Australian priest blames victim for her murder


Jill Meagher, who was murdered in Melbourne. Photograph: Facebook/PR Image/AAP

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Jill Meagher‘s family criticise Catholic priest over ‘disgusting’ claim

Priest reportedly told students at a Melbourne primary school that if Meagher had been more ‘faith filled’ she would have been home and ‘not walking down Sydney Road at 3am’

This victim blaming is even worse for being part of a sermon to primary school children.

Merran Hitchick

Sunday 29 March 2015 06.36 BST

A Catholic priest in Melbourne has reportedly been criticised for a speech in which he said Jill Meagher would have been at home instead of out on the night she was raped and killed if she was more “faith filled”.

Meagher was murdered by Adrian Bayley after a night out Melbourne in September 2012. He was sentenced to life in prison.

The priest delivered his homily at an end-of-term service for a Catholic primary school in Melbourne on Friday and radio station 3AW reported he held up a newspaper article with a picture of Bayley on it to make his point. The report says he told a crowd of about 100 that if Meagher had been more “faith filled” she would have been home and “not walking down Sydney Road at 3am”.

Meagher’s family were outraged by the report and said it was a “stupid thing to say”.

“Adrian Bayley was out there that night looking for a victim and found her,” Joan Meagher, Jill Meagher’s mother-in-law told the Irish Independent. “He was looking for anyone, it didn’t matter to him who the person was.

Thomas Meagher, Jill’s husband, put a statement on Facebook calling the comments “disgusting”.

“What a truly abhorrent lesson to teach a child,” he wrote. “How a human being with such dangerous and misogynistic views can be allowed pass those messages onto children is depressing. Shameful.”

The Catholic Church has apologised for the comments, the Age reports, with one official saying the church did not support the “totally inappropriate” and offensive” comments.

Monsignor Greg Bennett, vicar-general of the archdiocese of Melbourne, went on radio to apologise.

“I’ve spoken with the priest; he acknowledges that the homily wasn’t appropriate and apologises for the offence and upset it has caused,” he told 3AW.

“The reference to Jill Meagher in particular was offensive and inappropriate and the people of Victoria and Ireland mourn her sad and tragic death.

See also here.

Australian birds news update


This is a Beautiful Firetail video from Tasmania in Australia.

From Birdline Victoria in Australia:

Thursday 8 January 2015

Fork-tailed Swift, White-throated Needletail, Latham’s Snipe, Eastern Bristlebird

Cape Howe Wilderness Area.

Mixed flock of over 100 forks and needles over Howe Flat around midday in hot and humid conditions, ratio of around 70:30 in favour of needletails. (200+ WTNT & 30 FTS seen later over Mallacoota before cool change) Single Latham’s Snipe flushed near start of boardwalk at Howe Flat (track still flooded), and 3 Eastern Brist[l]ebird heard but not seen; contact calls and intermittent song only. No sign of White-cheeked H[oney]E[ater] from November. On Lakeview Track near Barracoota Tk a pair of Beautiful Firetail was nest building, and lots of Little & Musk Lorikeet were present in flowering bloodwoods.

Australian birds New Year news


This is a spotless crake video.

From Birdline Victoria (Australia):

Truganina Swamp, Altona

About 8am, immature Lewin’s Rail seen close to the fence beside the path that runs south from the railway line between two swamps. 1x Spotted and Spotless Crakes in the same area. Same three species seen in the same area yesterday around the same time.

Peter Shute, 1 January 2015

Young shark Jennifer studied off Australia


This video says about itself:

The Fastest Shark in the Ocean

The shortfin mako shark swims at speeds up to 60 mph.

From the South Australian Research and Development Institute, with maps there, yesterday:

Jennifer is a juvenile female shortfin mako. She was satellite tagged from FV Home Strait off Lakes Entrance, eastern Victoria in mid July 2013. She was 180 cm in length. We used a very small and light SIRTRACK K2F161A satellite tag. Her tag is duty cycled at 2 days to conserve battery power.

Shark Eyes Designed to Catch Photons in Twilight Zone: here.

Australian bats’ heatwave problems


This video from Australia says about itself:

‘NO ME, NO TREE! – THE GREY-HEADED FLYING FOX

20 Dec 2012

Grey-headed flying-foxes (Pteropus poliocephalus) are highly environmentally significant. Sydney Wildlife carer Sonja Elwood describes their increasingly perilous situation.

From Wildlife Extra:

Australia parks staff give a helping hand to grey-headed flying foxes affected by extreme heat

January 2014: The Australian Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) and Parks Victoria staff are working alongside dedicated wildlife volunteer groups to monitor and treat grey-headed flying foxes at Yarra Bend Park as the extreme heat wave continues in the country.

Up to 500 flying foxes from the Yarra Bend Park colony have died as a result of heat stress and that number was likely to increase greatly without measures being taken.

DEPI Incident Controller, Mark Winfield, said staff and volunteers were on site doing everything they could to keep the animals cool.

“Grey-headed flying foxes, as native animals, have evolved to deal with very high temperatures but only for short periods of time,” he said. “Heat stress incidents of this scale in the colony do not occur frequently, but into our fourth successive day of extreme heat, we saw the flying foxes really struggling to cope.

“The younger animals are particularly vulnerable to heat stress as they are unable to fly down to the river to drink alone and may just drop from their trees with dehydration and exhaustion.

“Volunteers have been spraying the animals with a fine mist that they can lick off their wings and are also trying to separate them as they tend to bunch up in the heat, which only exacerbates the problem.”

“There is also a vet on site assessing them and providing rehydration when appropriate.”

Over summer the established colony, which can be seen from the Bellbird Picnic area off Yarra Boulevard, can swell to over 30,000 flying foxes.

Members of the public have been advised to avoid contact with stressed, injured or dead flying foxes but to contact DEPI. All wildlife volunteers assisting with the heat stress event are trained and vaccinated.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Good Australian tiger quoll news


This video from Australia is called Tiger Quolls at the Conservation Ecology Centre. It says about itself:

5 Sep 2012

A collection of videos of the resident Tiger Quolls (Spotted-tail Quolls) at the Conservation Ecology Centre on Cape Otway.

From Wildlife Extra:

First Tiger quoll spotted in Australian National Park for 141 years

Victoria‘s Grampians National Park spots Tiger quoll after 141 year absence

October 2013. Presumed locally extinct for 141 years, a Tiger Quoll has been caught on remote digital camera in Victoria’s Grampians National Park in Southern Australia. The animal was captured on cameras set up to monitor the Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby population. The Tiger Quoll, also known as the Spotted-tail Quoll, is a carnivorous marsupial native to Australia.

Parks Victoria‘s Manager of the Grampians Ark fox control program, Ben Holmes said: “I honestly couldn’t believe my eyes when the photos were sent through from our field crew. There is no mistaking the spotted body colour, which can only be a quoll.”

The sighting is the first confirmed live record of a Tiger Quoll in the Grampians National Park since 1872, after an animal was killed at the headwaters of the Glenelg River.

Grampians National Park Ranger in Charge Dave Roberts said this was is an exciting find for all staff who had worked on conservation programs in the Grampians over the years.

“We have been undertaking extensive fire management, fox control and other conservation works for decades and this sighting adds to our knowledge and importance of our work to conserve these species,” said Mr Roberts. “Having a native predator in the system is a great sign that the park is supporting a healthy, functioning ecosystem.”

Endangered in Victoria

Tiger Quolls are endangered in Victoria, with the south-east Australian population endangered nationally and listed as ‘near threatened’ on the International Union for Conservation of Nature red list. Tiger quolls are more common in Tasmania and New South Wales, and a few still inhabit parts of Queensland too.

Parks Victoria will now refine camera monitoring techniques to hopefully build a better picture of how widespread the population is across the Grampians National Park, following several unconfirmed sightings over the years.

Parks Victoria Chief Executive Bill Jackson said: “This is an extremely exciting rediscovery after such a long time, which highlights the critical role parks play in conserving Victoria’s unique biodiversity.”

“Victoria’s parks conserve examples of over 80% of Victoria’s plants and animals and this rediscovery confirms the Grampians National Park as stronghold for biodiversity conservation.”

A comment about this article from Britain:

Congratulations Ozz

This is incontestably superb and heartening news.

I do hope that it spurs on Australians to nurture and cherish their wonderful natural heritage, even if they see fit to elect politicians who sound like they’re living in cloud cuckoo land (no names, no pack drill – oh ok, your current prime minister – in fact thinking about it, OUR prime minister is idiotically detached environmentally too ! ).

Please be rightly delighted and hugely encouraged.

Posted by: Dominic Belfield | 18 Oct 2013 15:51:35

Australian scientists plan to relocate wildlife threatened by climate change: here.

Rare Australian lizard research


Guthega Skinks enjoy basking on rocks in the Bogong High Plains. Photo: Mike Swan

From Wildlife Extra:

Rare Australian skink seems unaffected by fires

Guthega Skink gives up a few of its secrets

July 2013. A threatened species of alpine skink has given up some big secrets on how they survive bushfires that will provide vital information to help its survival. The Australian Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) has partnered with La Trobe University to uncover some of the secrets behind the survival of one of the Australian State of Victoria‘s rarest reptiles.

La Trobe University zoology student Zak Atkins has been studying the nationally endangered Guthega Skink (Liopholis guthega) in the isolated rocky outcrops of the Bogong High Plans [sic; Plains]. The Guthega Skink is listed as Threatened under Victoria’s Flora and Fauna (FFG) Act.

2003 wild fires

“A big part of my research focused on the impact of the 2003 wildfires in the Alpine National Park on Guthega Skink populations. I found that this species may be more tolerant to wildfires than previously thought,” Mr Atkins said.

“Wildfire had been thought to be the biggest immediate threat to the survival of this species, given their restriction to high altitude habitats and small geographic range. However, the Guthega Skink probably survives fire by sheltering in burrows in rocky areas. I discovered that burrows in areas that were burned in 2003 were more likely to be under rocks than shrubs, with burrows under shrubs more common in unburnt areas. Skinks inhabiting burrows under rocks were more likely to be protected during the fire.”

Little difference in populations between burnt and unburnt areas

“After comparing Guthega Skink abundance, age structure and morphology in populations at both burnt and unburnt areas, I discovered there was little difference between lizards in these two areas, suggesting that, ten years after the fire, this disturbance had no discernible effect on this species. However, my study occurred a decade after the fire, so the Guthega Skink has had time to recover from any immediate impacts. Before we can draw robust conclusions on the effects of fire on this species it will be necessary to conduct similar studies immediately after a fire.”

Climate change threat

“The effects of climate change could have a major impact on the future of Guthega Skink populations. The limited and specific habitat characteristics of this alpine skink may not withstand the warming effects of climate change, as this species is reliant on alpine conditions to survive.”

Senior Scientist at DEPI’s Arthur Rylah Institute Nick Clemann said: “Zac Atkins’ research made a vital contribution towards conservation planning for the Guthega Skink.”

“This is the first detailed study of this species’ biology and ecology in Victoria. The knowledge gained from this study has taught us a great deal about the Guthega Skink’s diet, foraging behaviour, reproduction and vital habitat attributes,” Mr Clemann said.

“This will help us to protect their habitat and it also contributes valuable information that will help with the captive program at Healesville Sanctuary, where the Guthega Skink is one of Zoos Victoria’s ‘Fighting Extinction’ species.”