Camera Traps – July 2020

The data collected from Camera Traps over the month of July 2020 was skewed by a couple of camera failings and in one unit a random re-setting of time & date, however, the month’s tally accrued 87-cassowaries, 14-dingoes and 120-feral pigs.  As aggregated percentages, cassowaries were 132% up on the monthly average, dingoes were 93% down and feral-pigs were also 86% fewer for the month.  Some of the month’s highlights include Crinkle-Cut, the male cassowary in the featured image above, with his one remaining chick from the two that hatched out at the beginning of the month.  Incidentally, this camera trap recorded more dingo sightings for the month than any other, including the ranging couple in the video-slider atop the page.  Crinkle-Cut is seen with two chicks on the 9th July, but sadly only one on the 26th.

A pair of Bennett’s Tree Kangaroos – Dendrolagus bennettianus (De Vis, 1887) was captured in hot pursuit, at a quarter to one in the morning of 16 July.  This is the same location as the last month’s sighting, conferring a degree of territorialism.  From the same camera, three days later, a Red-Legged Pademelon was captured at 8.20 AM.

A new, unfamiliar female cassowary has entered Big Bertha’s territory and made overtures towards males that have been loyal to Bertha over the years.  We are calling her Prudence, after our human matriarch and she is an impressive individual.  Meanwhile, Bertha has charged Everett and Pete, the two sub-adult off-spring of Scratch, from last year’s mating, with Delmar and Big Dan-T falling earlier in the year.  The time has clearly come for Scratch to resume mating services and for the sub-adults to separate from their patriarch.  Another male lost three of his four chicks, with the one remaining youngster growing to sub-adulthood and now seems to have separated into independence.  With three formidable females competing for the same males, tensions are high and hostilities frequently erupt.

The feral pigs continue to cause terrible damage to the rainforest, systematically harvesting juvenile fan palms for their nutritive hearts.  Where they used to wait for the palms to get to about 40-years-of-age before harvesting, it now appears that piglets are aping their elders and killing mere seedlings.  For their unique design, long lives and tremendous numbers, fan palms contribute more to the structural integrity of this ancient rainforest than any other plant species.  This makes them more irreplaceable than the rest, but feral pigs are preventing young fan palms from succeeding and if nothing is done to eradicate the pigs, there will not be any fan palms in the future.

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