The Wild Times

Spring 2007
The official newsletter of Wildlife Carers Darling Downs Inc. PO Box 567 Toowoomba QLD 4350

Wildlife crime knows no borders page 9


Pip the baby Koala 6mths who was saved by Australia Zoo workers after his sick mother was brought to the Australia Wildlife Hospital. Photograph: Sharyn Rosewarne - Story page 8
© Newspix / News Ltd / 3rd Party Managed Reproduction & Supply Rights

Wildlife Carers Darling Downs Inc. Rescue Hotline: 1300 555 555 with pager number 85151 or phone: 0448 062 857

President’s Report
Hi all! As the new President of Wildlife Carers Darling Downs I would like to introduce myself, if you do not already know me. My name is Sharon Kajewski - I am one of the founding members of the group way back when there where only 5 of us, who decided to start a group. I have been caring for approximately 20 years now, working my way up from possums to now mainly caring for Gliders, Micro Bats, Koalas, Echidnas and Macropods. You will find me as the coordinator of these animals as well. Now I would like to say a huge thankyou to the committee members from last year. (Hopefully I can fill the shoes of past presidents). I would like to say a special thank you to Gayle Gilligan, who for many years was our secretary. As well as looking after the pager and putting up with us, due to her accident, she can no longer perform these roles. Without Gayle the group would never have got off the ground - she has a wealth of knowledge is areas that we do not understand, and she kept us on track, and she will be missed terribly. Another huge thanks goes to Alison McDonald, who stepped up to the plate and filled in Gayle’s position - a big role to have taken on. We are all grateful for the great job Alison has done. I could go on for pages thanking individuals but you all know that what you have done for the group in the past years, and this has been very much appreciated. That also includes all those people that have put up their hands to help out with BBQs and helping-out at days like Hampton Food Fest / Million Paws Walk etc., or picking up animals and looking after the pager. Now I would like to welcome any new committee members and thank them for taking on the roles they have. Also, thankyou to all those that have agreed to continue with the roles that they already had. This year we hopefully will be doing a lot of fundraising and promotion, which we hopefully will have a subcommittee to help out the coordinator (Sharon MacLeod) - as this area is a huge one! Now, last but not least, thankyou to the coordinators that do their best to find homes for animals that come into care, and to educate new carers. And thankyou to the carers themselves. You put your hearts and souls into caring for our native wildlife through the good times as well as the bad, giving these very special creatures a second chance at life they would not have had - if not for people like you. I look forward to meeting you all and to a great new year with Wildlife Carers Darling Downs Sharon Kajewski President

Prevention = Common Sense
With Spring and Summer approaching I would like to put out a warning to all of our carers, whether you care for birds, possums or macropods. During the Winter months I have become aware of a problem that may get worse over the coming hotter months if we don’t get more rain. Animals are in search of water in unexpected places due to the continuing drought. Pillar-shaped concrete bird-baths have proved to be deadly! These are the concrete “pedestal” bird-baths in which the bath is a separate piece to the stand. Animals have had to be euthanased because of injuries they have received when the top part has fallen on them. This is a timely reminder to put plenty of water at ground level for easy access. If you use larger containers or troughs, please place a piece of branch in them. This will stop birds from drowning when they happen to fall into the water containers and can’t find a way out. Lyn Taylor Possum Coordinator 

Mrs Usher of Toowoomba, Qld, with her birds. Many country women were renowned for taming and nursing wild birds and animals.
From Pioneer Women of the Bush and Outback by Jennifer Isaccs, Landsowne Press, 1990.

Events Calendar
Upcoming Workshops @ TREC
The following workshops are happening at TREC, Laurel Bank Park Hall on the 2nd Sunday of each month at 1.00pm – 3.00pm in October and November 2007. October 21 November BATS (NOTE DATE CHANGE) REPTILES

WILD Trades
Recently the group purchased a Humidicrib from the Toowoomba Hospital auctions. We will loan the crib out to group members for any animals that may be in need. It has been agreed that there be a $50.00 holding fee on the crib, which will be returned to the borrower on the return of the crib. Please note: there will be a form to be signed by the borrower stating that they will return the crib in the same condition as it was lent out in, and that if there are any damages to the crib it will be the borrows responsibility to repair it. At the moment I have the crib at my house in my garage and I can be contacted on 07 46155 876 or 0438 340 775 to make arrangements for it to be loaned out. Magenta King

If you are interested in attending or would like any additional information please contact the relevant species Carer Coordinator listed on page 3.

WCDD Library
WCDD have a library at TREC with the availability to borrow books and publications.

Logan Alexander King was born to Magenta and Jason on
June 30, shortly after 11am. A little brother for Soren.

New Members
Welcome to all of our new members
Tara Blatch - I’m currently studying to be a vet nurse. I have always had an interest in animals and wildlife. I would love to be a carer, I couldn’t think of a better way to give back. Lynn Bryce - Have worked as a volunteer before with RSPCA, in Kingaroy and Bougainville (New Guinea). Also volunteer for Riding with Disabled, Toowoomba Andrea Elks - I live in Murphys Creek with my husband and two girls and our menagerie. Judi and Brendan Grey Lesley S. Little Carolyn White and Dereck Horrell If you are a new member and have been missed out of this list, I do apologise, and we’ll endeavour to have you in next time.

Mike Holmes Founding member, President, mediator and
mentor of F.A.U.N.A. (Foster Care of Australia’s Unique Native Animals) departed this world this winter. Mike was passionate in what he made his life’s work, which of course was wildlife. Come rain hail or shine, day or night regardless of the species, if an animal needed his help, Mike was a man that never ever turned down a rescue. That also applied to any carer, giving them the necessary help and support when needed. Mike & Sue’s door was always open. Mike leaves behind his wife Sue of 33 years, his daughter Debbie from a previous marriage and 3 grandchildren who reside in England - whilst Sue knows she has the support of close friends and fellow carers within the wildlife community to call upon if needed. Mike’s main dream was to set up a Wildlife Hospital or Stabilisation Facility for our Native Wildlife whilst working in conjunction with the Moggill Koala Hospital, Australia Zoo and to educate the veterinary students at the Gatton University on the handling of our native wildlife. His wife Sue has taken it on board to complete his dream, and please no one underestimate this woman she is just as determined and annoying as Mike was. Mike’s passing has had an enormous impact within the wildlife community, and he will be greatly missed by all. It is a shame they broke the mould, because there will never be anyone that can hold a candle to him. Our thoughts and hearts are with you Sue. Sheree Crawford

Attention all Carers Is your permit up to date? We are trying to update our permit list and need to know if anyone is missing their permit. Please contact the carer coordinator Catherine Buchanan with your details. Email: or mobile 0413 707 313 APOLOGY: Due to a misunderstanding, our scheduled meeting at Highfields Tavern was at TREC. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Meetings and Gatherings SPRING
*Bring a plate

Type Gathering Meeting

Where Highfields Tavern TREC

Additions Pot Luck*

WCDD Christmas Party will be held at 2 Stonehaven Street Toowoomba on Saturday December 8 starting 3pm. Please bring your own meat/whatever, and a plate to share. Contact Alison on 46384154 to RSVP by December 1.


Fundraising News
In Winter we had stalls at the RSPCA MILLION PAWS WALK, HAMPTON FOOD and WINE FESTIVAL and WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY... thankyou so much to our volunteers - Lois B, Pam A, Susanne P, John L, Lyn T, Lorraine M, Alison M, Sharon K and Sharon M... and more! We also had fundraising BBQs at Landcasters Auction House, selling yummy hot sausages on bread and steak sandwiches, softdrinks and various tasty snacks cooked to perfection by Sharon and Don McLeod. John Lahdesluoma donated a tent to the group, and it been fantastic at fundraising events. If you contact Lorraine McPhee or drop in to TREC at Laurel Bank Hall in Toowoomba, you can purchase WCDD logo bags, logo shirts and new logo wide brimmed hats. The hats look fantastic for summer and are incredibly sensible! (Put the hats on your christmas shopping list).

Spring Fundraising BBQs 29 October (sunday)

Lancasters Antiques Auction House Railway Street Toowoomba

4 November (sunday)

Lancasters Antiques Auction House Railway Street Toowoomba

If you are interested in helping at a BBQ please contact our Fundraising Coordinator sharon MacLeod. Other ways of assisting sharon with fundraising are to sell Cadbury fundraiser chocolates, WCDD pens, and WCDD wildlife greeting cards.

World Environment Day (left to right) Lois Barry, John Lahdesluoma, Jake Venz, Sharon McLeod, and baby human Lincoln Venz.

Hampton Food and Wine Festival (left to right) John Lahdesluoma, Sharon Kajewski and Chris Drew.

Insurance is an irritation but losing an asset can be most inconvenient!
Let me take the irritation out of organising your insurance. Local Mobile Insurance Agent servicing Toowoomba, Crows Nest & surrounds. I will come to you. I can help with all your insurance needs. Specialising in Life Insurance, Business, Farm, Home & Motor Vehicle.

Mobile: 0408 982 096

Phone: 0746 131 326

Marcia Russell
Fax: 0746 131 323


Maranoa Insurance Services Pty Ltd Authorised Representative Number 234758. Authorised Representative of Suncorp Financial Services Pty Ltd ABN 50 010 844 621 AFSL No. 229885 Suite 6/256 Margaret Street, Toowoomba, Qld 4350

2007 Annual Open day & Conference
Held on Saturday 28 July and Sunday 29 July

‘I would like to thank everyone who became involved in the

Weekend Conference. Without the input of many members the Conference would not have eventuated. I was very impressed with the professional Poster and Carers displays. I would like to extend special appreciation and thanks to the members who donated their entire weekend to help run the event! Also to: John Lahdesluoma for his considerable help in moving the display boards on Friday night and delivering and setting up his BBQ for the weekend. Alison McDonald for donating an enormous amount of her time and expertise in the collation and production of professional posters for the displays. Sharon McLeod, who was given the extraordinary task of proving food throughout the weekend when she had absolutely NO idea of the number of people attending... and to Val Adamson for her excellent yummy slices. I will be running another Conference next year BUT the event will be held at the end of May over one day only and along the format of Guest speakers and displays. Compact version of this year. I am also looking at shifting the venue to the James Byrne centre. - any Ideas would be greatfully appreciated. Lorraine McPhee Conference Convenor

Top: Susanne Pearce, Lyn Taylor, John Laudesluoma, Lois Barry and Sharon McLeod get into the superb tucker. Bottom right: Marcia Russell and Pam Allen catching up Bottom left: John Lahdesluoma on the job with the website and loo paper, and Catherine Buchanan ponders live food.


Our wonderful Conference Speakers
Marcia Russell Marcia has been a long time member of Wildlife Carers Darling Downs which has included holding the position of President. Marcia started out caring for Macropods and Possums and the occasional Bird. Unfortunately for the Birds, Marcia quickly discovered that they were her least likable creatures and decided to turn her acquired skills to Flying foxes. Flying foxes are her passion and Marcia has quickly developed an in depth knowledge, and passion for the beautifully intelligent creatures. veronica Newbury Veronica runs the environmental education programs for Toowoomba City Council as well as initiating the Bushcapades School Holiday Program for Council. She also supports a number of community groups interested in environmental issues and projects. Paul Mander Paul is one of Australia’s most experienced and sort after Raptor carers. Born and raised in England with Raptors as his constant companions, Paul is a second generation Raptor specialist, as he follows closely in the foot steps of his father. Living near Nerang,on the edge of a National park, Paul is our principal contact when it comes to caring for and rehabilitation of large Raptors, Wedgetailed Eagles, Powerful Owls, Goshawks etc. Very experienced in Falconery, he is able to free fly is Raptors to ensure absolute fitness before release. Janet Gamble 6 Current Committees representing RSPCA QLD: QWRC (Qld Wildlife Rehabilitation Council). UrBAC (Urban Biodioversity Consortium Steering Committee).MMAC (Ministerial Macropod Management Advisory Committee).CrocMAC (Ministerial Crocodile Management Advisory Committee). Janet is a regular speaker at our Conference and provides a Professional and entertaining account of Wildlife Rescues, rehabilitation and most importantly, enviromental preservation through the eyes of a member of RSPCA State Wildlife Co ordinator and Professional Zoo keeper.

Caring tips / stories
Bat News
As you would imagine it is getting a bit cold up here now so it is fairly quiet on the batty front. In the last 3 months I have had 4 rescues, one net-caught, two barbed-wire and one rather unusual sub-adult caught in a stormwater drain. Surprisingly the net-caught was only lightly tangled, no horrible constriction, so I just released straight out again. One barbed-wire rescue had compound forearm fracture and was euthanased and the second only had very minor membrane damage and was also released after a couple of days. But the interesting one was a large baby that had made his way to a stormwater drain in the City Centre of Toowoomba. We were intrigued as to how he made it to the drain he was in. He was unable to fit through the grate at the top and this drain did not opted directly to the road. He somehow got into a situation where he was in the water and washed quite a way into the drain he was found in. It was also a drain behind shops that not many people walk near. The people that found him were very practical and put a broom handle into the drain for him to hang off as he was swimming around. We are not sure how long he had been in there as it had been a couple of days since it had rained in Toowoomba. The Council had been called and were taking their time. I just wanted him out, I could see how exhausted he was and he was shivering from being wet. The water was quite smelly as well. I tried desperately to manoeuvre him out, but the slots in the grate were just too narrow. There were some plumbers working close so one of them kindly came with a heavy bar and lifted the concrete grate. I wrapped him immediately and began gently drying him off. He was so skinny. In my years of caring for these wonderful creatures he was probably the thinnest I have ever seen. I laid him still wrapped in another dry towel in the bottom of the carry cage and hot water bottle underneath as he was too weak to hang any more – he was instantly asleep. I got home, weighed and measured – he was less than ½ the weight he should have been – poor fella. I immediately got a heat pad organised and continued warming him up. I then gave some glucose powder on his gums, as he for sure would be on his way to hypoglycemia (his gums were pale). It may well have been a few days since he had anything to eat. He was almost too weak to open his eyes. An hour or so later he was looking out wide eyed. I made up the recipe from the Flying Fox manual for severely malnourished Flying Foxes and started syringing into his mouth. He gratefully accepted and took about 10 mls. I went back a couple of hours later to check and see if he wanted some more but unfortunately he had died. He had gone through too much, at least he was warm and had some food in his tummy, and at least he didn’t drown. Marcia Russell - Animal Coordinator Macropods, Possums & Flying Foxes

Left: Paul Mander; below: Marcia Russell; and below left: Janet Gamble Flying Fox in grate

Holding him out of the water

Porter came to me on October 31. Halloween Day in Canada, from where I come. A day filled with ghosts, goblins, witches and all things spooky. With hindsight I should have named him Spook. He was a trembling 260 grams when Lyn Taylor turned him over to me. “A victim of a dog attack”, she said and that’s all she knew about his past. He was my second possum to care for and I thought he’d be a piece of cake like the first. How wrong I was. He was a frightened little thing. The startled movement startled him causing him to tremble. My heart ached for him. All my soft words of comfort did little for him. He was a hard feeder too. I tried many different ways to feed him and in the end it was a matter of keeping a firm grip onto his head and forcing the milk into him. It didn’t take too long before he finally got the hang of it. Toileting him one day I noticed there was an orange tinge on the baby wipe. I thought it a bit odd but didn’t think much about it at the time. I assumed that it was residual medicine from when Lyn had treated him after the dog attack. Over the days to come the orange became more predominant and he looked wet. Since there was a meeting coming up I took a used baby wipe and asked Lynn “Why is my possum turning orange?” She took one look and gave me the dreaded news that he more than likely had stress dermatitis and needed to be on antibiotics. I got the antibiotics for him, and over the course it seemed to be getting worse rather than better. He stank to the high heavens, lost all the fur on his tummy and legs. He looked pitiful. After much consultation with both Lyn and Trish LeeHong it was required that I needed to bathe him with a special shampoo that I got from the vet. Oh what fun to bathe a possum. I put him in a pouch and as gently as I could began to sponge him down. Well you would have thought I was killing him. He cried and cried at this torture but never bit or scratched me. For that I was thankful. The worst part was still to come. I had to let him sit for 10 minutes saturated in shampoo; as I started to rinse him the cries of protest were even louder. As I wrapped him up to dry him he trembled so hard I thought he would vibrate us out of the chair. I apologised profusely but he was not a happy boy. We all had to endure that twice a week for several weeks. Finally the end was near, the antibiotics kicked in and the fur began to grow back. He was a handsome fellow now and was a healthy 791 grams. Finally he was ready for a larger room, he had clearly outgrown the kennel he was in but the need to be confined outweighed his discomfort of such a small space. I put him into the aviary and he was delighted. You could almost see him smiling. He hung from his tail, swung and played. He was gaining confidence and no longer trembled. As we have a screened patio area – mostly to keep our cats from roaming, we keep the aviary in the patio and we were able to let Porter out to play. It was good fun to watch him race around scent marking our shoes, our feet and anything else he could find. He would have a cuddle in your lap and then scurry off to do more investigating. We have a stuffed parrot hanging above a ficus and that’s where he loved to be. He would perch on top of the parrot riding it like a bull rider in the rodeo. We spent many an evening watching his antics. But it all had to come to an end. It was time for him to go out to the big house in readiness for release. I tried to explain to him it was for the best, but the look on his face when he realised we were no longer there was crushing. He got over it in a few days and I admit I would go out and talk to him and give him a peace offering of cheese. Anytime he heard my walking past the “big house” he would come flying up to the door to say hello. Because Porter was so gentle, weighing him was easy. I simply put my hands out to him and he would willingly crawl

onto them and sit on my shoulder. I could then take hold of him, wrap him in a pillowslip and place him on the scale. The dreaded day came when he weighed enough and it was time to say good-bye. I had been steeling myself for this and told him that it was time for him to see the big wild. I’m sure he agreed and then we arranged it. We found the perfect tree not too close to the house, but close enough where we could observe him and him us if he wanted to. I gave him the possum lecture about standing up for himself and not letting any other possums boss him around, staying off the road, and told him that he could come home whenever he wanted. I watched him the first night come out his box and race up and down the tree. He spent over an hour scent marking the tree before he settled down and had a feed. The next morning, being an anxious mum, I had to know whether or not he was back in his box. I called out to him and to my delight he popped his head out. I was so excited that he was in his box. The second night he was out it seemed he took my last words to him literally. He came home. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw him waddle up to the patio. I didn’t know what to do. I went out and talked to him and yes I gave him an almond, but I told him he had to go back to his tree. I felt horrible and closed the door on him. He didn’t leave and I finally went out and picked him up and carried him back to the tree. That didn’t work either he followed me back to the house. I gave up and left him to his own devices, he seemed so desperate to come in and in the back of my mind I could hear the words from the carers conference “they are not pets, they must be released”, he finally left and I wanted to cry. He was back in his box in the morning and I thought, “This is great, he’s going to stay in his box.” Wrong. He wasn’t in his box for the next few days and I was devastated. I tried hard but couldn’t help myself and the tears flowed and I declared that “that was it”, no more nice possums, I only want mean nasty ones that you’d be glad to get rid of. Well he came home again didn’t he? We were sitting out having dinner on the patio and who should rock up but Porter himself. He was running back and forth in front of the screen door to be let in and I thought, “bugger it!” and let him in to do what ever he wanted to do. That turned out to be having a little bit of a feed and wanting a cuddle. From that night on he came home every 7 night. He would stay for as little as 20 minutes and as long as a couple of hours. He always had a feed and sometimes a cuddle. I got to know what tree he was hanging out in and could spot him doing possum things. For a while his schedule was to come home during the week at a decent hour and on the weekends not show up until late. But would always turn up early on Sundays for dinner. Typical teenage boy! As time went on he would come later and later, I noticed that he didn’t want me to come too close. He was turning feral. Eventually he would come long after we had gone to bed thus we’d never see him. We always knew he’d been there as the food was always gone. One night I was up late and caught a glimpse of him sitting on top of the cat’s scratching post eating a piece of corn. I quietly opened the door and called out to him and he was off like a shot. He clearly didn’t want to know me anymore. The patio enclosure continued to be his haven for several months and I continued to leave him treats. His visits became less frequent and I haven’t seen him for over two months. I really miss his early evening visits but know that he is safe and wild doing all the possum things he should be doing. Catherine Buchanan - Carer Coordinator

Interesting News Articles :)
Campaign seeks end to commercial culling
Courier Mail August 30, 2007 Professional roo shooters and conservationists have joined forces to end the commercial harvest of whiptail wallabies. Although the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service allows 25 000 a year to be shot, professional shooters take little more than 1000 based on the latest figures. Wildlife Preservation Society spokesman Des Boyland said yesterday the whiptail, one of Australia’s most beautiful macropods, should be taken off the commercial harvest list. Although overall numbers were not of concern, the once-populous wallaby was in trouble in some areas and needed protection rather than harvesting. Queensland is the only state that still allows commercial harvest of the whiptail wallaby - also known as the pretty face. Mr Boyland said he had asked the Environmental Protection Agency to formally end the cull. “If they are only shooting them for skins, a fair dinkum shooter wants to maximise dollars back from every bullet,” Mr Boyland said. “He’ll go for a species that will give you a carcass as well as a skin. “On top of that, they are very small wallabies. There’s just no point to shooting them.” Kangaroo Industries Association executive officer John Kelly said whiptails were not an economic species and his organisation had no issue with them being taken off the shooting list.


Cold, cold hearts kill koalas

(COVER PHOTO) Courier Mail July 30, 2007 Pip the koala is lucky. He was saved by workers at the Australian Wildlife Hospital after his mother was brought in ill with disease. Hospital volunteer Wanda Grabowski said koalas were coming under increasing stress from drought, cold weather and clearing of vegetation. As they entered the breeding season, risks increased dramatically as the marsupials started moving from tree to tree to mate. That put them at risk of attacks from dogs or being hit by cars. The hospital, part of the Sunshine Coast’s Australia Zoo, had 40 to 50 koalas and numbers showed no signs of easing, Ms Grabowski said. “Eucalypt leaves have low nutrition value anyway and with the drought and clearing, it means some koalas are basically starving,” she said. “They are coming in emaciated with low body weight and this means in such a stressed condition they are likely to contract disease.” Ms Grabowski said clearing for urban expansion was continuing at such a rate that the hospital had received several koalas that had been knocked out of trees by bulldozers. Other animals brought in included possums, reptiles and birds. Brian Williams


Coast swamped by flying foxes

Courier Mail August 4, 2007 Eco-vandals are being blamed for an invasion of flying foxes on the Gold Coast. More than 2ha of swampland near Dulguigan in northern NSW has been illegally cleared, destroying a breeding area for several species, including the grey-headed and black flying foxes. Since the clearing was discovered three weeks ago, Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary has reported a 400 per cent increase in the number of injured and starving flying foxes being brought into its veterinary hospital. “We have nearly 7000 flying foxes who had to disperse and find new places,” said Currumbin Sanctuary’s senior vet Michael Pyne. “They’ve had to find new areas to live and in the process lots have been injured. Some are starving, so they come down to the ground and cats and dogs are attacking them. “That on top of there being a drought, there’s not much food about so those two factors together mean that a large number of flying foxes are coming to us injured.” Only about 100 flying foxes – a species listed as vulnerable – remain in the cleared area near Dulguigan, which at one time housed more than 4000. “It’s not just the flying foxes that have suffered in this – the area was also home to many native mammals, birds and reptiles,” Dr Pyne said. He warned people not to touch injured flying foxes as they could carry the deadly lyssavirus. People are advised to contact the sanctuary or a local wildlife group. Andrew Potts Provided by Sharon McLeod


“The harvest is in the order of hundreds a year, so it’s not a commercial issue for us”, Mr Kelly said.

“The only issue we have is philosophical because they are a resource and (shooting) is appropriately controlled so there’s no reason why they can’t be harvested. “Having said that, it’s not something we are goind to oppose.” The highest number of whiptails shot was about 97 000 in the late 1950s, when there were no quotas. Environmental Protection Agency wildlife conservation branch director Rebecca Williams said she raised the issue with kangaroo industry representatives at a Charleville meeting last week. “We’ve also put it to the macropod ministerial advisory committee,” Ms Williams said. “I can’t say what the Minister’s decision will be, but there are very few harvesters taking them.” Mr Boyland said Whiptail skins were popular with tourists because they were so attractive. The supple nature of the skins also made them ideal for making whips. Brian Williams Provided by Sharon McLeod


scales of justice


Melbourne Age August 17, 2007 What starts out as a teenage hobby for reptile enthusiasts can lead to a murky world of criminal behaviour, stealing native species from the wild for the lucrative illegal reptile trade. Seven properties, including a veterinary practice and a pet shop, were raided across Melbourne this week as part of a national effort to curb the illegal trade feeding a growing demand to keep reptiles as pets. Operation Mystic, a 10-month investigation by 11 law enforcement, customs and environmental agencies across Australia, provided an insight into a sinister trade and led to four Melbourne men facing wildlife charges. But Department of Sustainability and Environment senior investigator Keith Larner says despite this week’s raids, it is very difficult for authorities to keep one step ahead of the culprits. “There are groups of Victorians who jump in their 4WDs and go bush and it is very difficult to catch them as we don’t have the resources to follow them for several days into the desert and, of course, they are not going to do it when someone else is around,” he says. “These are people who make it their business to go into the wild and steal native reptiles from the backblocks of Queensland, the Northern Territory, South Australia and Western Australia and keep some for their personal collections while selling off the rest to pet shops.” There are around 9000 Victorians with licences to keep protected native wildlife and more than half of them are reptile enthusiasts. However, the huge expenses involved in the hobby proves too much of a temptation for some to offset their costs with illegal trafficking. Mr Larner says it is not uncommon for reptile collectors to face electricity bills of around $2000 a quarter for the heating and lighting of their enclosures. With some native snakes and lizards fetching prices from $100 to $2500 in pet shops, some unscrupulous collectors have taken to stealing to order. Some also “launder” stolen reptiles by inflating the number of legally bred animals in their licensed collections or replacing dead animals with others taken from the wild. State authorities often find links with illegal reptile trading and the drug trade. Of those caught with illegal reptiles, 36 per cent are also found with drugs and 15 per cent with unlicensed firearms and prohibited weapons. Australian Customs Service national manager of investigations Richard Janeczko says that smuggling dangerous animals such as snakes and scorpions is attractive to outlaw motorcycle gangs because of the macho appeal. “We don’t see them as a major player but certainly the bikie element is intrigued by dangerous animals and, from our experience, bikies are involved in some wildlife smuggling,” he says. While most collectors and pet shops are above board, the huge profits to be made have created an underground network among collectors and some retail shops. Since the Australian Environmental Law Enforcement and Regulations Network was formed four years ago, information- sharing between agencies nationally is helping investigators close in on the unscrupulous operators. “Instead of one person sitting behind a computer trying to catch a crook, you’ve now got people sharing knowledge across the nation ... Wildlife crime knows no borders.”



Native species commonly traded illegally: Black-headed python Found in the northern half of Australia and grows up to 2.5 metres in length. Sold to pet stores for $1000 and retailing for $1500-$2500. Woma python Found in WA, SA, Queensland and NT with various colour variations. Sold by smugglers for $1000; retail $2000-$2500. Bearded dragons Found across mainland Australia with different colour variations. Sold to pet stores for $30-$50; retail $150-$200. Shingleback lizards Found in the southern half of Australia. Sold to pet stores for $30$50; retail $75-$100. Marbled geckos A 10-centimetre gecko found across mainland Australia. Sold to pet stores for $10; retail $55-$75. Common long-necked tortoise A freshwater species found in Queensland, NSW, South Australia and Victoria. Sold to pet stores for $5-$10; retail $95-$120. Further reading:

Tuesday 28 August started out as a normal unpredicatable day for this Wildlife Carer. By late afternoon the day was to take an unexpected turn. I received a phone call from the Police to collect a blue tongue Lizard from a car in Bridge street. After persuading the Officers to “box the Lizard” and take it back to the Station I decided to wait until after dinner before wandering down to collect the Lizard. Of course, I was in my most glamorous outfit I could possibly find!!!. Arriving at the Station I was excitedly ushered inside to be greeted by several official police and a Channel 9 camera man. The Lizard had caused quite a lot of excitement as it had been found in a car that had been travelling from Darwin to Brisbane. The Lizard is a beautiful sandy coloured Centralian Bluetongue which is only found in the desert of Central Australia. The Environmental Protection Agency has been informed and the Lizard is now in care until it can either be returned to its original home site or relocated to a suitable Wildlife park.

Lorna Edwards

Lorraine McPhee


Chlamydia and koalas
Microbiology Australia, September 1999 At first glance there may seem no connection between human strains of Chlamydia and those infecting that uniquely Australian icon, the koala. While this might have been true as recently as 1996, recent research has significantly changed our understanding of chlamydial infections in this host. Chlamydial infection is still the major disease infecting the koala Phasocolartos cinereus1 2. The bacteria infect the urogenital tract and eyes and can cause female infertility and impaired vision, leading to blindness in severe cases. Chlamydial infection has been found in almost all Australia’s wild koala populations and in may zoo and sanctuary animals as well. In some instances the impact of the disease has been profound. For example, on Phillip Island, off the south coast of Victoria, 98 per cent of the females have a urinogenital tract infection. As a result, 51 per cent of them are infertile, with the overall reproductive rates reduced by some 22 per cent 3 4. However, at other localities levels of chlamydial infection can be quite low and apparently stable, at least in the absence of significant stress factors. It is now commonly agreed that environmental stresses on koalas with an underlying chlamydial infection may cause outward signs of the disease to develop. One problem with measuring the impact of chlamydial disease is that the effects can take 5 – 20 years to become apparent in a population. Prior to 1996, chlamydial strains infecting koalas were called C. psittaci, the same species that infects birds. Recently, however, our work at Queensland University has changed this view and is leading to a better understanding of koala chlamydial infections 6-9. Studies in 1988 indicated that two generic subtypes of koala Chlamydia (designated C. psittaci Type I and II) existed. Recent DNA sequencing sties have shown that Type I strains are more than 98 per cent identical to the human strain of C. Pneumoniae and it is now widely accepted that they should be described as C. Pneumoniae, not C. psittaci. DNA sequencing studies with Type II koala strains have shown that they should now be reassigned to the species C. pecorum. The species C. pecorum also infects sheep and cattle in Australia, as well as other parts of the world. C. pecorum in koalas Virtually all the wild populations of koalas studied (over eight separate populations in detail) are infected with C. pecorum 2, with the only negative populations to date found in a few island colonies. Infection levels range from quite low (8 per cent) in some populations to very high (over 90 per cent) in others. Even when infection levels are high (73 per cent in one south east Queensland population) the clinical disease levels are usually much lower (17 per cent). Current information suggests that C. percorum is the most prevalent chlamydial species in koalas; it can be found at both ocular and urogenital sites and is more likely to be associated with clinical disease - that is, C. pneumoniae (see below) - in this host 2. It has always been assumed that sexual transmission is the major, perhaps sole, route of transmission of Chlamydia between koalas. However, while sexual contact is clearly and important mechanism of disease transmission, out studies show that mother-toyoung transmission is also a major transmission mode in certain populations. Even more interesting was the finding that the strains of C. pecorum found in koalas are genetically very diverse, yet some are identical to strains found in sheep and cattle 7. Detailed


Hi-ho silver

Taronga Park Zoonooz March 2006 Georgia Mike Many people will be aware of the Silvereye as a small, yellow streak with a ring of white feathers around the eyes, darting through the trees. While there are several subspecies of Silvereye in Australia, the type that occurs in Tasmania is unusual - each year large numbers commence a mass migration at the close of breeding season. Just 13 centimetres long, the birds follow food supplies north for more than 1500 kilometres. Not much is known about their migratory instincts, so recently, the University of Technology in Sydney has been studying individual birds caught wild in Tasmania. It has been discovered that Silvereyes can take their bearings from the rising and the setting of the sun, and that they will also use light intensity and the magnetic field of the earth to follow their course. They can even learn major landmarks along the way. Once the study was complete, however, it became apparent that it would be difficult to release the birds back to their native Tasmania. So UTS and Taronga Zoo established a plan to integrate them into their existing Silvereye population. That should increase the genetic pool of this fascinating and beautiful bird for the country’s wildlife institutions. Provided by Alison McDonald



Better net result

Courier Mail, September 1, 2007 There’s more good news on the removal of light filament netting to stop wildlife attacking fruit trees. Thanks to Mitre 10 removing this stuff in favour of heavier netting that does not kill wildlife, other stores are following suit. Wildlife carer Louise Saunders say Bunnings have agreed to look at the issue with a view to getting rid of the light filament netting in about a year. It’s hard to imagine why businesses would stubbornly keep carrying material that kills and maims so many creatures. Provided by Sharon McLeod

DNA sequence analysis now strongly supports the suggestion that cross-host transmission between koalas and ruminants has occurred, probably several times in the past 50-200 years (Figure 1). Whether koalas or ruminants first had the disease is difficult to prove, although identical C. percorum strains in ruminants from Europe might suggest that at least some strains were brought to Australia from other parts of the world (Figure 2). OCULAR DISEASE Figure 1: This koala shows signs of ocular chlamydial infection, which impairs visisan and can in severe cases lead to blindness. Chlamydial infection is present in almost all Australia’s wild koala populations.

As a consequence of this recent work, the biovars of C. pneumoniae are now clearly recognised. They can be distinguished not only by host preference (humans, horses, koalas) but also DNA sequence analysis at several gene loci (16s rRNA, 23SrRNA, ompAVD4, ompB, groESL intergenic region). The koala biovar seems genetically distinct from human and horse biovars at all loci tested. Amazingly, however, all 10 koala C. Pneumoniae isolates studied to date are 100 percent identical. The isolates represent a reasonable sampling of koala C. pneumoniae strains, as they were from ocular, nasal and urogenital sites in both diseased and healthy animals from six geographically distinct poplulations. This lack of ompA4D4 polymorphism for koala C. pneumoniae is very similar to the human biovar of C. pneumoniae. There are several possible explanations for such clonality: the infecting strain may only recently have moved into the new host species and there has not yet been enough time for evolution to occur, the parasite clone may be particularly effective, via either its virulence or transmission characteristics, and has thus recently 11 replaced all other, less competitive clones in its host species, or, in these biovars, ompA might not be a good gene for measuring the total genetic variation in the organism, possibly due to the fact that MOMP is not the target of the host’s immune response in these biovars; hence the ompA gene might not be under the same evolutionary pressure to change continually as in other chlamydial species such as C. trachomatis. Whatever the case, koalas and humans have more in common than once was thought, but only the test of time will tell whether or not the koala is a good model for human C. pneumoniae disease. Acknowledgements Thanks to the postgraduate students and staff from the Chlamydia Research Group at QUT who contributed to the findings summarised here, especially regarding chlamydial infections in koalas; also to the field workers, particularly those from the Australian KoalaFoundation, Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary and Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, for obtaining the samples. References
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. Brown et al (1987) Aust vet J 64:324-50. Jackson M, White N, Giffard P & Timms P (1999) Veterinary Microbiol (in press). Every (1986) Aust Wildlife Res 13:517-25. Mitchell et al (1988) Aust Wildife Res 15:511-14. Weigler et al (1988) J Wildlife Diseases 24:259-63. Glassic TV, Giffard P and Timms P (1996) Systematic & Applied Microbiol 19:457-64. Jackson M, Giffard P and Timms P (1997) Systematic & Applied Microbiol 20:187-200. Waldorp S, Fowler A, O’Callaghan P, Giffard P & Timms P (1999) Systematic & Applied Microbiol (in press). Girjes et al (1988) Infect Immun 56:1897-1900.

Figure 2: Possible evolution of the koala strains of Chlamydia pecorum. C. Pneumoniae in koalas

Figure 3: Some strains of Chlamydia pecorum may have arrived from elsewhere.

C. pneumoniae infections are widespread in Australia’s free-range and captive koala populations 8. C. pneumoniae has now been identified in six widely geographically seperated free-range populaitons from Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. Infection levels, as detected by PCR/hybridisation, appear to range from quite low (10 per cent at Queensland’s Gold Coast site) to very high (89 per cent in the Mount Lofty Ranges, South Australia). Koala C. pneumoniae can be detected in both urinogenital (5 to 62 per cent) sites in male and female koalas, with no consistent site or sex bias. Infection levels are usually lowgrade, particularly in comparison with C. pecorum infections in the same population. It is still not entirely clear which diseases are caused specifically by C. pneumoniae infections in koalas. In some free-range populations at least, it apparently does not commonly cause overt signs of disease 2, 8. However, because animals are often co-infected with both C. pecorum and C. pneumoniae, disease associations are difficult to determine. Recently, Wardrope et al showed that the latter species also causes respiratory disease in koalas. In a sanctuary episode, it was associated with a range of respiratory signs, including difficulty in breathing, sneezing and coughing, leading to a serious and often purulent nasal discharge. In most cases, symptoms resolved in 1-3 months. Whether similar signs of the disease are common in free-range populations is uncertain, although they are not often seen.

Provided by Lorraine McPhee

A couple of Clare Giover’s winter babies 2007

Creating a wildlife garden
Everyone needs a home Development, both urban and rural, has resulted in trees being cleared to such an extent that a major wildlife habitat requirement - tree hollows - has almost disappeared from some areas. Particularly hard-hit are the urban areas where large hollow trees and limbs can be dangerous and are removed. Hole, hollows and cavities provide roosting, refuge and nesting areas for species as diverse as owls, possums, parrots and insectivorous bats and geckos. For many native animals, dead trees with their hollow nesting sites are more important than living trees. Consequently, the loss of hollows is a huge loss for our wildlife. Trees Hollow trees and branches were once very common. Trees grew large, branches died or broke, and termites hollowed them out. This can only happen with old, mature trees, but many of these have disappeared. Some burn in bushfires evey year and some vanish when trees are chopped down for farming and timber. These days, old dead trees are being rapidly lost as they are cut for firewood. Whenever this happens, nesting sites are lost. Today many people are planting trees, but these take a long time to grow, mature and form hollows. While they are growing, they may provide food and shelter for native birds and animals, but, by the time that they become old enough to produce hollows, those animals will be too old to breed in them. As a result, some of our native species are becoming rarer and rarer, as they are rapidly running out of hollows in which to breed the next generation. What can be done? Large trees should be preserved wherever possible, dead branches should be left and, hollow limbs in particular should not be removed. We can do more than this. Fortunately for wildlife, the loss of hollows can be rectified by providing wildlife 12 boxes. Wildlife boxes can have a great range of shapes and sizes to accommodate the needs of various species. Supplementing the habitat gaps has several advantages. With roosting, nesting and retreat sites, species can survive in areas where previously they couldn’t. A great educational opportunity arises. People who have a wildlife box find much enjoyment in observing the life-cycle of hollow users. Basically, wildlife was here first and has a right to provide a colourful part in the fabric of our everyday lives. This is what Operation Nestbox is all about.

Wildlife Boxes - Points to Consider
Entrance Hole Size If the hole is too small, then the animal or bird will not be able to fit through. If the hole is too large, then it may allow the entry of other birds or animals which you do not desire to use the nesting box. Box Diameter Various species of birds and animals have different requirements for nestbox sizes and depth. Orientation Find out if the target animal or bird prefers a horizontal or vertical hollow. Entrance Hole Position Most species require the hole at the top or end of the nestbox, but some may require the entrance to be level with the floor. Roof Some protection from the weather can be provided by an overhanging roof. Height The table gives suggested heights above the ground. Too near the ground may not accommodate the flying patterns of birds, and more importantly, it may give predators access. Mounting The protection from rain, cold and direct light are the most important considerations. Normally a north east to northerly aspect is the best. Take care when mounting the nestbox that you do not do permanent damage to the tree. Extras Roosting perches are preferred by sparrows and starlings and so are not recommended. Water based paints can be used on the outside of the box, but should not be used on the inside of the box or around the entrance hole.

Old, dying and dead eucalypt trees and mallees 1. As standing dying and dead trees* 2. As fallen trees, logs or stumps
These arboreal apartment houses provide breeding and shelter hollows for: 17% (119 species) of native birds 42% (95 species) of native mammals 35% of arboreal reptiles ?% of invertebrates Standing dead or dying trees also provide dead staghorn (antler) branches which become launch and lookout trees for a large range of birds and heirarchy ladders for the larger, gregarious parrots (cockatoos, corellas and galahs).

Australia’s Precious and Scarce Natural Resource
Specialised habitat for small mammals, reptiles, invertebrates, fungi, mosses, lichens and bacteria. The fungi and bacteria are involved in wood decomposition and the re-cycling of nutrients. The fungi fruiting bodies (toadstools) associated with wood decomposition are a critical food resource for some small mammals. If the present rate of loss of old eucalypt trees and mallees continues into the 21st century, 100 species of mammals and 90 species of birds will face the following sequence:

rare > vulnerable > endangered > ExTINCT

*non-renewable resource for 100-250 years is the estimated time it would take to form significant hollows in mature eucalypt trees or mallees

Box suitable for a bat

Suitable for rainbow lorikeet, rosella, and scaly breasted lorikeet.

Horizontal box for kookaburras etc. Young kookaburras and other kingfishers need to excrete from the front of the box, so a small sill (<40mm, don’t forget to allow for shavings) is desirable. Notes as for general design.

Box for pardelotes Internal diameter of entrance pipe must be 30mm. (Class 12, 25mm water pipe has ID = 30, OD = 32)


Baby tawny

Field guide to fledgling birds you think I can’t fly! Am I injured? If so, please take me to the vet : : otherwise : :

Baby friarbirds

Can I stand and walk? Am I trying to fly? Are my parents nearby? If I am doing all of the above, I have just left my nest and I am learning to walk and fly. Please put me in a tree near where you found me.

Fledged bowerbird

My parents are looking for me - they will continue to feed and care for me. They are very important for my survival and continual education.
Certificate III in Native Animal Rehabilitation Atypical lesions in Black Swans Boxes and BagsTo the Rescue - IFAW’s role in rescuing animals Avian and Exotic Animal Acupuncture Bushfires and Wildlife Fluid Therapy in Wildlife Zoonoses and the Wildlife Rehabilitator Rescuing Gilbert’s Potoroo Platypus Diary Wildlife Warriors Bobtail Rehabilitation Care of Giant Petrels Antilopine Wallaroo The Northern Hairy Nosed Wombat Post Mortem Examinations of Wild Animals Biosecurity Surveillance Network Possum Relocation Wildlife and Mining Industry Partnerships Handling Large Raptors Frog Rehabilitation The Value of Post-Mortems Wildlife Tracking and Software Development Wildlife Conservation and Perth Zoo Standards Development in Western Australia Flying Birds of Prey Prior to Release Mentoring new Carers Friends of the Koala Light-Microscopy Diagnosis of Faecal Samples

Fledgling crested pigeon

You can visit to read any of the following conference papers. If you don’t have internet access and are particularly interested in a topic contact the newsletter coordinator to have the article printed out and posted to you. Wildlife Friendly Fencing Complementary Therapies for Wildlife Will There be Life After Cane Toads? Wildcare Helpline Together we can Make a Difference

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BIOLAC provides the most advanced milk formulas ever produced for Australian native animals. BIOLAC formulas contain fully digestible carbohydrates, proteins, lipids and elevated levels of many vitamins and minerals. The lipids have a more favourable balance of saturated, mono and poly unsaturated fats.

M100 formula for possums

Blue Label First Aid for Birds

please contact Lyn Taylor - $13.50 kg

Please contact Lorraine McPhee, Shop Coordinator for products listed above.

Wildlife Carers Darling Downs Inc.

Animal Coordinator Register
BIRDS GENERAL RAPTORS MACROPODS POSSuMS GLIDERS & MARSuPIAL MICE KOALAS, ECHIDNAS, WOMBATS INSECTIVOROuS BATS (MICROBATS) FLyING FOxES COORDINATOR’S NAME Lorraine McPhee Angela Schmid Sharon Kajewski Marcia Russell Lyn Taylor Marcia Russell Sharon Kajewski Sharon Kajewski Clare Giover Sharon Kajewski Marcia Russell Sharon Kajewski Dale Howard CONTACT NuMBER 0412 183 569 4630 8785 4697 8207 4698 2096 4697 9580 4698 2096 4697 8207 4697 8207 4696 9860 4697 8207 4698 2096 (h) 4697 8207 4635 1670 leave message OTHER NuMBERS/NOTES 0448 062 857 0407 178 171 0427 978 207 0408 982 096 0428 757 058 0408 982 096 0427 978 207 0427 978 207 0427 969 860 0427 978 207 46983 837 (w) 0408 982 096 0427 978 207


If the coordinators listed for each species are not contactable, a coordinator for a ‘like’ species may be able to assist in an emergency. Last updated 6 Sep 2007

Rescue Hotline: 1300 555 555 with pager number 85151 or phone: 0448 062 857

Cut this page out and stick it on your fridge door, or carry it in your car with a pillowslip and scissors. remember: warm, dark, quiet!
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Committee Members
POSITION President Vice-President Secretary Treasurer Carer Coordinator Fundraising Coordinator Education Coordinator Record Keeper Newsletter Coordinator Shop Coordinator Promotions Officer NAME Sharon Kajewski Lyn Taylor John Lahdesluoma Jo Waters Catherine Buchanan Sharon MacLeod Pam Allen John Lahdesluoma Alison McDonald Lorraine McPhee Sharon MacLeod

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