze through an overhead hole in a cave. Whatever time of year you visit, the arrival swim is best done when you first get there!!

Cronan Creek Cascades

This 6kmwalk follows an old logging trail south from Mt Barney Lodge, and is an easy to moderate walk with good views of Mt Lindesay and Mt Earnest. (A short side trip can be made to the unmarked “Yellowpinch Lookout” via a short steep ascent, and the 360 degree views of the surrounding mountains make this little calf-burner a worthwhile detour. Care must be taken at the summit, as the 60m cliff break is unfenced.) After 30 minutes on the logging track, the first section of cool green rainforest is reached, and the light becomes softer as the overhead canopy changes. The turnoff to Peasants Ridge is ignored on the right, as this is a difficult and unmaintained mountain ascent recommended only for experienced and well prepared bushwalkers. Staying on the left-hand fork of the trail, the Cronan Creek Cascades can be found off the track to the left after approximately 40 minutes. To be really clear on where to turn off the track, be sure to ask the staff at Mt Barney Lodge.

Mt Maroon

MtBarneyWalkingStanding at 967m to the north of Mt Barney, Wahlmoorum (or sand goanna) is one of the more challenging walks that is more of a mountain expedition than a bushwalk. QPWS rates this as a Class 5 Track – in this case a difficult walk requiring a high level of fitness and experience in off-track walking. Although there is a worn foot track to follow most of the way – the trail is not constructed or maintained by QPQS, just by repeat footfall. As there is no track from the saddle to the summit, knowledge of the area and map skills apply. It is essential to prepare your knowledge base before trying this walk, so again talk to the experienced staff at Mt Barney Lodge.

Allow 6 hours, and don’t forget your camera as there are sweeping views of the Scenic Rim from most of this ridge-style walk. The higher you go, the more the surrounding agriculture, farming, bush, dams, waterways and country villages become a patchwork quilt to contemplate from afar. The silhouette of Brisbane and the peak of Mt Warning can even be seen from the summit!

Whatever walk you decide upon, remember to always check weather and QPWS website for any park alerts before leaving home. The Ipswich forecast is most like the Mt Barney weather – remember it can be blue skies over Mt Barney when a different rain system hits the Coast. “Leave No Trace” bushwalking principles should always be top-of-mind during your experience. If you are unfamiliar with what these are, please take the time to look them up so that our shared protected areas can be enjoyed for years to come.

MtBarneyGlampingCampfireMt Barney Lodge is the perfect base to plan your walks from. It is an Advanced Ecotourism retreat right at the base of Mt Barney, and many of the walks commence right from your door. There is accommodation to suit comfort and budget considerations – from camping and Glamping (glamorous camping!), to rustic huts and self-contained Queenslander Homesteads. Mt Barney Lodge also provides local knowledge on walks in the area to its accommodated guests, and sells relevant topographical maps.

Further information:
Mt Barney Lodge – www.mtbarneylodge.com.ay 5544 3233

QPWS (Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service) – www.nprsr.qld.gov.au/parks/mount-barney

Bureau of Meteorology – www.bom.gov.au/qld/forecasts/secoast.shtml

Leave No Trace Bushwalking Principles – www.lnt.org.au/documents/private/green-guide-to-bushwalking.pdf


Destiny Eco-Cottage, southeast Queensland, praised

Destiny Eco-Cottage, southeast Queensland, praised

Stunning views, unique cottages, wildlife and asses.

DestinyRedCottageTim of Eco Safaris had this to say about Destiny Eco-Cottage after visiting:

Laze on your veranda with a drop of local red, watching the pretty-faced wallabies as the sun sets over the valley” – sounds a bit like a corny advertisement, but it’s true. Destiny Boonah Eco Cottages are surrounded by National Park and have glorious views across the Scenic Rim out to the Great Dividing Range.
Destiny Boonah is run by the ever-gregarious Heike. Originally from Germany, a few years back she was travelling in Australia when she came across Boonah. Struck with the beauty of the region, in her words she ‘found her destiny’, and found a way to stay.
Heike has a passion for animals and provides a private ‘eco-tour’ around the property on her 4WD-golf-buggy-cart-like vehicle. It’s at sunset so she can tell you all about the native animals that come out to play. Various types of wallabies are common as well as echidnas, possums, various birdlife including eagles, and the newest resident – ‘Tiger’ the koala!
Destiny_viewBut Heike also has a passion for her asses with her ‘Assquestrian Centre’ (you read right). Heike is one of the good people. She saves mistreated donkeys, treats them like royalty and provides fun and educational donkey sessions for groups.
Oh yeah – the accommodation………. These cute, self-contained cottages have acquired a bunch of eco certified badges. They’re solar powered, beautifully appointed throughout, cozy, well equipped, spacious and of course, spotlessly clean. Different sized cottages are suitable for couples, families and groups.
Destiny has private walking tracks and is only minutes away from Lake Maroon & Lake Moogerah. You’re also just 7km’s to Boonah’s restaurants, shops and two great wineries. Stay 3 nights get a free wildlife tour.


Butterfly approves of Wildlife Tourism Australia’s logo

Butterfly approves of Wildlife Tourism Australia’s logo

Mark Essenhigh of Off Road Adventure Safaris had an unexpected visit from a jezebel butterfly attracted to the WTA logo on his shirt

 

Oras_butterfly1

Oras_butterfly2

Oras_butterfly3

 

Nice to be noticed!


Mandurah Cruises are grinning from winning!

One of our members from WA has just taken out the top local honour at the Alcoa Peel Business Awards!

mandurah-cruises

Pictured are Rod and Cheryl Bishop, owners of Mandurah Cruises.

Kev Mahney from Mandurah Cruises who is also our Treasurer, said they won two awards on the same night!

First win was the Peel Tourism Award and then the Alcoa Peel Business Award!

Congratulations Mandurah Cruises!


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