Category: Native Wildlife

Week 51 Frog Safe (Australia)

Last night we watched a David Attenborough documentary about fabulous frogs, it really was fabulous!


Definitely worth watching if you’re having a good day, bad day or anything in between.

(A cry is another thing I can heartily recommend if the occasion arises-speaking from very recent experience, it is a very underrated pressure relief tool…cos…unlike frogs…we can’t eat whatever bugs us…images.png)



Frog Safe – if all the world was safe for frogs,

it would be safe for all of us!

For a long time, you have known us as the Frog Decline Reversal Project but we hope you will like us even better as Frog Safe. It is a much shorter name but, no matter which tools we might use for frog conservation, it describes what we do. All our efforts are meant to make the world safe for frogs to live in. At the moment, it is not safe at all.

You have probably heard already that amphibians the world over are disappearing and,

Here in Far North Queensland, we are one of the world’s “hot spots” for frog decline with several high-altitude species already feared extinct.

Instead of newsletters and meetings, we are a very hands-on outfit doing rescue and rehabilitation of amphibians every single day.

The Cairns Frog Hospital is small but our Curator has been receiving sick and injured frogs since August 1998. As of this writing, over 2,800 adult/subadult frogs have been turned in (plus dozens of toads and hundreds of thousands of tadpoles). Most of the injured frogs can be recovered and released back to the wild. Diseased frogs are another story, however.

We encourage members to be active at our facility but being a ‘financial member only’ still helps our work.




All animals desperately need our help and Christmas is a perfect time to show you care through what you eat and where you do (or don’t) spend spend your money.

Here’s to a Hoppy Christmas.


What is a frog’s favourite year?

Leap year.







Week 43 Save the Tasmanian Devil (Australia)

“Yet doe I feare thy Nature, It is too full o’ th’ Milke of humane kindnesse.”

Macbeth, 1605


When Lady Macbeth spoke of ‘the Milke of humane kindnesse’, she was referring to benevolence or compassion.

Sadly actual milk is the product of anything but.

There is more cruelty in a glass of milk than there is in a piece of beef.  Dairy cows are kept alive as living factories, they are forcibly impregnated, only to have their babies stolen from them and either killed as veal or turned into the next generation of slaves. We steal their milk. Then, when their bodies are spent, they are sent off to slaughter. 

The vast majority of dairy cows worldwide are not grazing on green pastures but spend their lives on cement floors in industrial facilites. 

All this for a product we don’t need.

A couple of months ago cockroach milk was crawling all over the media as the next ‘superfood’.

Sounds revolting, but so is cows milk if you haven’t been socialised to accept it!

Two tiny Tasmanian Devil joeys

The latest is Tasmanian devil milk  which is being investgated for its potential to cast an evil eye at cancer and superbugs.

Is there actually anything we won’t milk?!

Cockroaches and devils obviously only produce tiny amounts of milk which is difficult to get, so in both cases science is working on creating a replica product in a laboratory.

Clearly, where there is a will there is a way. 

When will we finally change another equation and take the cow out of the milk, rather than the milk out of the cow?




Image result for save the tasmanian devil

Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD) is a rare infectious cancer that is spreading through wild Tasmanian devil populations. The Tasmanian devil has been listed as Endangered by the Federal and State governments, as well as the Red List of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN). The Tasmanian devil is now wholly protected. Find out more…

The Save the Tasmanian Devil Program (STDP) was established in 2003 following concern for the decline of the Tasmanian devil due to DFTD. The core activity of the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program is funded by the Australian and Tasmanian Governments and is overseen by a Steering Committee. The Program is co-ordinated by the Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (DPIPWE).


While devils are dying of facial tumours we are looking at what’s in their milk for us.

Let’s hope that this discovery is used to benefit them as well.  .

Let’s let the milke of our humane kindnesse flow.


Image result


Ps: A Great 3 part documentary series began airing this week and will continue on Thurs 27/10 and 3/11/16 on SBS at 7.30pm

Pps: This article came out the morning after I posted..weird!

Milk may be ‘more nutritious’ but most of the health problems in the west are due to over-nutrition … cows’ milk is designed for baby calves, not adult humans.

I feel sorry for the farmers too, I grew up in that world.  But I feel more sorry for the cows.

It is so easy to make your own nut milk – I blend twelve raw cashews and two dates along with 250ml of hot or cold water, tea or coffee.  I love to add in cacao and chai powder as well.

If you want AMAZING cheesy sauce go here.  Use stock powder if you don’t have nutritional yeast.  You can add turmeric for a golden colour.




Week 40 Daktari Bush School and Wildlife Orphanage (South Africa)


-Yordanos Haile-Michael, survivor and inspiration. (Women’s Weekly, October 2016)

Her story is featured in the soon to be released Australian film:

“The Baulkham Hills African Ladies Troupe”

What an amazing lady; first to have the courage to ask her violator why he did what he did, and then to find it in her heart to feel sorry for him.

His excuse …

“Because everybody was doing it”

…sadly explains a lot of human history.

It is often easier to follow the crowd, rather than our own conscience.

Another lady provides inspiration with a much quoted quote …


-Rear Admiral Grace Hopper

…that demands abstinence from this excuse.

It urges us to take ownership of our actions and ask questions.

To everyone who seeks to ‘be the change they wish to see’…

grace hopper salute.jpg

…Rear Admiral Grace Hopper salutes you!


I couldn’t find an animal charity listed in Eritrea, though I am sure there many wonderful people there who are spreading compassion in their own way.

I was really happen to learn about this wonderful organisation in South Africa.



The Mission of DAKTARI is to inspire and educate underprivileged children to care for their environment through the medium of a wildlife orphanage. Through the combination of the bush school and the Wildlife Orphanage, DAKTARI has developed an immersive educational experience for local children to learn about the wildlife around them, the environment, anti-poaching, and a wide variety of other issues, right in the middle of the bush. Newsletter DAKTARI Bush School & Wildlife Orphanage


The past two months have been very busy! Animal releases, new staff, community work, and work placements – our team has been very busy!




Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect. Mark Twain

Week 24 Local Sherlock Holmes Part II (Australia)

There has been a lot of animal news recently.  The ongoing removal of tigers, living and dead – both whole and in body parts – from the ‘Tiger Temple’ in Thailand is yet another reminder to travellers to please not support  the ‘animals as entertainment’ industry.


Thailand tiger ‘slaughterhouse’ discovered by police at temple following tip-off

Crocodiles and sharks continue to do what comes naturally to them.  In turn, with the killing of Harambe the gorilla, humans did what comes naturally to us, which is to look after ourselves and our own kind first… especially when there is a high risk of being sued!


People like saying ‘life is precious’, but they usually don’t really  mean it.  Otherwise they wouldn’t support the premature termination of precious lives by buying bits of dead animals.

We often don’t even mean human lives are precious, or we would do more to help our desperate brothers and sisters out there, instead of helping ourselves to another piece of chocolate cake .  If you do believe in all human lives are precious, the children of Rafiki Mwema in Kenya would benefit greatly from your support.

If we’re honest, what most of us really mean is just our lives and a those of few individuals selected by us are precious.  Which I guess is quite a natural way for the apex predator to think.

Just looking at the way existence plays fast and loose with lives, it certainly is hard to see any evidence that life is objectively precious at all…



Subjectively, of course, is a different matter.

Nature is certainly not kind, but fortunately humans can choose to be.



Survival of the fittest has created a natural world that is full of traps for players of all ages. Most of us know better than to pick strange fungi and eat them, but who would have thought that grass could be a lethal killer?

Last week I wrote about the sickness affecting kangaroos in our local area.  A professional  autopsy has since shown it to be the result of chronic phalaris toxicity – poisoning caused by naturally present alkaloids in a common pasture grass.  Since the finding we have spoken to a number of people and have found the problem to be quite widespread, as is the grass.  It is also affecting some lambs.  This year it may be particularly bad because of the long dry spell followed by rapid growth after good autumn rains.

Farmers can in many ways control what their livestock eats, but kangaroos range and graze widely.  By the time they are showing signs of toxicity, it is probably already too late to help them.  (See video of a strongly affected eastern grey kangaroo here.)

Sometimes it is hard to know how best to be kind.  I think I would like someone to euthanase me if I was in that state, but other people might answer differently…especially people who truly do believe that life quantity  (regardless of quality) is precious.

To euthanase or not euthanase?  That is the question.

In the case of chronic phalaris toxicity in kangaroos, this may be the kindest option available.  It is illegal to kill a kangaroo without permission so please contact a local wildlife carer or the government department responsible for wildlife for further help. (In Victoria, it is DELWP).

One lucky thing for animals is that euthanasia is an option available to them.


Why can’t humans be given the same option?

We defend the concept of ‘freedom’ yet still put up with the government denying us even the basic the right to end our own lives on our own terms. Why?



Week 23 Local ‘Sherlock Holmes’ (Australia)

“The world is full of obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes.”

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – The Hound of the Baskervilles

And so it is with many kangaroos at the moment.

We have been spending a lot of time in the Macedon Ranges area since Easter last year, and since the beginning were noticing odd kangaroos that were affected by something strange.

I wondered if it was poisoning or something else.  In mid 2015 I went online and found a 2012 Melbourne university report mentioning similar symptoms and rang Pam Whitely who is named in the report, to find out more.

Kangaroos and Wallabies. We are keen to investigate reports of incoordinated, wobbly or apparently blind macropods. Kangaroo blindness virus is spread by midges. Phalaris staggers from pasture, and toxoplasmosis (from cat faeces) are other possible causes of incoordination and death. Eye and nasal discharge, sneezing and tail twitching have also been reported. If you see kangaroos or wallabies with any of these signs of disease, please contact us.

It turned out that there were still many questions and she was keen for us to try and get the body of an affected kangaroo to them for examination.  The catch was that they needed the brain intact and it needed to be delivered to the university on a weekday.

If you must shoot a kangaroo, a head shot is the only ‘humane’ way*.   So what to do?

I rang a local rescuer with a tranquiliser gun and he said he would be very happy to come out and help.  The only problem was the terrain is quite challenging and you can’t ever know when you will come across an affected kangaroo, and despite their symptoms, they can still disappear, fast.

Time got away, and it seemed to settle down, but now many rescuers are being called out to kangaroos that appear ‘drunk’.

We spoke to one carer who swore it was the phalaris, a common pasture grass,

Image result for phalaris pasture grass

and another who swore it wasn’t.  Video of one kangaroo affected by phalaris seems similar but different to what we are seeing. The fact is, nobody seems to know for sure and it is not something that has been identified in central Victoria before.

But now appears to be increasingly common.

One local rescuer, the ‘Sherlock Holmes’ of the title, wants a definitive answer and so she jumped onboard with us.  She asked us to get a video and she arranged another rescuer to come out with a tranquiliser gun.  We took a video that I will post on YouTube once we have some answers.  Here are some grainy captures to highlight points we have observed in these roos.

Often, but not always alone.  If in a mob they will be the last to hop off.  Ears are often out flat.  Look ‘vagued out’.  Sometimes shake heads. Will let you get up closer than a healthy roo.  Will be aware of your presence, but sometimes will look in your direction but seem not to see you.  Often underweight.


When they do hop off it will be awkward, not in a straight line, many bounces are in a twisted motion and higher than usual.  Badly affected ones will often fall over and roll on the ground and have difficulty getting up.

We did find a kangaroo who appeared to be affected  (though not as badly as the one pictured)  while we had the two wonderful rescuers there.  Of course, conclusions will be hard to draw from one examination alone, as kangaroos can be affected by a large number of miseries (not the least of them being humans) but it is a hop in the right direction.

Thank you to the rescuers for their dedication to helping our native wildlife and to Melbourne Uni for its invaluable expertise.  I will update with their findings when I hear back.

8 June 2016 Results have come back from testing and the kangaroo tested positive for chronic phalaris toxicity…the grass is to blame after all. Caligula would have it whipped. Or at least whipper-snipped.  We have since heard of many more apparent cases in the area.   More in Week 24.


“The important thing is to not stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existence…”

Albert Einstein

*Before defending the barely regulated kangaroo killing industry, please ask how often do you think pissed cowboy shooters can hit a fast moving kangaroo accurately in its small head?

It is hard enough to accurately shoot an injured kangaroo at close range.  I’ve seen it and it’s not pretty.


Week 22 Wild About Wildlife (Australia)


Poor Johnny Depp is having a weekus horribilis.  In a week of significant personal turmoil, a tomato he threw also came back to pulp him.  Barnaby Joyce had a surprisingly insightful response to his schoolyard insult:

“I’m inside his head, I’m pulling little strings and pulling little levers,” Joyce said in response to Depp’s comments that he “looks somehow inbred with a tomato”.

“Long after I’ve forgotten about Mr Depp, he’s remembering me.

“I’m turning into his Hannibal Lecter.”

Barnaby Joyce, who is Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture is not far off the mark when he compares himself to a sadistic serial killer.  He believes increasing live export is a sign of progress, and shows absolutely no compassion towards the animals covered by his portfolio.

So what hope is there for our native wildlife-seemingly the ‘farmers’ enemy number one’ when we have the ‘farmers’ best mate’  pulling big and little strings?

Some small hope – it is an election year…so please urgently make your voice heard with your local candidates via this RSPCA petition – it will open in a new tab, so click on it NOW!


RSPCA Election 2016 petition




RSPCA Election 2016 petition


Fortunately there are people with both brave and kind hearts out there, sadly they generally aren’t attracted to a political career.

Lisa from Wild about Wildlife is one such person.  She’s no slouch on the good come back either, as I just saw on her Facebook page- this started with a pea brain describing a roo that survived being hit by a car as a ‘lucky one’:



Fuckin human,s!!!


Wild About Wildlife


Just like the wonderful family who started Rudozem Dog Shelter in Bulgaria (Week 21),  and Pam Ahern from Edgar’s Mission (Week 14 ), Lisa didn’t set out to become a wildlife carer, it happened organically and has grown into a full time commitment for her from there.

She is a wealth of knowledge which she is more than happy to share with anybody who will take the time to listen and learn.

Some tips if you see injured wildlife:

Even injured  animals can move fast, running on adrenaline and fear – try not to scare an animal away from where it can be accessed by a rescuer for assessment.

If  you need to approach, move quietly and slowly towards it, keeping your eyes down.  Approaching in a car or in a squatting ‘frog walk’ can help lessen the animal’s fear.

If you can’t wait by the animals, know and provide exact and very clear location details – GPS, picture, distance in metres from landmarks all help – animals are designed to blend into the environment.

If you can wait around for the rescuer – great!  Please don’t be offended if they are short on chatter and are focussed on the task.  Every rescue presents new challenges and unknowns for rescuers, who, don’t forget are volunteers.  Do comply with their directions. And don’t be upset with them if they consider euthanasia to be the kindest option.

If you can approach the animal without it running away, think of body temperature – if the weather is really hot, shade it and try and keep it cool.  If it is really cold, cover it to keep it warm.

Keep rescue numbers in your phone Rescue numbers-throughout australia

SLOW DOWN, scan the road and roadside ahead when in the country, and don’t install barbed wire or ringlock fencing if you own property.

Finally, please Donate!!! 🙂


Donations to Wild about Wildlife


WAW just had a story featured on U.S. animal news website The Dodo. 

Kangaroo Loves Helping Mom Feed His New Baby Brother



Sorry, Australian government, I have to agree with Johnny on one thing, stop wasting taxpayers money on follies like chasing two millionaires around the world, and then fining them a pathetic $1000. Start spending some money on helping our land’s beleaguered original inhabitants.

If you don’t, and I ever meet a magic genie, I will wish for you all be made to sit through every ‘quirky’ Johnny Depp fillum ever made…


…a more cruel and unsual punishment than even Hannibal could come up with…




…but not quite as cruel as Barnaby.*



RSPCA Election 2016 petition

* to give BJ some credit, he was very considered in his response to the news of JD’s announced divorce.  There is a heart in there!

Week 11 Fauna Rescue of South Australia (Australia)

Koala Koala – we love you
But we chop down your home
And you run
Koala, Koala – where do you go
When we take your gum tree away?

Please don’t run on the road
And please don’t cry
Help is on its way

-John Williamson ‘Koala Koala’

Growing up, Australian kids learn the amazing fact that koalas never need to drink water. The name ‘koala’  derives from the ancient Dharug* or Iyora Aboriginal languages’ word for them, which some have said translates as meaning ‘no drink’.

Usually this is the case, but recently there have been quite a few instances of them being caught on camera having a sly drink…of course there are more cameras around nowadays, but also the recent drought has meant the eucalyptus leaves contain less than their usual amount of water (normally about 55%).  Habitat destruction also gives animals less options to move on when times get tough and bushfires of course are another threat to our little mates.

It seems that recent conditions are just more than a koala can bear… Almost as bad as that joke, even! (They aren’t actually bears btw, they are marsupials which means they carry their tiny babies or ‘joeys’ in a small pouch with an incuded milk bar.)

South Australia has suffered some terrible bushfires recently, but despite the extra workload the good folks at Fauna Rescue managed to get a volunteer to take this one year old girl to Adelaide Animal Hospital overnight for evaluation, fortunately she was found to be healthy and soon released.


Koala asks cyclists for water

It seems that running onto the road might sometimes be a good survival strategy

-but please take care, Blinky and Nutsy!


Fauna Rescue of S.A. Incimage


Our policy is to Rescue, Rehabilitate and Release.

We have all kinds of native species coming in for care: Pelicans, birds of prey, Magpies, Parrots, ducklings and nectar feeding birds like Honeyeaters, Wattlebirds and Lorikeets.

We also care for wildlife such as Possums, Kangaroos, Echidnas, Bats, Reptiles and Tortoises.

Each year we rescue around 2,000 animals/birds & reptiles.

Over the last few years there has been a huge increase in the amount of rescued wildlife coming in to Fauna Rescue. Due to this we need to raise more funds to cope with our spiralling costs of caring for wildlife. Some of these costs include veterinary care, first aid equipment (medication, heat pads etc), specialised dietary requirements, possum nesting boxes, kangaroo compounds, aviaries, cages and day to day running expenses.. We already spend many hours a week fundraising but are falling short of monies needed.

Thank you, John Williamson, I’m gonna send in some money today.

Fauna Rescue of S.A. Inc


What all the kool koalas drank out of in the eighties:

Image result for blinky bill drinking



Examples of Dharuk words  (spoken in the region now known as Sydney) that have survived in English are:

Names of animals: dingo, koala, wallaby and wombat

Trees and plants: burrawang, kurrajong, geebung and waratah

The tools boomerang, a word from the Turuwal sub-group, and woomera (spear-thrower)

Week 8 Kilmore Wildlife Shelter (Australia)

Last week, on his way to work, my partner crested a hill to see a large kangaroo trying to drag itself across the road with a shattered leg.  As is sadly so typical, there was no sign of the driver who had done the damage and continued apathetically on their way.

We are extremely grateful to Kilmore Wildlife Shelter for responding to my partner’s pre-dawn call;  at an hour when most of us are still working on our bed hair, they had the generosity of heart to sincerely thank him for calling 🙂

Why don’t people who are caring for our animals ever get any recognition at Australian of the Year awards?

What should you do if you see injured wildlife? 

I previously asked another carer about this and she said you can ring Triple Zero if in Australia, I haven’t done this and would advise using your discretion, but if it is a large animal, that requires immediate attention, especially if it may cause a ‘traffic hazard’, this seems like a good option, which has the advantage of being nationwide and 24 hour.

Save the number of local wildlife rescuers in your phone under ‘W’ for wildlife.  It is good to have a few numbers as these  organisations are overworked and under resourced and may not answer the phone immediately.

If an animal is small enough that you can safely and carefully move it, most vets will accept and care for injured wildlife free of charge – please call them first though.

Oh and please consider making a donation to a charity to thank them for care given or as an alternative gift for someone.


‘Kilmore’ may not be the best name for a town which boasts not one, but two wildlife shelters; maybe the town could change its names to ‘Savemore’ instead?!  (Of course humane euthanasia is another extremely valuable service that wildlife carers also provide in a worst case scenario…if only we humanimals could legally access something similar…)


Kilmore Wildlife Shelter

Kilmore Wildlife Shelter's profile photo

The Kilmore Wildlife Shelter is operated by Dr. Robyn Coy who has spent a lifetime involved in the study and care of Australian wildlife. The shelter is now one of the largest in Victoria, attending to hundreds of animals each year and controlling over 600 acres of land dedicated to wildlife conservation. Robyn is assisted by a small but dedicated team of volunteers.

The shelter has excellent facilities for all types of wildlife from tiny marsupial mice and bats, to lizards and turtles, echidnas, birds of prey, parrots, possums, wombats, wallabies and kangaroos. Robyn has specialized in the care of kangaroos and wallabies for many years, and has the experience and expertise to handle and care for these large marsupials which few in Victoria can match.

An Emergency Treatment and Training Centre was established at the shelter following the Black Saturday fires, when the shelter was called on to care for hundreds of injured wildlife without access to any wildlife hospital facilities.



Save them or kill them?

<p>Illustration: Geoff Richardson

Text: Eleanor Nurse

Our kangaroos are hunted in the largest commercial slaughter of land-based wildlife on the planet and hunters are permitted by law to take not only males but also females with joeys in pouch and dependent young. 

The roo meat industry treats these joeys as collateral damage in the hunt for profits. 

Under the relevant industry Codes of Practice that govern the hunts, shooters are instructed to “euthanase” the joeys of any female who is killed either by decapitation or a single blow or shot to the head. 

Those who are not caught and killed will most likely die as a result of starvation, exposure or predation without the protection of their mothers.

All of this happens in the wild and at night, hidden from public view. 

This might be why so many Australians are on board with kangaroo meat. The kangaroo industry has escaped the scrutiny levelled against many of Australia’s other meat industries in part because it is nearly impossible to get a look at the killing. 

Unlike most animals killed for food who are pre-stunned and slaughtered in abattoirs, kangaroos are shot in rural areas, usually from afar, and in complete darkness. 

The industry codes do stipulate they must be shot in the “brain”, but this is not an easy job. 

In 2002, the RSPCA estimated that 120,000 kangaroos are  “body shot” each year, wounded but not killed.

If you want to understand just how brutal these killing sprees are, watch the Australian cult classic film ‘Wake in Fright’.  It is real footage and it is sickening.


Week 3 Seven Oaks Sanctuary for Wildlife (Jamaica)

‘Don’t blush, baby…’

That embarrassing Australian interview cost cricketer Chris Gayle a $10,000 fine.  As his home country is Jamaica, I thought this week it would be interesting to see how many better uses he could have found for $10,000 back home.

Lots.  A quick internet search revealed dozens of charities of all types, all crying out for help.  In Jamaica, 16% of the human population struggle below the poverty line, while also on the bottom rung of the ladder, animals suffer too, all too often at the hands of humans.

It was hard to decide between the worthy organisations I found on my etravels but since last week was dedicated to domestic animals, I thought this week I would donate to native wildlife.  I wish I could win the lottery and do so much more.

“It takes one person to start a miracle”

– Jamaican Reggae Artist, Shaggy

“A bucketload of free cash in caring hands would also help”

– Me

Seven Oaks Sanctuary is a private shelter that receives and cares for various species of Jamaican wild animals, such as Jamaican parrots, parakeets and snakes, as well as some domestic animals and exotic species of wildlife. 

It is also actively involved in combating the illegal capture and trade in Jamaican parrots and parakeets.  They have been working towards strengthening a national wildlife rescue and education network to promote the conservation of Jamaica’s biodiversity. 

SOS-Wildlife is operated under the auspices of Northern Jamaica Conservation Association.

Seven Oaks Sanctuary

So, Chris, maybe in future you could think more about these kinds of birds…

Blackbilled parrot (Amazona agilis) – endangered species endemic to Jamaica


…and think less with the other kind of snake…?!

Jamaican boa (Epicrates subflavus) in coastal forest