Daintree Rainforest Camera Traps – April 2021, accrued 40-cassowary sightings, 7-dingoes and 108-feral pigs.  Against the cumulative monthly average, cassowary numbers were 42% down, dingoes were 79% down and feral-pigs were also down by 22%.  Against April of the preceding year, however, cassowaries were 250% up, whilst dingo numbers were 70% lower and feral-pig sightings had also decreased by 163%.  As nine of the twelve camera traps failed to work for either half or all of the month because of technical faults, the drop in numbers is not necessarily disproportionate.

Image highlights from April

An unexpected revelation from one of the Camera Traps across April 2021, showed a Black Butcherbird – Cracticus quoyi (Lesson & Garnot, 1827) opportunistically exploiting feral pig excavation for food.  Perhaps, in exchange for a worm or two, the sharp-eyed corvid gives the tolerating pigs mutualistic warning of impending danger?

In last month’s report, I expressed incredulity at the Centre for Invasive Species Solution’s 2014 case-study entitled Feral pig management in tropical rainforests of Queensland, which contends that feral pigs do not degrade rainforest dynamics!  Now, in preparing April’s report, I found another expression of astonishing inaccuracy, stating:

Dingos and domestic dogs interbreed freely and wild populations are largely hybridised throughout their range, except in Australian National Parks and other Protected Areas.

I suppose the thinking is, as National Parks and other Protected Areas prohibit dogs, hybridisation with dingoes in situ, is legislatively impossible and obviously, any hybrid from outside a Protected Area would never enter a Protected Area, because it is unlawful.  Well, sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but even if dogs are legislatively declared as undesirable or prohibited animals within Protected Areas, Federal and State conservation legislation can only ever control the human owners of the dogs; not dogs themselves; and if the canids have no human ‘owner’, then they cannot be controlled legislatively, at all.  Parliamentary intent to the contrary, declaring feral-pigs and dingoes as Pests and then giving them twenty-percent of the continental landscape in the form of 10,500-Protected Areas for unintended sanctuary, is as obtuse as the legislated requirement that binds landholders to keep their lands free of declared pests.

For the poor performance of the majority of camera traps and the new release of a much better quality unit, Daintree Rainforest Foundation Ltd has resolved to replace all cameras annually, to maintain an optimised quality and reliability of image and video collection, but of course this incurs greater expense.  Daintree Rainforest Foundation Ltd and its Daintree Rainforest Fund have been registered by the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission and successfully entered onto the Register of Environmental Organisations.  Donations made to the public fund are eligible for a tax deduction under the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997.

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