World’s smallest monitor lizard discovery in Australia


This video says about itself:

24 March 2014

Sir David Attenborough narrates a documentary about the life and crimes of Africa’s most notorious raider the monitor lizard. To feed its monster appetite, it will steal from under the noses of humans, lions and crocodiles, but with its criminal lifestyle comes extreme danger. The Nile Monitor is Africa’s largest lizard and most notorious ‘raider’ – its ultimate challenge is to steal the heavily guarded eggs and young of the Nile crocodile – can this expert thief pull it off?

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Newly discovered Dampier peninsula goanna to go on display at WA Museum

The lizard, which grows to a maximum length of 23cm, is the world’s smallest and newest addition to the genus that includes monitors and Komodo dragons

Tuesday 30 December 2014 07.36 GMT

A newly discovered species of reptile, the Dampier peninsula goanna, has gone on display at the Western Australian Museum. The lizard is the world’s smallest addition to the Varanus genus, the family that also includes monitors and Komodo dragons.

The lizard on display, a female named Pokey, may look ordinary to the untrained eye but for scientists she’s an evolutionary marvel.

Unlike her relatives, who are often large and found over a widespread area of Australia, Pokey and her fellow Dampier peninsula goannas are found only on the peninsula north of Broome and Derby in Western Australia’s Kimberley region. The species is quite tiny, growing to a maximum 23cm in length and weighing only 16 grams.

WA Museum’s reptile expert, Dr Paul Doughty, said the discovery of the Dampier peninsula goanna was significant because it is a new species.

Doughty said this goanna diverged from its closest living relative – the short-tailed monitor – about six to seven million years ago, about the same time humans and chimpanzees split off from their common ancestor.

Museum visitors will be able to observe her small head, tiny legs, stretchy body and short tail, which Doughty described as a “funky” shape for a goanna.

See also here.

Rare spectacled hare-wallaby seen in Western Australia


This video from Australia is about the rufous hare-wallaby. They are relatives of the recenttly rediscovered spectacled hare-wallaby.

From Wildlife Extra:

Rare Spectacled Hare-wallaby sighted in Western Australia

The threatened Spectacled Hare-wallaby has been sighted near Broome in Australia after nearly a decade without any recorded sightings in Kimberley region.

Although the species is widespread throughout other parts of northern Australia, the wallaby, which gets its name from its distinctive orange fur that surrounds each eye, is considered very rare in the Kimberley region and numbers here are declining.

“We need to keep a close eye on the threats to this rare and fascinating animal so we get the right information to help it survive into the future,” said Dr Alexander Watson of WWF-Australia.

“Their shelter and feeding requirements make them highly sensitive to habitat changes, so assessing their numbers is a good indicator of overall health of the local environment.”

The Spectacled hare-wallaby uses large grass tussocks for shelter from predators and the extremely hot daytime temperatures. Inappropriate fire regimes and trampling by larger animals can put the wallaby at risk of exposure.

The Spectacled hare-wallaby is well suited for life in extreme arid conditions, having adapted to extract and retain water from their food. However, their population is still at risk from modern threats such as introduced predators, grazing, frequent fires and extreme weather events like droughts.

Australian armed forces bishop charged with child abuse


This video is called Australia: bishop charged with abuse.

From the Australian Broadcasting Corporation:

Catholic Bishop Max Davis charged with sex offence dating back to 1969

Updated Mon 30 Jun 2014, 2:24pm AEST

The Bishop of the Australian Defence Force has been charged with a sex offence dating back to 1969.

Bishop Max Davis is believed to be the most senior clergyman in the Catholic Church, and the first bishop, to be charged with a child sex offence.

The 68-year-old is due to appear in Perth Magistrate’s Court on July 25, charged with three counts of indecent treatment of a child under 14.

The alleged incident took place when Bishop Davis was teaching at St Benedict’s College in New Norcia, north-east of Perth. …

According to The Catholic Weekly, Bishop Davis grew up in Perth and was ordained in 1971.

He is one of a long line of military bishops to have served the Defence Forces.

He was in the Navy in the early 60s, according to the weekly. He has been Australia’s military bishop since 2003.

Australian governmental shark killing not saving a single human


This video says about itself:

Massive Mako Shark Surprises Diver and Blue Marlin

While on a Guy Harvey Expedition off Cat Island in the Bahamas, diver and shark expert Jim Abernethy was filming a blue marlin underwater when he got a surprise visit from a 10ft. long, 600 lb. mako. Out of nowhere, the massive shark shoots past Jim like a missile, passing within feet of the unsuspecting diver and turning a quiet, peaceful dive into an explosion of bubbles and shouts!

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Australia shark cull: Government destroys 50 sharks in trial programme – but fails to catch a single great white blamed for fatalities

Opponents of scheme say it is hurting the wrong shark species and doing nothing to protect beachgoers

Adam Withnall

Wednesday 07 May 201

More than 170 sharks have been caught and 50 destroyed as part of Australia’s controversial culling policy, government figures have revealed.

Officials said the programme was “successfully restoring confidence” among beachgoers in Western Australia, but opponents have been critical after it emerged that the animals caught did not include a single great white – the species most often blamed for fatal attacks.

The trial scheme involved placing drum lines along seven of the state’s most popular beaches, and while tiger sharks were the most commonly caught there were also five protected makos, four of which were either killed or found already dead on the line.

The largest shark caught measured was at Floreat Beach, and measured 4.5m (15ft). All the animals destroyed were longer than 3m (10ft).

The government is now seeking permission to extend the programme for the next three years, but opposition politicians described attempts to justify the cull as “utter nonsense”.

Greens MP Lynn MacLaren told Australia’s ABC News that tiger sharks had not been implicated in a human fatality for almost 100 years, and that reducing their numbers “does nothing to improve beach safety”.

She said: “We know that the great white shark is the shark that has been implicated in fatalities off our coast, and no great white sharks were captured on the drum lines in this whole programme.”

Labor’s fisheries spokesman Dave Kelly said the policy had proved “very unpopular”, adding: “It has hardly caught any of the sharks it was destined to catch and the government hasn’t produced any scientific evidence to say that the policy is working.”

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Australians protest against governmental shark killing


This video from Australia says about itself:

Thousands protest Western Australia catch-and-kill shark cull plan

4 Jan 2014

Thousands of people held protests in Melbourne and Perth on Saturday.

From the BBC:

4 January 2014 Last updated at 13:15 GMT

Australians protest at plans to kill sharks in Perth

Thousands of people have been taking part in protests in Australia over a plan to kill large sharks.

The Western Australia government is set to install baited hooks off Perth’s popular beaches in response to seven fatal shark attacks in three years.

But protesters say a cull is not the answer, and will only damage the sea’s delicate ecosystem.

More than 4,000 people gathered for a demonstration at Perth’s Cottesloe beach alone.

“Without the sharks there will be no future for humanity because they balance out the ecosystem and every living creature in the sea is really important,” one protester said.

At a demonstration in Melbourne, one protester said: “We’re better than killing wildlife in vengeance. We need to use the science that’s there, to work with the science that’s there, to learn to live with these creatures instead of culling them.”
Sabotage fears

The WA government is planning to install some 72 baited hooks on drum lines one kilometre (mile) off the beaches by 10 January.

A contract to maintain and patrol the lines will be awarded to commercial fishermen in the coming days.

Any shark more than three metres long – which could include Great White, Tiger and Bull sharks – will be shot and disposed of.

But the protesters have vowed not to let up in their opposition to the plans. Further demonstrations are planned, and the Green Party says it is consulting its lawyers over the legality of the move.

Dutch news agency ANP reports (translated):

The protesters are afraid that sharks less than 3 meters long and other sea creatures will also be caught in the lines with bait which the authorities want to install.

January 2014: Despite experiencing just 20 fatal shark attacks in their area in the past 100 years, the government of Western Australian has decided on a controversial policy of catching, destroying and dumping sharks of more than 3m to come near its popular beaches: here.

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