Camera Traps – March 2023 accrued 103-cassowary sightings, 124-dingoes and 233-feral pigs. Against the cumulative monthly average, cassowary numbers rose by 15%, dingoes increased by 35% and feral-pig numbers also grew by 30%. Against March 2022, cassowaries were 17% fewer, dingo numbers sky-rocketed by 786% and feral-pigs also soared by 174%.
Image highlights from March 2023
Introducing a new female cassowary!
On 1 April 2023, a group of six with the responsible travel company Intrepid, were joined in the midst of their 2-hour Grand Fan Palm Gallery guided-walking tour through the world’s longest surviving rainforests, by a young five-year-old female cassowary of indeterminate identity. The tour-guide was Foundation director Angie Hewett, who received the following message:
Hi Angie, I’ve had a request from my group to name the young bird spotted during our tour …. they would like to submit the name “Jamison” (LOL). The name is made up from the first letter of all our names with the ‘I’ being for Intrepid – Jessy, Angie, Michelle, Intrepid, Sandy/Shane, Olivia & Neil. Just a thought …
… and so Jamison it is. Travellers that patronise the World Heritage-listed Daintree Rainforest are supporting genuine eco-tourism, by conserving the environment and improving the well-being of human inhabitants. Such discerning and altruistic travellers have earned the right to attribute a name to the bird that was first recognised by them.
Changing alliances …
Black Butcherbirds – Melloria quoyi(Lesson & Garnot, 1827) were so named for their substantive lack of any other colour and observed habit of hanging their meat. Suspending captured prey from vegetation, whilst keeping a watchful eye and ear upon opportunistic scavengers, the Black Butcherbird flies in from the blind-side and kills the thief, hanging its carcass from other vegetation; hence Butcherbird!
It was certainly not the Black Butcherbird that first conceived of the idea of offering its meat to capture lesser-witted scavengers; it was through human ingenuity. Only humans can mentally project into the future and imagine mutually beneficial relationships and also have the wherewithal to bring these mentally imagined partnerships to fruition. Getting birds allied to humans gives humans the tremendous advantage of flight and eyes and ears across the broad expanse of the ecological landscape, to transmit messages and receive intelligences.
By hanging reptilian meat from vegetation for the Black Butcherbird’s benefit, humans laid down a foundation for a behaviour that developed into a repertoire and ultimately cultivated the Black Butcherbirds into reporting the location of large reptiles to humans for mutually-beneficial culling and consumption, but also to protect ground-nesting birds from reptilian scavenging. With the forced eviction of Indigenous humans, some 122-years-ago, Black-Butcherbirds were robbed of their partners and reptile populations began to soar into de facto apex predatory dominance, over-consuming mammals and birds ever since. Ground-nesting birds have also suffered terribly from of the removal of the most altruistic and ecologically responsible symbiont in the full history of life on earth.
There are now an estimated 28,000-Feral Pigs – Sus scrofa (Linnaeus, 1758) occupying the vacancy created by the forced removal of human inhabitants and it is disturbing to see evidence of an emergent new partnership between Black Butcherbirds and Feral Pigs, in as much as Feral Pigs, which are declared pests, are forging ecological bonds that consolidate their damaging occupancy.
Daintree Rainforest custodianship
Daintree Coast 360 (DC360)
DC360 recently sent an introductory letter to Daintree Rainforest Foundation LTD and on behalf of the Board of Directors, this is our response:
Thank you for your introductory letter dated 31 March 2023, entitled “working together for better outcomes.”
Daintree Rainforest Foundation LTD was established on 27 April, 2016, approximately 4-years after application was made for federal registration as an Environmental Organisation and also as an accredited charity with ACNC. The extended delay reflected reluctance by officialdom to acknowledge that people are legitimate parts of the environment.
Our Constitution includes the role of people as part of their environment. In contrast other charities purporting to ‘Save the Daintree Rainforest’ from thousands of kilometres to the south, Daintree Rainforest Foundation LTD operates exclusively within the Daintree World Heritage environment and constitutionally must perform its functions in a way that is consistent with the protection of inhabitant people, who are not only constituent parts of the legislated definition of ‘environment’, but they are also its sole caretakers and exclusive repository of local knowledge.