Here we are at the start of another year – scary how quickly they come round. Firstly, apologies for not getting an update out before Christmas, so there are now a few things to catch up on.
HAPPENING RIGHT NOW!
Spectacled Flying Foxes need your help: the future of the nationally significant Cairns Library Flying Fox Camp is under threat with plans to build two 13 storey hotel towers adjacent to the camp, and remove multiple roost trees on the proposed site. The national population of Spectacled Flying Foxes has declined by more than half in the last 10 years (CSIRO research) and this vulnerable species is likely to be declared endangered. More information about the Cairns “Speccies” here.
Please take two minutes to sign this petition to the Queensland parliament before 6th February, and pass on to your friends – note you must be a Queensland resident, citizen or elector – click here.
Banning the bags: A successful end is in sight for WQ’s long campaign to ban single-use plastic bags with a ban coming into force in 2018. It’s important for us all to support the ban and encourage the Government to extend measures to control plastic waste. Do read this advice provided by WQ and then either email your own submission to this address or complete this quick survey. Please also be ready to add your name to the WQ submission when released. Closing date is Monday 27 February.
WHAT”S COMING UP?
JANUARY 30th to FEBRUARY 26th: The Summer bird watering and/or feeding study starts in the week beginning 30 January. Whether or not you took part in last year’s winter survey, if you provide a birdbath, or bird food, for your feathered visitors do consider taking part in this opportunity for some citizen science. It takes a very small amount of time – just 20 minutes on any 3 days of your choice each week for 4 weeks. Even if you cannot do every week for any reason a partial survey is still useful. Please visit this site to find out more and to register, or re-register, for the summer survey.
WEDS 8th FEBRUARY: DOGS AND WILDLIFE 7pm. Ingrid Marker from Mission Beach will be in town to discuss the issue of unsecured dogs on wildlife, agriculture and human well-being. A few years ago Ingrid had the horrific experience of having seven cassowaries, adults and young, killed by roaming dogs over a 4 month period on her land. Although some of the dogs were caught there was no penalty and they were returned to their owners. Ingrid’s work has uncovered serious flaws in the legislation which governs the control of predatory domestic animals and a lot of community concern about the risks to people as well as wildlife posed by roaming or abandoned domestic and hunting dogs. If this is an issue that concerns you, please try to get along. Venue is at 114 Boundary Street, Railway Estate. (If raining contact Rebecca on 0400921971 in case of change).
SUNDAY 19th FEBRUARY: Our first field trip of the year will be a discovery walk along Mundy Creek (behind Rowes Bay) with the dynamic Bernadette Boscacci as our guide. Bernadette has been the driving force behind the community project to restore and rejuvenate the creek. Full details here.
WHAT’S BEEN HAPPENING?
In On the Bilby Track, Vice-President Denise gives an entertaining account of her trip to south-west Queensland where she worked with other volunteers on a citizen science project organised by the Save the Bilby Fund. While torrential rain curtailed some of their activities, there was still plenty to do and learn – and this pilot trip has laid the foundation for 4 trips this year. Interested? Read the account here and follow the links to find out more about opportunities in 2017.
In November a trip to Mahogany Glider country by two members, Denise and Pam, revealed some of the work being done by conservationists, scientists, farmers and other locals to safeguard the future of one of Australia’s most endangered mammals. Read more here.
December field trip: Twenty-one members/friends enjoyed a wonderful day visiting Hinchinbrook’s Zoe Bay on our last field trip of the year. This was a great way to end our 2016 program of field trips and you can read about it here.
Vale to two special members. In November we received news that member Roger Chandler had passed away, in Ipswich, in September. Shortly after this we were saddened by the death of member Madge Sceriha. Tributes to Roger and Madge can be read here.
Saving the woodswallows: One of our members took on a little issue on the Strand just before Christmas. Apparently the palm tree pruners were in action and appeared to have wiped out a nest of woodswallow chicks. But another nest may have been saved by this warning notice taped onto its host tree. While de-nutting of coconut palms may have to take place year round (to prevent human injury), extra care should be taken during the busy nesting season. And where possible pruning should be scheduled outside of those breeding months. At least this is a good example of how simple ‘direct action’ can be effective – and might encourage the pruners and de-nutters to “watch out and look up.” (Click on photo to read text of notice)
Mailing list updates. All those non-members who have been included on our “interested friends” mailing lists, because of past support or interest in our activities, have been contacted to ask if they wish to continue receiving our news. Hopefully this will make the lists more manageable by removing names of those who have moved away, changed addresses and/or are no longer interested. If you received an email asking whether you wished to remain on our mailing list and have not yet replied, please send a Yes or No answer as soon as possible to this address.
Payment of society membership posed a few problems last year after the main website was hacked and had to be rebuilt. For several months it was not possible to pay online with just a few clicks! Fortunately most managed to stay up-to-date and those who ‘lapsed’ have had a gentle reminder. About one-third of our Branch members are due to renew in January or February and should have received (or will shortly receive) a renewal notice from our Brisbane office. Please contact our treasurer if you have any enquiries about membership rates or your membership status. Memberships can be renewed, and new members can join us, by simply clicking on the JOIN NOW tab at the top of this screen.
Good news stories: Wildlife Queensland has a special reason to celebrate the hand-back of over 118,000ha of land at Cape York’s Shelburne Bay to the traditional Wuthathi owners. This includes the creation of a 37,000ha national park, to be managed jointly by the Wuthathi people and QPWS. Over 30 years ago it was WQ’s then director, Don Henry, who worked closely with traditional elders to protect the area from sand-mining while ACF continued to help the Wuthathi with their struggle to regain ownership of their land. Read Andrew Piccone’s moving report, with some beautiful photos, here.
And, closer to home, “drying down” the Burdekin wetlands kills weeds, restores habitats and keeps reef waters healthier. Sounds like a ‘no-brainer’ – you can read more here.
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