Australian night parrot killed by feral cat


This video from Australia says about itself:

3 July 2013

Thought to be extinct: Queensland bird enthusiast presents first photos of the elusive night parrot.

From the Birds Alive Newsletter, March 2015:

Feral cats versus Night Parrots

The latest twist in the rather secret story of the Night Parrot (Pezoporus occidentalis) is that a cat-killed individual has been found in an area of arid spinifex country SW of Winton, in W Queensland, close to where John Young photographed the species for the first time in May 2013.

Apparently, according to Queensland government sources, professional marksmen have been employed by a private conservation company to patrol the area at night with spotlights, shooting feral cats (Felis catus) on sight. The programme is funded by mining company Fortescue Metals, whose involvement dates back to the reported discovery of Night Parrots in a mineral exploration area in Western Australia in 2005. However, government agencies have been kept in the dark concerning the whereabouts of Night Parrots in Queensland, and the sites where the species occur are on a privately leased grazing property.

Feral cats have long been implicated in the decline of this once widespread species: in 1892, it was reported that ‘numerous’ parrots were killed by cats near Alice Springs. Some observers have noted increases in feral cat populations in recent years in parts of inland Australia. The region around Winton where the parrots occur has been drought-afflicted for several years.

Australian little red megabats, prequel videos


This video from Australia says about itself:

Little Red Megabats (flying foxes) just before the fly out 11/02/2015-p1

11 February 2015

Megabats are very important pollinators and seed disperses of many native plants including Eucalyptus, figs, bush apples (Syzygium spp.), bush plums (Terminalia spp.), paperbarks, guerrillas, and fruits of many palm species. The seeds of some plant species (particularly those with white and green fruits) may only be dispersed by Megabats, meaning that these plants rely on Megabats in order to successfully reproduce.

It has been estimated that a single Megabat can dispense up to 60,000 seeds in a single night.

Megabats are also important for nutrient regeneration and nutrient cycling within the ecosystem.

Not only do they provide large quantities of fertilizer to the system, but they create gaps in the canopy which enables other plants to compete more effectively. For instance, some trees shade ground-dwelling plants and shrubs, preventing them from obtaining nutrients, light and rain. By creating a gap in the canopy, Megabats enable these plants to obtain more sunlight, rainfall and nutrients, thus promoting a more diverse plant community, with cascading benefits for many other animals and plants.

This video, and the other ones in this blog post, are parts of a series, of which I had already embedded the last video in another blog post.

Here come the sequels.

And also a video, not part of the series, but about the same species.

This video says about itself:

Tolga Mass Rescue of Little Red Flying Foxes off Barbed Wire

5 October 2012

This rescue involved 108 bats on barbed wire on one day, along a stretch of road and adjacent paddocks near to the Tolga Scrub on the Atherton Tablelands in Far North QLD, Australia.

These bats were Little Red Flying Foxes. They’re mostly juveniles (3 adults only), and oddly enough, nearly all female.

They’re inexperienced, newly returned to the Tolga Scrub. Some of the fencing was new. It was very windy the night before. All these factors combined to cause this horrific scenario.

All surviving bats being cared for at Tolga Bat Hospital.

Australian marsupial species discovered, killing itself by sex


This video from Australia is called Queensland: The suicidal mating routine of the male marsupial antechinus.

From Reuters:

Scientists Discover New Marsupial That Has Sex Until It Dies

02/21/2014 10:59 am EST

SYDNEY, Feb 20 – Australian scientists have discovered a new species of marsupial, about the size of a mouse, which conduct marathon mating sessions that often prove fatal for the male.

The Black-Tailed Antechinus has been found in the high-altitude, wet areas of far southeast Queensland and northeast New South Wales.

It is identifiable by a very shaggy coat and an orangey-brown coloured rump which ends with a black tail.

But it’s their strenuous mating sessions, which can last for to 14 hours, with both the males and females romping from mate to mate, that is most striking about the animals.

“It’s frenetic, there’s no courtship, the males will just grab the females and both will mate promiscuously,” Andrew Baker, head of the research team from the Queensland University of Technology who made the discovery, told Reuters.

The mating season lasts for several weeks and the males will typically die from their exertions.

Excessive stress hormones in the males that build up during the mating season degrade their body tissue, leading to death. Females have the ability to block the production of the hormone.

The species was found at the highest peak of the World-Heritage listed Gondwana Rainforests, in Springbrook National Park in Queensland, about 900 km (560 miles) north east of Sydney.

The findings about the new species have been published in the science journal Zootaxa. (Reporting by Thuy Ong; Editing by Robert Birsel)

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South African sharks and sardines


This video says about itself:

20 Dec 2013

Traveltherenext.tv: http://www.youtube.com/ChristinaPfeiffer features The Sardine Run, Wild Coast, South Africa with Tony Isaacson, diver, marine scientist and underwater explorer. Tony’s goal is to spend the rest of his life diving in the most amazing places on the planet.To get in touch with Tony, go here.

From the Queensland Times in Australia about this:

Coast diver to contend with sharks in South African waters

Christina Pfeiffer

20th Dec 2013 2:46 PM

SUNSHINE Coast teacher of marine sciences, PADI Scuba Diving Instructor and AWARE shark specialist, Tony Isaacson has dived in some of the most amazing diving locations on the planet.

He has logged over 3000 dives in more than 20 countries around the world and has explored the depths of the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic Oceans.

Isaacson has documented the marine diversity in exotic locations like Komodo, Fiji, Tahiti, Easter Island and the Galapagos Islands.

He was a diver on the 60 Minutes team that filmed a documentary to re-introduce navy clearance diver Paul de Gelder, who lost his arm and leg in a bull shark attack in Sydney Harbour, to bull sharks in Fiji.

His next adventure is a diving trip to South Africa’s Wild Coast, which is known as one of the most sensational natural predatory shows on earth.

Find out why Tony Isaacson is excited about South Africa’s Sardine Run.

The Sunshine Coast’s Point Cartwright starred as South Africa’s Wild Coast in this video.

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Giant platypus fossil discovery in Australia


This is an artist’s reconstruction of Obdurodon tharalkooschild. The inset shows its first lower molar. Image credit: Peter Schouten

From Wildlife Extra:

Giant extinct toothed platypus discovered

A fossil of a prehistoric giant toothed platypus discovered in Australia

November 2013: A giant carnivorous platypus with razor sharp teeth once roamed the Riversleigh World Heritage Area in Queensland, Australia, researchers from the University of New South Wales have discovered. Named Obdurodon tharalkooschild it is believed to have lived around 15 million years ago and was about one metre in length, twice the size of its modern day relative the peculiar looking, egg-laying, otter footed, beaver tailed duck-billed platypus. And unlike today’s relation it had functional, sharp teeth, which were used to slice and chew crayfish, frogs and small turtles.

The discovery of the new species’ tooth in a limestone deposit was made by Rebecca Pian, a PhD candidate at Columbia University and former UNSW Honours student, and Professor Mike Archer and Associate Professor Suzanne Hand, of the UNSW School of Biological Earth and Environmental Sciences.

“A new platypus species, even one that is highly incomplete, is a very important aid in developing understanding about these fascinating mammals,” says Rebecca Pian.

It is believed that, like other platypuses, it was probably a mostly aquatic mammal, and would have lived in and around the freshwater pools in the forests that covered the Riversleigh area millions of years ago.

“Discovery of this new species was a shock to us because prior to this, the fossil record suggested that the evolutionary tree of platypuses was a relatively linear one,” says Mike Archer. “Now we realize that there were unanticipated side branches on this tree, some of which became gigantic.”

The name Obdurodon tharalkooschild derives from the Greek for “lasting tooth” and an Australian folk story about the genus’ origin that features a strong-willed female duck who ignored her parents’ warnings and was set upon by Bigoon, a water-rat, leading to unusual-looking offspring.

See also here. And here.

The scientific description of this new species is here.