a frog went a walking

An Italian Frog came to visit

We have a recycling bin here at the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary, and look who we found in it this morning. I reckon he’s got a distinctly Italian leaning this one – look at what he’s sitting on and what he’s looking at!

Green Tree Frog

Green Tree Frog

Kuranda is well known for it’s green frogs, in fact, along with the Ulysses butterfly, it’s the creature most used in advertising the Kuranda village. We are so lucky here, to have these cute little guys in such abundance, along with the fantastic butterflies we’ve got flying around in our backyards.

The world is a better place without Shark fin soup.

Shark Fins for sale

Shark Fins for sale

Drying Shark Fins

Drying Shark Fins

Shark Fin Soup

Shark Fin Soup

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Australian Wildlife Habitat

Shark finning or cutting the fins off sharks (it kills them) is nearly a thing of the past thanks to a luxury hotel chain and other top end restaurants in Asia whom have seen the light after years of public pressure and are no longer serving the controversial traditional Chinese shark fin soup. The Shangri-la hotel chain said it banned the dish from its 72 hotels across Asia.

The ball is well and truly rolling as a large Chinese restaurant chain South Beauty and the Peninsular Hotel Group has done the same and placed a complete ban on this ingredient in all menu items. Supermarket chains across Asia including, ColdStorage / FairPrice and Carrefour are doing the same.

The making of this soup is estimated to be responsible for the death of 70 million sharks a year ( don’t forget a shark fin is a tiny part of its body, on most occasions the rest of the shark is thrown back into the sea alive to perish) Yes that’s right, 70 million sharks killed per year to make soup.

Environmental and animal’s rights groups are winning this battle, we as consumers and individuals can make a difference each and every day.

Garry Sullivan
General Manager
Wildlife Habitat Port Douglas.

Cute caterpillar, but don’t touch

Harri (ette) the Hairy Caterpillar

 

Peter, one of our gardeners just brought this guy in for us to have a look at. At firt I tried to take photos of him (or her) but he moved so fast it was really difficult to get a good shot. What made it even more difficult was that we couldn’t touch him. Those hairs and spikes can give you quite a painful sting if they touch you. This gorgeous caterpillar is going to turn into a moth, though I’m not sure which type. If you know, please let us know.

Dressed to impress

Our Satin Bowerbirds here at the Cairns Wildlife Dome are desperately trying to impress the ladies. They have been building spectacular nests and putting on a great display for the females, who unfortunately don’t exist!

We have experienced great difficulty in finding a female to come and join the males at the Dome. For the last 3 weeks the male Bowerbirds have been collecting sticks and other objects for their nests. Unfortunately our very cute bettongs find these nests quite amusing and steal their sticks or trample the nests. So the Bowerbirds, determined not to give up, start the process all over again.

Collecting a variety of dead twigs from around the Dome, they have been making a twig layer on the ground of around 5-7cm deep, and then creating an arch on top which stands around 35cm high, 45cm long. In the wild they would also include grasses and leaves in this structure. The nest is then put on display with a variety of blue objects; everything from feathers, flowers, glass, plastic etc.

These nests aren’t the only thing being on display, as the male also had his turn to display himself. He seizes objects in his bill, adopts a trance-like pose, hangs his head low, then the eyes suffuse lilac pink and he leaps sideways, flares his wings / tail, and utters wheezing and whirring notes. In the wild, the females would be attracted to this display and they will then mate.

The breeding of these birds usually occurs from September through to January. On average, the female will lay 2 eggs but can have between 1-3 eggs. The female is very different in appearance to the male. The Male Bowerbird has a blush-black plumage with blue-black eyes. The females have an olive/green coloration with an olive grey-green throat and belly. The immature Bowerbird is born looking like the female. The females keep their color throughout their life, while the males keep their “green” feathers only until 6-7 years of age. After this their blue-black plumage appears in place of the green.

Throughout the winter months this bird’s competitive behavior comes to a halt, with the birds following the seasonal changes. The flocks mostly consist of “green” birds. Although our birds aren’t flocking in winter and unfortunately don’t yet have a female to impress, they will at least have gained plenty of experience for the females who will hopefully come one day to the Dome. In the meantime we can all enjoy the fantastic display these birds put on.

Behavioral Enrichment

Behavioural Enrichment

Behavioural Enrichment


Over the past few weeks we have been trialing new things to add to the many daily activities at the Dome. In the past we regularly prepared behavioral enrichment for all the animals behind the scenes,  but recently the idea of putting this task on display was suggested to  Management.  We have now been trialing  this program for 2 weeks and it has been very successful. We set up a small  table in the stage area with a box full of different objects such as toilet  rolls, chains, rope,  newspaper, household objects, bark etc. and different  foods including fruits, vegetables, insects, honey, peanut butter, oats,  almonds and lots more.

Our reasoning for doing this is educating our  customers on how and why we provide enrichment for all the animals; its  benefits, what behaviour it encourages, and why we do it.  Enrichment is a very important aspect of  recreating natural behaviours in a captive environment that should be provided  for any captive animal, not just the ones in zoos.

There are many different forms of enrichment, and they  all have different purposes. The main form is stimulation of the animals’ senses  – sight, smell, taste and sound.  It is also  used to reduce physiological problems; stimulate the mind and even the reduction  of potential aggressive behaviour.  Some of the enrichment provided includes making toys for them to play with and  chew on.  Making bon bons is the most  common form of enrichment.  This is  usually done by putting food into objects (like a toilet roll) and sealing it  so the animals have to play around, tearing these objects up to get to the food  source inside.

Scattering items like food or treat toys around the  enclosure for them to smell, and scent enrichment for some animals is also beneficial.  For possums or similar animals, a little diluted  eucalyptus oil sprayed around their enclosure, or herbs  rubbed onto branches or  boxes are usually enough.

It is very important for us to provide enrichment on a  regular basis as it offers fun for the animals as well as keeping them happy  and healthy. It also provides fun for the staff in their daily duties, and the  customers who are now able to be “hands on” and help us with the preparation.  All you need is to be a little creative. The  hardest part is deciding which branch you will put the enrichment on!

Hercules Moths – 7 of them.

Hercules Moths – 7 of them all emerged in the last coupled of days. This is a good indication that we are probably in for some rain, as the moths and butterflies often link their emergence from the chrysalis stage to coincide with low pressure systems. The extra rain means plants send out tender young leaves which are perfect for the caterpillars to eat.

I went down to the lab today to take some photos….

Here they all are - you can see the two on the left and on the bottom row have already gotten down to business.

Here’s a closer shot of the two Hercules moths that are mating today.

Hercules moths have such extremely fat bodies because that is all the sustenance that they are going to get. Having neither a mouth nor a stomach, they do all their eating as caterpillars and live off the reserves for the 5 to 10 days that they are in the moth stage.

 

Cape Kimberly Beach Clean-up

Cape Kimberly Beach Clean-up.

Port's Popular Plastic Pickers

Port's Popular Plastic Pickers


Well life is pretty good when you hit the road to clean up a beautiful Australian beach (Cape Kimberly in the Cape Tribulation area) and 4 overseas wildlife volunteers offer their services and come and help out. We were also joined at the Wildlife Habitat cark park by about 20 other environmentally minded locals from Port Douglas and Cairns and headed off.
Cape Kimberly’s a special part of the world, the Daintree rainforest comes right down to the beach, as do the midges and mossies as the volunteers found out.

It was a fun day but hard work as the group collected about half a tonne of rubbish along a 4 km stretch of a white sandy beach.
A group of friendly locals treated the whole crew to a thank you BBQ and a cooling swim in their pool. On the way home we also jumped in the Mossman River for a refreshing swim, it helped wash off the mossies, sand, cool down the skin and gave us all a good chance to chat. I will be taking the bus to the next clean up, so keep posted and the dates will go up soon. Heidi and the crew at Tangaroa blue do this kind of fantastic work all the time, so support them when you can. Here is a list of the rubbish collected.

- 12, 888 individual pieces of debris were removed filling 57 bags, plus some items too big to fit into bags including pallets and tyres;

- Pieces of broken down plastic items made up the most common item with a total of 4559 pieces;

- Second were plastic bottle tops and lids with a huge 3245 items;

- Next was 999 bits of polystyrene foam;

plastic and weather balloon remnants

plastic and weather balloon remnants


- Then 550 pieces of weather balloon which are released by the Bureau of Meteorology between 2-16 times a day from offices around Australia. These pieces most probably come from the Cairns office and included polystyrene foam, balloon remnants and torches with batteries that are released at night. The Environmental & Sustainability Executive Officer from the Bureau of Meteorology is Ms Sarah Arblaster and we encourage everyone to contact the Bureau and ask them to find a more environmentally friendly way to check which way the wind is blowing!
- Next on the list was 532 thongs and then 440 plastic drink bottles rounding off the top 7 items found

Contact me Garry Sullivan at gm@wildlifehabitat.com.au or Heidi at heidi@oceancare.org.au for more info or dates regarding the next clean up.

Garry Sullivan GM Wildlife Habitat Port Douglas.

Rocky the Waterdragon

Cairns Wildlife Dome Wildlife Supervisor – Melissa van der Boom releases Rocky back into his enclosure

Cairns Wildlife Dome Wildlife Supervisor – Melissa van der Boom releases Rocky back into his enclosure


It is World War III for our Eastern Water Dragon males here at the Dome, with both of them fighting for the only female we have here. They persist on getting to each other through the glass border separating them.

This is natural behavior and often occurs in the wild. However some aren’t so fortunate and don’t come out alive. Here in captivity we are able to keep them separated, although recent events put both dragons lives at risk.
We regularly have tourists asking us if the water dragon is supposed to be out of the enclosure. We reassure them every time that he is meant to be out; but only a couple of months ago a tourist took matters into their own hands.

Rocky, fresh from his cast.

Rocky, fresh from his cast.

Thinking they were doing the right thing, they picked up the dragon and put him back in the enclosure with the other male dragon. The natural behavior of these lizards then took over and they started to fight. Luckily our staff found them in time and separated them, but unfortunately neither dragon escaped without injury. Our larger male Rocky came out with a broken back leg and a few scratches. The other had a dislocated leg and a few scratches. Rocky has since had his leg in a cast and thanks to the excellent care of our dedicated keepers, has now been released back into his enclosure. Now, there is even more signage warning visitors not to put these 2 water dragons together – they actually are meant to be separated.

It just goes to show – if you are ever visiting a zoo or wildlife park – do not touch the animals unless you have permission to do so, and if you are unsure of a situation, always ask before taking action.

Koala’s to the rescue

Australia’s Wildlife Habitat

The Daiouji Temple and Kindergarten

The Daiouji Temple and Kindergarten

Having worked as a volunteer after a Tsunami ( 2005 in Sri lanka) I have witnessed personally what human good will can do, and this is why we have decided to send 150 Koalas to some of the kids in Japan, not just as a toy but more a reminder to them, that other people in the world do care and are feeling there pain.
Visa's approved - these Koalas are off to Japan

Visa's approved - these Koalas are off to Japan


The Koalas will go to the kids at a small Kindergarten run by the Soto Zen religion in their Daiouji Temple in the heavily Tsunami affected Minami Sanriku region. The Koalas have been donated by the visitors and staff of the Wildlife Habitat Port Douglas, each with its own personal message.
Since the Tsunami the numbers of children attending the kindergarten has dropped from 150 to about 85; these little furry animals could put a big smile of some Japanese kids’ faces.
Garry Sullivan
General Manager
Wildlife Habitat.
Port Douglas.

Christmas at Australia’s Wildlife Habitat

Ho Ho Ho and a bag full of Snakes and Crocodiles.

Getting ready in Santa's workshop

Getting ready in Santa's workshop

Well it’s nearly that time of year again ( where did 2011 go ? ) and we have joined forces with the Port Douglas Neighbourhood Centre to run a huge Christmas Raffle valued at over $3000.
The raffle runs from November 1st until 17th December and will be drawn at 3.00pm at the Wildlife Habitat. Along with the raffle draw on the 17th, we are holding a Free photo with Santa day with animals day for the kids. It’s also combined with a 20% of all retail product’s Christmas sale at the Wildlife Habitat .

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas

The Neighbourhood Centre does great work and supports all types of charities and people in and around Port Douglas/Mossman and the Daintree region so get behind this charity event, tickets can be purchased at the Wildlife Habitat, The Nik Nak shop and the Neighbourhood Centre, we will also be selling tickets outside of IGA on the weekends in December before the 17th.

We would like to thank all the operators that are supporting this worthy cause, they are listed below.

Aquarius and Tropical Journeys / The Solar Whisper Daintree River Cruise / Central Hotel / Daintree Discover Tours / Sublime Bar & Grill (Peppers Beach Club) / Brian ‘Binna; Swindley (Janbal Gallery) / Mango Tree/Kuranda Scenic Railway / Skyrail / Bistro 3 / Hi-Tide Restaurant / Daintree River Cruise Centre / Sea Temple / Jungle Surfing / Combined Club / Sailaway / Quicksilver/ Wildlife Habitat / CAPTA group and K-Star walking Tours.

An Aussie Christmas

An Aussie Christmas


Port Douglas and the Daintree operators really do get behind their community, please do the same and by a ticket or 20.

Garry Sullivan
General Manager
Wildlife Habitat
Port Douglas.