Archive for Australia

IUCN Species of the Day: Mountain Pygmy-Possum

Posted in IUCN Species of the Day with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 4, 2011 by Bush Warriors


The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(tm)

Photo credit: Linda Broome


The Mountain Pygmy-possum, Burramys parvus, is listed as ‘CRITICALLY ENDANGERED’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. Continue reading

Tattoo of the Day–1 July, 2011

Posted in Tattoo of the Day with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 1, 2011 by Bush Warriors


Tattoo by Stephen Knight.


This curious creature can be found only in Australia along the eastern shore. One of the strangest mammals on earth, the platypus lays leathery eggs similar to a snake or lizard. Instead of nipples, the female platypus secretes milk from two round patches of skin, which the young slurp up with rhythmic sweeps of their stubby bill. Males are unique too, having a venomous spur on each of their hind legs. The toxin these spurs deliver is strong enough to kill a small dog!

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Australia’s Western Ground Parrot: Will it Survive the Ravages of Introduced Predators and Bushfires?

Posted in Birds with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 28, 2011 by drsteveboyes

Very few people are aware of the Western Ground Parrot, an enigmatic and unusual bird that occurs only along the south coast of Western Australia.  Like many parrots in many parts of the world, this species is very close to extinction.

Photo credit: Brent Barrett, DEC

Western Ground Parrots are not as flashy as some parrots, but those lucky enough to have a close encounter with them can appreciate their gorgeous green and gold colours, flecked with black, and capped with a red splash across the forehead—and you do have to be very lucky to see one! In addition to being so rare, their colours provide excellent camouflage in their shrubby habitats, and their behaviour makes them difficult to find.

Can you spot the young bird in the picture below?

Photo credit: Brent Barrett, DEC

Rock Parrots and the Elegant Parrots, which are much more common in the area, are often mistaken for Western Ground Parrots because they also feed on the ground. However, they lack the red forehead and the fine black flecks.


Right: Rock Parrot (photo credit: Stephen Fryc); Left: Elegant Parrot (photo credit: Joan Bush)


Like many of the world’s rare birds, the Western Ground Parrot has not been well-studied. Its cryptic nature makes it a challenging species to work with.  In fact, despite searching, no nest has been found since 1913! However, in the past few years, some insights have been gained in the behaviour and breeding of these birds through radio-tracking and field observation.  Methods have also been developed to monitor population size. Additionally, recent genetic work has shown that it is actually a separate species from the ground parrots of Eastern Australia, after having been separated from each other for about two million years.


Team sets up an automatic recording unit (photo credit: Allan Burbidge, DEC)


The Recovery Project is overseen by the Recovery Team and contributed to by staff from Western Australia’s Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC), the Friends of the Western Ground Parrot, and many volunteers. In recent years, the team has observed a rapid decline in Western Ground Parrot populations, which has alarm bells ringing. According to Dr. Abby Berryman, one of the team members battling to save the species, there are likely now less than 140 birds in existence.

Juvenile Western Ground Parrot (photo credit: Alan Danks)

“The Western Ground Parrot could be facing imminent extinction, and could become the first contemporary bird extinction on the Australian mainland,” explains Dr. Allan Burbidge, a principal research scientists with the DEC.  “And to make it worse, we are concerned that the marked decline of the Western Ground Parrot in the 330,000 ha Fitzgerald River National Park, in the heart of a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, could be a classic case of a ‘canary in the coalmine’.  This reserve is home to eight other listed threatened animal species and a host of rare or threatened plant species. We are concerned that the decline of Ground Parrots in this area may be suggestive of the threatening processes impacting on this landscape.”

The low shrubland vegetation that the Western Ground Parrot depends on is very prone to fires, which have regularly swept through the area, destroying the bird’s habitat.  Extensive bushfires, and those occurring too frequently, have been quite a challenge for managers entrusted with the protection of ground parrot habitat. Although these disasters remain an ever-present risk, the managers’ many hours spent in collaboration with the recovery team and volunteer data collectors has yielded improved fire management.  However, it is now becoming clear that fire alone has not been responsible for the decline of this species.


Bushfires can render habitat unsuitable for a number of years (photo credit: David Chemello, DEC)


Though the Ground Parrot can fly well, it feeds, roosts, and nests on the ground, making it vulnerable to introduced predators, such as cats and foxes.  These skilled predators were brought to Australia from Europe and have wreaked havoc on the native fauna. It would seem a simple thing to do would be to just go out and control the numbers of these animals, but it’s not that simple in practice. First, the animals themselves are cunning, and often avoid traps or baits. Second, the removal of predators can have unforeseen consequences, including unpredicted changes in numbers of prey species, some of which might compete with the species we want to conserve.

Photo credit: Brent Barrett, DEC

“We are doing our best to unravel this puzzle, but it is proving extremely difficult to pull together sufficient resources to implement this ambitious program of integrated predator control and monitor the results,” says Sarah Comer, Chair of the recovery team.


Researcher, Abby Berryman, with a Western Ground Parrot caught for radio-tracking (photo credit: Arthur Ferguson)


We now realize that we need to come to grips with the impact these predators are having on Ground Parrot populations, and what the consequences might be if they are not removed. Understanding the influences on the endangered birds’ population size can best happen through controlled experiments and careful documentation. There can be no quick fix for this exacting work.  It is slow, but at the same time urgent.  Additionally, control of feral predators and setting up a captive breeding program will not come cheap.  Currently, this species is listed under the Australian Commonwealth’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (1992) as Endangered, but a nomination to change the classification to Critically Endangered is now being considered.


Measuring a Western Ground Parrot as part of ongoing research (photo credit: Neil Hamilton, DEC)


Brenda Newbey, Chair of Friends of the Western Ground Parrot says, “The Western Ground Parrot is a feisty survivor. Our community group is doing its best to support the Recovery Team but we are extremely concerned that insufficient funding will hamper efforts to conserve this unique species. However, we do strongly believe that with help now, the Western Ground Parrot can make a comeback.”

Photo credit: Brent Barrett, DEC

This means that you can help the Western Ground Parrot! Please visit the website of the Friends of the Western Ground Parrot (click here) to find out more about this unique bird.  Or click here to make a donation.

Photo credit: Brent Barrett, DEC

Watch as biologist Brent Barrett leads us through the activities of the rarely observed Western Ground Parrot (Pezoporus flaviventris):

The Western Ground Parrot was featured in Bush Warriors’ “Saying Hello: Ten New Species Discovered in 2010”, after it was found to be a genetically distinct species from the Eastern Ground Parrot.  Click here to see the article!

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Tattoo of the Day

Posted in Tattoo of the Day with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 27, 2010 by Caroline Thompson


Tattoo by Den.


This curious creature can be found only in Australia along the eastern shore.  One of the strangest mammals on earth, the platypus lays leathery eggs similar to a snake or lizard.  Instead of nipples, the female platypus secretes milk from two round patches of skin, which the young slurp up with rhythmic sweeps of their stubby bill.  Males are unique too, having a venomous spur on each of their hind legs.  The toxin these spurs deliver is strong enough to kill a small dog!

While the platypus is listed by the IUCN as a species of ‘least concern’ and is protected by the Australian government, there are several emerging threats to their continued existence.  Mortality rates are  increasing along their northern range, as a result of intensified patterns of flooding and drought driven by global climate change.  Also, poor land management has caused bank erosion, stream sedimentation, poor water quality, and heavy metal contamination. The continuation of these practices will only lend to further mortality and decreased reproduction.


Remember: Tattoos are forever… and so is extinction.  To see all of the FANTASTIC art featured on Bush Warriors Tattoo of the Day, and to learn more about this initiative, please click here.  You can also share photos of your own wildlife tattoos and enjoy others’ at our Facebook group, Bush Warriors Inked Nation for Conservation.

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Happy Birthday Bush Warriors!

Posted in About, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 15, 2010 by Dori G

Note: Please play this MUST SEE video and enjoy.  This is what is at stake!



A year ago on November 13th, Bush Warriors was first launched into to the world.  This was my attempt to put the truth out there of what is really going on with our world’s wildlife.  Everyone loves nature and wildlife.  We all love lions, tigers, bears and dolphins.  We even love sharks, though we were taught to be afraid of them.  Wildlife and nature is gaining more popularity than ever, everywhere you look “a green lifestyle” is the new trend.  ‘Organic’ and ‘nature’ are buzz words surrounding corporate board rooms, the way we live,  and the food we eat.  It’s all about ‘going back to nature’.

The sad and unfortunate reality is that we are just about as far from nature as we can get.  In fact, we, as humans, are getting further from it by the minute.  Despite the growing popularity of the ‘green revolution’, species continue to be lost at unprecedented rates.  The fight to save species is not small or easy.  Many challenges block the path to success, including corruption, economics (both poverty and wealth), overconsumption of our natural resources, consumerist demand, and societal values.

Photo by Takeshi Igarashi

We live in a world where biodiversity is given due attention only when it is deemed profitable or there is some underlying financial interest in saving it.  Some even say, “What is the point in spending well needed funds on animals we know will be extinct from their natural habitat in a generation or two?”

If we truly open our eyes to see what has happened to the world around us, we will not be able to live with ourselves and the destruction of our planet that we cause on a daily basis.  Plastic bags that help us carry food from stores are killing our sea turtles, as they  are being mistaken for jellyfish.  Palm oil, as harmless as it sounds, is a real killer to many of our earth’s forests and all that inhabit them.  Yet it is widely used to give our foods a longer shelf life, so that we may enjoy our microwave popcorn.  The cost of palm oil is not just the cost of cheap, processed foods.  It is also costing us majestic creatures, like orangutans.  Valuable components of an ecosystem that also display many similar emotional and social behavior as us humans.  Now they slip into the brink of extinction and are being used, abused and slaughtered, while their natural habitat is replaced by palm oil plantations.

Rhinos and elephants, animal icons that we love so much, are systematically being murdered for their horns and tusks. In fact is its estimated that 102 elephants are being killed a day. That is almost a kilometer (over half a mile) of dead elephants on a daily basis.

Photo Credit: Michael Nicols

Since 1997, 353 new species have been discovered in the Himalayas, 1,220 in the Amazon and 1,231 in the Mekong region.  Our world has such a rich biodiversity,  and yet, with all of our knowledge and growing understanding of how fragile our ecosystems are, we are losing species before they are even discovered.

We citizens of the world must unite in a unified global voice saying, “Enough is enough.”  We must put a stop to the war taking place on our wildlife and natural world.  If we don’t, it will be lost for good and we will also lose ourselves in the process.

We need your help is educating and spreading the word. Please join our growing Bush Warriors global tribe in spreading the message.  We have created the Bush Warriors Ambassadors program that gives you tools for five second online advocacy.  All you need to do is paste our blurbs and links on your Facebook, Myspace, email, or any other social platform, and you are done. By doing this you have become an ambassador for change.

We have already grown so much in our first year, and plan to push harder and reach more people in our coming years.  Join us in our efforts and step up to be a voice for wildlife today!

Asante Sana

Dori & The Bush Warriors Clan

Organization of The Day: Elephant Pepper Trust

Posted in Africa: Elephants, Organization of The Day with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 28, 2010 by kendickjerkins

When human-wildlife conflict results in the deaths of wildlife, the outcome can be far-reaching for those populations. Such situations are further amplified when they lead to human deaths as well. Human-wildlife conflict can be caused by a number of factors, but is most commonly agriculture-related. In Africa (and Asia), farmers often find themselves in a gruesome battle defending their livelihood against relentlessly hungry elephants that raid their crop fields.

From beating drums to deploying fireworks to attempting to chase elephants away (which frequently results in human deaths), farmers are often left sleep-deprived and profitless from their agricultural investments. That is until 2002 when stars aligned and a chance meeting between Australian businessman, Michael Gravina, and elephant biologist, Dr. Loki Osborne, resulted in the Elephant Pepper Development Trust (EPDT) and gave new hope to small-scale farmers plagued with elephant problems. Methods for deterring the hungry elephants are only effective if they involve minimal costs and provide long-term solutions. EPDT struck gold when they discovered that elephants are inherently repelled by the smell of chili peppers.

Chilies are easy to grow as they survive in some of the more extreme conditions found in Africa that other crops cannot survive in, are money-making cash crops, and are unpalatable and revolting to most mammal “pests”. EPDT trains local farmers how to implement the use of chilies into their farming practices in a number of ways. Chilies can be planted to create an elephant-repellent buffer zone between valuable crops and wooded elephant habitat. Farmers can also saturate simple string fences with chili grease to discourage elephants from entering. At night (the time when crops are typically raided by the giant pachyderms), briquettes made of chilies and elephant dung can be burned to keep elephants away. Though often skeptical at first, once farmers see the success of these methods playing out for their neighbors, they become sold on these sustainable ideas and seek help from EPDT immediately.

Currently, the Trust is working with communities in areas of Zambia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Kenya, and Namibia with great success, and uses Educational Demonstration sites to educate farmers about their methods.To increase benefits from the use of chilies, EPDT has joined with African Spices Pvt Ltd. to buy surplus chilies from the farmers which are then used to create delicious chili-based, “uniquely African” blends that are sold commercially as an organic, fair trade product. In this way, the farmers profit from the crops that have been protected by the chili methods, from the chili crop, and from the peace of mind brought to them as a result of all of these factors. Elephant conflicts become almost non-existent, preventing the death and injuries of both humans and elephants in a win-win situation.

10% of profits from “Elephant Pepper” products are given back to EPDT to be used for improving and expanding their program to more farmers and communities. This program also provides a way for the global community to become involved with elephant conservation by purchasing the delicious products and supporting the cause. EPDT’s problem animal control methods help to eliminate serious human-wildlife conflicts and can be used to do the same in other areas of the world where elephants and humans have been battling to the death.

To learn more, please visit their website