Monday, 24 December 2012

Nimbin 'panther' sighting in northern NSW


Video footage of two separate sightings of a large feline at a property within 50km from Lismore will be sent to the Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo. Experts at the division of Taronga Zoo should be able to determine the nature of the animals on the recordings, according to the Northern Star newspaper.

Shaun Britz of Nimbin confirmed he received the video from a friend of his who preferred to remain anonymous. The recordings were done at the same property by the landowner with a video recorder. 

The recording showed two different sightings, the second one "recorded three months after the first one, at the same property," Mr Britz. Both pieces of footage showed the animal moving around a property, at a distance of over 100m from the camera.

The videos were recorded months before Shaun Britz's sighting last week. He said he received the video last week after he saw a big feline while driving along Shipway Rd, near Nimbin Rocks.

"It is definitely the same type of animal that I saw. It is the same jet back colour," he said. He said that the big cat in the video, which he suspects could be a type of panther, runs as fast as the animal he saw nearby Nimbin.

Shaun Britz said there was anecdotal information on the Internet of similar sightings from Western Australia to Queensland. He added it would be good to have scientific information confirming their existence and where are they located, but they should not be exterminated.

"There has been no attack to humans, I see no reason why we should hunt them down. They seem to feed on wild animals and the odd livestock," he said.

Watch the footage here: Nimbin 'panther' sighting | Northern Star

Saturday, 22 December 2012

CFZ's Journal of Cryptozoology gets a Naish wrap

A great piece by Darren Naish about the new Journal of Cryptozoology (CFZ Press), the history of similar publications, and why cryptozoology should be taken more seriously.

"...cryptozoology cannot and should not be considered a pseudoscience. Why? Mostly because there is no contradiction whatsoever between the scepticism, hypothesis-testing, self-correction and need for autoptic evidence typical of ‘proper’ science with analyses of cryptozoological data, nor does investigation of cryptozoological data hinge on the assumption that there are always real, flesh-and-blood animals at the bottom of eyewitness reports.

Read the full post over at his Scientific American blog here.

Friday, 21 December 2012

Shrinking Devil gene pool not settlers' fault

European settlers were not responsible for thinning the gene pool of the Tasmanian devil, new research discussed over at The Conversation has found.

Tasmanian devils are currently under threat due to the spread of an aggressive facial tumour, one of only three recorded types of contagious cancer. The disease spreads so readily because genetic diversity in devils' immune systems is low. It is passed from devil to devil through biting.

It had previously been assumed that this lack of diversity was due to population decline that occurred as a result of European settlement.

Extinct & Endangered Birds of Australia

Author Sue Taylor, a 'twitcher' from Melbourne, Victoria, talks to ABC Radio about her new book John Gould's Extinct and Endangered Birds of Australia.

In 1838, John Gould, the 'father of Australian ornithology', visited Australia with the intention of gathering material for his great work on Australian birds. In the resulting publications, The Birds of Australia: In Seven Volumes (1848) and the accompanying Supplement (1869), Gould gave over 180 Australian bird species their scientific names.

John Gould's Extinct and Endangered Birds of Australia features 59 plates of birds from Gould's eight-volume work, birds that today are threatened or that no longer exist. Featuring exquisite full-colour lithographs reproduced from the National Library of Australia's copy of The Birds of Australia, this book gives an insight into the history of each bird's European discovery, as well as its subsequent fortunes or misfortunes. A detailed description of each species, its habitat, its habits, current threats and more are also included.

A sobering reminder of all that we have lost, this book provides and opportunity to reflect on how we might also take action to protect and preserve the birds for whom it is not too late.

Merry Christmas from CFZ Australia

It's that time of year again - all the best for you and yours!

The CFZ Australia team

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Col Bailey talks Thylacines and his new book

CFZ Australia popped in to talk to Col Bailey recently on a sojourn to the Apple Isle, Tasmania, just last week.

Thylacine seeker Col Bailey has a new book in the works due out next year, which details among other things his own sighting in southwest Tasmania's rugged bushland on an expedition in 1995.

"I was trembling like a leaf. It was surreal. I had no idea how I would react,'' Mr Bailey, 75, told the Herald Sun earlier this year.

He said the officially-extinct carnivore appeared while he was camping in Weld Valley and he followed it beyond a cluster of ferns.

"It was about 15 feet away and it turned and looked at me for several seconds, then backed away,'' he said. Mr Bailey said it stopped and looked at him a second time before it disappeared into the scrub.

Read the whole story here.

Monday, 3 December 2012

'Princess Mary' adds her rare Devil genes to the pool

This two-year-old Tasmanian devil, nicknamed Princess Mary by keepers, arrived recently at the Devil Ark - a breeding site established in the NSW Barrington Tops in 2010 to protect the species from extinction.

Supervisor Adrian Good said Princess Mary was important because she was genetically diverse to the 120 devils already thriving at the site.

Read more at the Herald Sun.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Devil-proof fence for Tasmania?

Van Diemen's Land Company is looking to build a devil-proof fence around its massive Woolnorth property to protect one of the last pockets of healthy Tasmanian devils in the state, according to the Tasmanian newspaper The Hobart Mercury.

The company is in the process of converting beef pasture, clearing bush and increasing its dairy herd as part of a $180 million expansion.

Conservationists have raised concerns that endangered devils would be put at further risk as native vegetation was cleared to make more room for dairy pasture. Woolnorth, on the state's North-West Coast, is home about 600 devils.

The Tasmanian Conservation Trust has criticised the company for electing to clear almost 2000ha of bush in line with its expansion plans, saying loss of habitat will cause devil and quoll numbers to drop.

But VDL chief executive Michael Guerin said Woolnorth boasted some of the biggest and healthiest devils in Tasmania and he was confident they could continue to co-exist with farming.

OOPA: Monster crab from Tasmania emigrates to UK

Claude the Tasmanian giant crab, was saved from death when the fisherman who caught him sold him to a British aquarium  for £3000.

A 29-hour plane journey from Australia later, and a short stint in quarantine, Claude is now ready to meet the British public at the Sea Life centre in Weymouth, Dorset.

The hefty crustacean weighs a mighty 15lb with a 15-inch shell – 100 times bigger than a standard UK shore crab - but will grow to double his weight.

Read more at The Daily Mail.


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