Our Protected Wildlife ?? – Brenda

DEPI [Department of Environment and Primary Industry] are the protectors of our wildlife yet
in the last 5 years. Approvals were given by DSE [prior to the name change to DEPI] to kill
more than half a million of our native animals including seals, cockatoos, wombats,
kangaroos and black swans amongst others.
Permits for up to 16 fur seals were given. In 2013 permits for more than 16,000 eastern grey
kangaroos and 9000 wombats – one for an animal damaging a golf course –were issued as
well as for 100’s of emus.
The Department says our wildlife is protected but anyone can apply for a kill permit if the
animal is thought to be a problem. The departmental spokeswoman says all non-lethal
options are exhausted first [this is not true]. Last financial year death warrants for wildlife
reached a peak to include 127,000 animals. Figure has risen by 40,000 since 2012. Birds
are the main targets but flying foxes and tortoises are also on the list.
NOTE :
In a very short time it’s gone from DSE to DEPI and now DELWP [Department of
Environment, Land, Water & Planning] at least at the time of writing.

Recent Interesting Bits

-from ANZCART magazine
Researchers in Boston, Massachusetts have developed a solution that protects rat livers
from freezing and could therefore potentially extend the transplant window for human
organs.
When a human donor organ becomes available, transplant surgeons have only about 12
hours to collect and transplant the tissue before it breaks down. But a slow-cooling method
that first chills rat livers and then drops the temperature to below freezing – allowing them to
be stored in a ‘supercooled’ but non-frozen state – keeps them fresh for three days. If the
method works for human organs, it could drastically increase the numbers that are available
for transplantation.
And
Fruit bats are believed to be the natural hosts of Ebola and mapping their habitats could be
one important step in stopping the spread of the deadly disease says Skog, a geoinformatics
researcher at Sweden’s Royal Institute of Technology.
Historical data of geography and disease distribution in major epidemics of the past has
provided a basis for predicting the course of future epidemics and also the state and how
extensive a current epidemic will spread.

The bats are hunted as ‘bush meat’ by residents of rural West Africa and their consumption
as well as bats’ droppings have helped spread the virus. Assuming that fruit bats are the
reservoir for the Ebola virus, Skog says, data of locations of bodies, possible infections and
diagnosed cases could be collected and compared and analysed together with
environmental and climatologic data.
Using this data, the parameters for habitats of fruit bats can be defined, and these risk areas
could be mapped and monitored so that preventative measures to control the spread could
be performed by health authorities.
Check out http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/09/140910083521.htm

 

 

April Meeting

The April meeting was held as usual despite it being Easter. We are planning a garage sale
anticipated to take place in September. Suggestions for the event included a sausage sizzle
and members able to put up their own stall to sell goods. A raffle would also be held.
Anyone who wishes to donate or collect for the sale. Please remember saleable items
only, any leftovers have to be disposed of, there is little point in holding a fund raiser
if we then have to use the funds raised to dispose of the leftovers.
There was discussion regarding changing the meeting time to evenings and on week nights.
This met positive and negative feedback with distance travelled being the major concern for
members living away from Bendigo, particularly during the cold, dark winter months. There
was the thought speakers may find it better if meetings were held at night rather than
Saturday afternoon. It was also put forward that meetings be reduced from six to four per
year. Voting took place with a trial of 4 meetings being the preferred option by most, but not
all, and still at the usual Saturday afternoon. Six committee meetings will still take place,
four to be as usual, prior to the general meeting and the remaining two will be held at
committee members homes. Therefore take note – the June meeting will go ahead as
scheduled but the following will take place in September instead of August, the following
meeting will be the December Christmas meeting. Members will be reminded prior to the
day.
Three new members were signed up. Encourage your friends and neighbours to join us.
New faces are always needed as are rescuers. Suggestions were put forward for having
‘how to do’ sessions at the meetings for anyone thinking of becoming a rescuer.
Please make every effort to attend the next meeting. Bring friends and suggestions. Our
wildlife needs you.

Broken Bones – Brenda

As carers, the raising of imperfect animals of any species should not be attempted. – under
the rules and regulations authorised shelter operators follow, it is not allowed. Any animal
which will not be able to adequately take its place in the wild should be euthanised. Setting
broken legs of macropods should not be attempted particularly if the animal is no longer
considered to be a ‘joey’. A joey may be able to cope with a healed bone as the bones are
still growing and strengthening and the animal will be in care long enough for the body to
regain full growth and strength, but a sub adult or adult can be a dangerous animal to treat.
As much as some of us would like everything to be treated, healed and released, in reality
this very often isn’t possible. There is danger for the animal and also for the carer.
Consider the stress the animal will be subjected to whilst in care, some will die because of
the stress they are subjected to. Also the loss of muscle density and strength while the
animal is convalescing may put it at risk when released, after all, we can’t explain that things
have to be taken easy for a while, nor can we supply crutches until full strength in the
repaired leg and convalescing body has developed. In full flight an adult kangaroo hits the
ground with such force that the healed break may not have enough strength to take the
pressure of the toes hitting the ground.. Becoming entangled in fences may also be a
danger if the animal is not at full strength and capacity.

A broken bone does not itself cause death, we must consider the likelihood of an injured
animal laying for many days unable to move that will constantly be attacked by insects and
probably other predatory species. I would think most rescuers have been called to animals
laying in paddocks with broken legs, the callers will tell you they have been laying there for
2,3,4 or even more days. When the animals are checked they will often be found with
horrific open wounds that will mostly be filled with maggots and any other parasites that
invade open wounds, there is also likely to be horrific infection. All orifices are likely to have
been invaded by ants, flies and any other creepy crawly. Not uncommon is eyes picked out
by birds, also ears eaten off as well as fingers, arms and feet chewed away [Garry and I
have attended such animals many times over the years]. I often wonder how many of these
injured animals are not found and die slowly and painfully over a number of days.

Getting Joeys to Feed

A frightened and stressed new joey that won’t open its mouth to take a bottle should never
have its mouth forced open, always work from the side of the mouth and squeeze a little milk
at a time in the gap where there are no teeth until the joey decides to open its mouth.
Patience is the key. For new arrivals leaving them to warm through in a heated pouch for
as long as possible is the way to go, by this time they will usually have calmed down and
become a little less afraid of their new world. Dehydrated animals will need fluids as soon
as possible, for these animals, fluids given under the skin on arrival are essential. If there
are no other options, contact your vet, I haven’t met any vet yet who will refuse to give fluids
to dehydrated animals. Fluids given under the skin takes 2 or 3 minutes then the new arrival
can be placed into a warm bed and left for a number of hours. So much better than trying to
force foreign objects and liquid into the mouth. Call any time if you have questions or need
help.

Pouches

On arrival the joey will need a substitute pouch [pj’s] made of soft machine washable cloth.
Do not use any rough or large weave fabrics. Don’t make baby’s pj’s out of woolen blankets
or knitted garments, eyes can become ulcerated if the rough fabric rubs on the eyes.
Fingernails, toenails or even the fingers/toes themselves can be caught in knitted goods and
are easily broken. Windcheaters or soft, old flannelette pillowcases/sheets are suitable.
Brushed cotton used fluffy side out is also OK. Even tiny babies will groom themselves to
some extent, if baby’s pj’s are fluffy or made of wool, the fluff or woolen fibres can easily be ingested and cause blockages and death. These pj’s are suitable for most pouch dependent
secies, size is all that has to change. Baby needs to be able to move freely in its pj’s but
make them so baby relaxes in its natural ‘horseshoe’ position, therefore a narrow tall shape
rounded at the bottom is most suitable, large open pouches do not offer security, it is likely
baby will stress.
note : I have found the fine, very soft, light cotton pillowcases available in most stores are
very good for using on pinks [I’m told they’re probably good quality Egyptian cotton] I made
several; some time ago with donated, almost new, pillow cases and they were a great
success used inside the polar fleece outer pouch. I was particularly pleased as one of the
small pink joeys that arrived had sustained serious trauma to its entire lower back area, as
no structural injuries could be found I decided to treat the injured area. The fine, soft pouch
was perfect for the fragile damaged skin and 3 months later we’ve ended up with a beautiful
strong joey with no signs of his dreadful injury.

Milk Formulas

There are a number of milk substitutes available, none mimic mums milk very well. No
marsupials in their early development can digest lactose as rapidly as is required if fed cows
milk, therefore a low lactose formula must be given to most, if not all, species. If you choose
Wombaroo or Biolac then follow directions on the packs, remembering that from quite early
on, if using Wombaroo, extra fluid has to be given at some stages to ensure hydration is
correct at some stages, it can be added to the formula or between milk feeds. Personally I
add it to the formula rather than stress the animal by handling more than is necessary, this is
not recommended by Wombaroo, to date I have not had any problems. Di-vetelact and
Formula One can be used for all sp but, if used as per pack directions, will not raise strong,
healthy animals. If using either of these products follow the formula below.
To 350ml warm boiled water, add 7 scoops [supplied] Di-vetelact, one egg yolk [approx.
16gms] and 3-4tspns full cream natural yogurt – Jalna, red lid is a good one [yogurt is
optional]. Stir with a fork. Always keep refrigerated, use within 24hrs.
For smaller
quantities 50ml water to 1 scoop powder, little less than 1tspn egg yolk, 1tspn yogurt. If
using Formula One, weigh out 65gms of powder and make up as for Di-vetelact. For smaller
quantities of Formula One 100ml water to approx 19gm or 1 well filled scoop [provided]. For
pinks I add 1 or 2 drops of pure cold pressed wheatgerm oil to 1 or 2 bottles each day, furred
joeys have it in their bottles for a few days, this supplies extra goodness including Vitamin E
which helps with stress. A small amount of Vitamin C a few times helps the immune system.

If you are on standby for picking up marsupial babies then you must always have a quantity
of milk formula on hand in case you have to offer a feed. All brands keep well if kept cool
and in a dark place, if for some reason you have no formula when a baby arrives, an
electrolyte replacer [Lectade, Vytrate] may be offered as can plain warm boiled water but
formula must be obtained urgently. Pinks will need to be fed 4hrly around the clock, taking
in a total of about 10% of their bodyweight in formula over the 24hrs. Seek advice for more
specific details.
Cleanliness is essential, all equipment should be sterilised. Glass bottles kept in sterilising
solution are best, flush thoroughly with boiling water just prior to filling with formula, for tiny
babies a salt solution may be preferred. Teats should be washed in warm soapy water and
kept dry in the fridge or covered. They are sterilised before each use by immersing in boiling
water for several minutes. Regularly they should be scoured with salt to make sure there is
no milk residue build-up.

note : The ‘scoop’ method is not suitable for measuring out Formula One, it is a heavy dense
powder, not dry and fine like the Di-vetelact. Weighing is by far the preferred method. This
product also raises animals with a much better fur growth. Di-vetelact raised joeys mostly
suffer the ‘Di-vetelact Syndrome’ that is their fur is finer than it should be, density is not
good, the fur around the thighs and behind the ears is either very fine or non-existent until
the joey is outside and eating.

From Tony

“Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal
is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul
when we look the other way.”  (Martin Luther King jr.)

If the earth were only a few feet in diameter, floating a few feet above a field somewhere,
people would come from everywhere to marvel at it.
People would walk around it marvelling at its big pools of water, its little pools and the water
flowing between the pools.
People would marvel at the bumps on it, and the holes in it, and they would marvel at the
very thin layer of gas surrounding it and the water suspended in the gas.
The people would marvel at all the creatures walking around the surface of the ball, and in
the water.
The people would declare it precious because it was the only one and they would protect it
so that it would not be hurt.
The ball would be the greatest wonder known and people would come to behold it, to be
healed, to gain knowledge, to know beauty and wonder how it could be.
People would love it, and defend it with their lives, because they would somehow know that
their lives, their own roundness, could be nothing without it.
If the earth were only a few feet in diameter. (Anon.)

Common Indian Myna’s – Brenda

The sixth Wildlife Rehabilitation Conference, was held in Canberra mid-year [2008]. One of
the presentations was on the introduced Indian Myna, now mostly referred to as the
Common Myna, the damage it is causing in that area and what the Common Indian Myna
Action Group [CIMAG] are doing about it. These birds are now settled over much of our
State and yearly are causing our native species more and more problems.
Indian Mynas were released in Canberra in 1968 somewhere around 100 years after first
arriving in Australia. They are now spread across all suburbs of Canberra and in urban
nature reserves and have become a great threat to native wildlife – particularly the hollow
nesting birds and small mammals as well as endangered and vulnerable endemic insects.
Also their habit of occupying and fouling backyards, shopping centres and school yards
means that the general community sees them as a major nuisance, their domineering nature
which results in driving small native birds out of domestic gardens is loathed.

There are three main elements in the strategy being used to tackle the problem of the
mynas.
1. raising public awareness that Indian mynas are a serious environmental threat and a
potential human health risk, not simply a backyard nuisance;
2. informing the community/business and government agencies on how to reduce
mynas’ feeding, breeding and roosting opportunities – thereby reducing their
numbers and spread; and
3. humane trapping method.
CIMAG has many members most are involved in the trapping programme. Mass
participation in trapping requires traps being easy to operate and people having a simple,
cheap, practical, quick and humane method for disposing of trapped birds. Using small,
effective, easy to build and manage traps, some 17,500 mynas have been removed from the
Canberra area by CIMAG members [up to early 2008]
Where backyard trapping has been intense, mynas are only occasionally seen and members
report small native birds have returned to gardens and rosellas are back in backyard nesting
boxes and tree hollows. The change has been quite profound.
As an indication of the success in controlling the spread and in reducing myna numbers, and
therefore their threat, the Canberra Ornithologists Group Garden Bird Survey showed for
the very first time in its 25 year history that myna numbers actually dropped across Canberra
in 2007.

Other important aspects of CIMAG’s approach have been the establishment of good
networks with the ACT government, local government agencies, RSPCA, academics and
researchers at the Australian National University and the Co-operative Research Centre for
Invasive Animals as well as conservation and community groups.
Community action needs to operate on a sound scientific basis and in conjunction with
animal welfare bodies. A collaborative arrangement with RSPCA is seen as extremely
important in gaining public respectability and acceptance of CIMAG’s objective and its
programme. CIMAG and RSPCA have developed a ‘Protocol of Animal Welfare’ and is
signed by all CIMAG trappers to ensure they are aware of their obligations and responsibility
to manage the mynas humanely and in accordance with sound animal welfare practices.

Other important aspects of CIMAG’s approach have been the establishment of good
networks with the ACT government, local government agencies, RSPCA, academics and
researchers at the Australian National University and the Co-operative Research Centre for
Invasive Animals as well as conservation and community groups.
Community action needs to operate on a sound scientific basis and in conjunction with
animal welfare bodies. A collaborative arrangement with RSPCA is seen as extremely
important in gaining public respectability and acceptance of CIMAG’s objective and its
programme. CIMAG and RSPCA have developed a ‘Protocol of Animal Welfare’ and is
signed by all CIMAG trappers to ensure they are aware of their obligations and responsibility
to manage the mynas humanely and in accordance with sound animal welfare practices.

  • A few interesting facts on our most hated pest species –
  • The Indian Myna is classed as one of the 100 most invasive species in the WORLD
  • Their native home is tropical southern Asia from Iran to India and Sri Lanka
  • They were brought into Melbourne in the 1860’s to eat insects in the market gardens. This
    failed!
  • They were then taken to Queensland to eat insects in the cane fields. This also failed!
  • In recent times they have arrived in Darwin, Perth and Tasmania.
  • They have been reported in Adelaide.
  • Not only do Indian Mynas take over nesting hollows from native birds, they kill nestlings and
    destroy eggs
  • Indian Mynas are considered the most hated pest in Australia beating cane toads, feral
    cats and foxes [ABC Wild Watch Quest for Pests 2005]
  • They pose major threats to many bird/mammal species, eg the nationally endangered Superb Parrot, the threatened Brown Treecreeper, Glossy Black Cockatoo, parrot species,lorikeets, kookaburras, sugar gliders and possums to name just a few, also the Golden Sun Moth as well as endangered or threatened invertebrate species, eg native grasshoppers and crickets.
  • Indian Mynas are noisy, territorial and not afraid of humans, in large numbers they aggressively take over and defend a territory, evicting mammals or birds already in hollows by harassing them until they leave. Not only do they kill nestlings or build their own nests on top of them but they will also block entry to hollows ensuring the inhabitants die of starvation, they then lay their own eggs in the hollow. Although they only lay eggs in one nest they will defend several hollows during the breeding season thus excluding native species from nesting sites. They usually raise two broods each year.
  • ~ They pose a potential health risk to humans – from bird mites and faeces dust – this is due to the close association with human activity, eg scavenging around outdoor cafes and other eating places and on patios.
  • As well as using hollows they will also nest in roof spaces and cavities, their nests are large and untidy, they use sticks, straw, feathers and other rubbish such as paper and plastic to construct the nest, as well as the fire risk the nest becomes an entry point allowing bird mites into the house.
  • There is evidence their aggressive nature – chasing native birds from an area – results in loss of tree health and vigour as the insect gleaning native birds are no longer able to reduce the insect numbers on trees, Yellow Box and Red Gum grassy woodlands as well as other areas may be at risk.

The trip to Canberra to attend the wildlife conference passed without incident although when
the Virgin Blue attendant looked at my ticket and said ‘oh you’re going on a small plane” I
had vivid memories of my previous trip to Canberra some 11 years previous, so when Lynne
and I were called to gate 6 for boarding I wouldn’t have been surprised to find myself walking
out onto the tarmac and seeing a tiny plane amongst all the big shiny machines sitting alone
puffing steam and repeating monotonously ‘I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.’ We were
safe, it wasn’t the 32 seater I’d been expecting. We boarded with Lynne hooting with
laughter as I told her of my last trip to Canberra in the company of my daughter and 8 month
old granddaughter [1998].