Way back at the turn of the century, a town called Sydney was getting ready to host the greatest show on earth, the Sydney Olympics. Aussie’s were proud and for a rare little frog, the planets aligned and it was thrust into the spotlight. Already a resident of the old brick pits in the Olympic site and sporting the Australian green and gold, fame was inevitable for the green and golden bell frog (Litoria aurea). So, more than 10 years ago this little frog raised the profile of amphibian decline in Australia, but what work has been done for Australia’s frogs in since then? How is that green and golden bell frog doing? Is Australia still losing its frogs and how can you help?
Posts Tagged ‘Australia’
The iconic ‘Tassie devil’, Australia’s largest extant marsupial carnivore, is in big trouble. Believed to have become extinct on the mainland some 400 years ago, the devil is now endemic only to Tasmania. In the early 1900s they had a bounty on their heads but later, ecological and ethical sense prevailed and they became a protected species. This protection saw their population rise to an estimated 250,000 devils in 1995. Yet now they face their biggest threat of all – Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD).
The Richmond Birdwing butterfly (Ornithoptera richmondia) is one of Australia’s biggest and most spectacular butterflies. Just 100 years ago, these butterflies were abundant throughout greater Brisbane. Today they are gone. Not entirely extinct, but no longer in Brisbane. The reason is more than just building a city. It’s a story of habitat loss, isolation and invasive species.
We can give them the chance to return and we’ll explain how here.
We all know marine turtles lay eggs and don’t provide any parental care for their turtle hatchlings. The mothers do leave some food for the hatchlings though, as yolk in the eggs. But how healthy is this yolk?
Mammals suckle their young and when they do, they can pass environmental pollutants from their bodies to their offspring’s. But are toxins that maternal turtles accumulate when feeding, passed on to their turtle hatchlings within the eggs? And if so, does it affect the turtle hatchlings’ chances of survival?
When animals invade new places they either sink, swim, or just get along. Unfortunately, when an invader does well in its new land, it can have devastating consequences for the native animals and plants. Suddenly there is a new competitor or predator in the midst and the natives don’t have the skills, spines or teeth to compete or defend themselves. Evolution works over many generations and there’s rarely time to adapt. But people can help.
Understanding how animals interact may help us tip the ‘balance’ in favour of native Australian animals. Here’s one example from the ongoing battle against the invasive cane toad (Bufo marinus – a native of South America). Can meat ants and cat food slow them down?
The false water rat (Xeromys moyides) doesn’t live in any old mangroves. They’re picky and look for certain qualities in the real estate they choose. They need a dry house site and safe roads taking them to their supermarkets. Competition for real estate is tough on the edge of a growing city! Find out some more about Australia’s water mouse.
If you’ve ever walked through a forest of ancient Southern Beech (Nothofagus spp.) you can be forgiven for believing that you have just stepped into another world. You often find these trees growing as rings of giant trunks, covered in hundreds of epiphytes and mosses. But don’t be fooled. The rings of trunks are just the one tree! It’s called coppicing; the tree sends out new shoots radially from the base of the original trunk, and these shoot eventually grow into clones of the parent tree forming a ring of tunks, all belonging to the one tree.