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Looking back after over 12 years of FINIA’s operations, we can sometimes forget the achievements of the group and its partners. These were brought home at a recent FINIA partner meeting held on Fraser Island (K’gari) to check field sites in addition to identifying new challenges for the World Heritage property.
In 2005, the group came together around the common issue of weed management and despite some massive wins across all land tenures (freehold, unallocated state land and National Parks), weeds and pests are still one of the biggest problems for the island and its native species.
In 2005, we looked at sisal hemp, a plant that was introduced to the Missions that were located on Fraser Island (K’gari). Today, we have an ever-growing list of plants like Abrus, Easter cassia and Brazilian cherry, that are invading the island. Twelve years ago, there were no cane toads in any of the waterways or Indian myna birds, cats and foxes hadn’t been caught on camera traps.
Thankfully, there are some success stories, bitou bush has almost been eradicated from K’gari, the Jamella leafhopper – which was destroying the island’s pandanus – is now being brought into check by the Aphanomerus wasp, which exclusively lays its eggs on the Jamella egg rafts.
FINIA is a great example of how much can be achieved by collaborating groups. But the take-home message is that we can’t hang up the tool belts yet.
It’s that time again! The humpback whale annual migration is heading south and the marine turtle courting and breeding season begins – where adult courting males and nesting females return to their birthplace from areas hundreds of kilometres abroad.
While these migratory breeding cycles increase whale and turtle populations, sadly, some individuals remain and become part of the island’s food-web providing extra sustenance for terrestrial scavengers including the island’s apex predators. (more…)
Bitou bush has the ability to out compete and smother native coastal dune vegetation. Infestations within the Great Sandy National Park have been dramatically reduced since the 1980’s, with only isolated plants being found in the field today.
In the last FINIA newsletter, FIDO’s John Sinclair raised concerns about the apparent diminishing number of birds on Fraser Island. He points to the evidence provided by a group of bird watchers who recorded 65 species of birds in a trip across the island in a 24-hour period in November 1968. John said that over five days at Easter on the island this year he managed to see or hear only 20 species through the bush and on the beach.
John asked the question: where have the island’s birds gone? Without being too smart, I could say … to the Anderson bird baths at Eurong. (more…)
Trail cameras are an integral part of protected area management throughout the world and a useful tool where resources for field observations are limited. Within the Great Sandy National Park, cameras are utilised and applied to the management of threatened fauna species, feral animal activity, compliance and dingo conservation. The process of going through the images can be long and at times surprising, but the rewards are worth it. (more…)
FIDO’s Bush Regeneration program has been operating volunteer week-long weeding operations since 2005. However, the number of weeding operations has increased progressively from one in 2005 to 10 in 2016–17. This is to keep pace with the increasing threat, and number, of weed invaders.
Cruise tourism has witnessed unprecedented growth rates amidst greater interest in terms of new destinations and ships with an impressive array of features. There is some agreement within industry that the sector is likely to continue its growth trajectory given that many cruise tourists are sold to the idea of all-inclusive and value-based pricing strategies employed by many operators. (more…)
FIDO has just installed a second online weather station on K’gari at Eurong as part of an ongoing FIDO program to capture weather data from a broader area to assist in environmental monitoring. Through FIDO’s website, anyone in the world with access to the internet can see the temperature, barometric pressure, wind direction and rainfall at both Happy Valley and Eurong in real time and for the previous 14 days. FIDO also feeds the data to Weather Underground and the Bureau of Meteorology, where it can also be seen. They also add FIDO’s weather station input to their permanent storage.
Marine turtle season is coming to an end. The adult courting males and nesting females have returned to their home areas from hundreds of kilometres abroad, and hatchlings are emerging from their underground incubation period to embark on their life journey. Only 1 in 1000 make it to maturity, around 35–50 years old.
North Fraser Island (K’gari) has a small turtle rookery with a seasonal night driving curfew, where green turtles (Chelonia mydas) and loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta) court and breed, and females deposit their precious cargo of eggs into the dunes before leaving the young to their fate. These eggs (over 70%) also provide seasonal food resources for wildlife, including dingoes. (more…)
From 28 November to 4 December 2016, a multidisciplinary team of experienced scientists and enthusiastic amateurs based at the University of the Sunshine Coast’s (USC) Dilli Village Research and Education Centre carried out the first of what are hoped to be regular BioBlitzes to better document the wide range of both plant and animal species on Fraser Island (K’gari).
The BioBlitzes are a kind of ‘natural stocktake’ to develop an inventory of every living thing on K’gari. They are extremely important on K’gari, because biological values are one of the three natural values for which the island has been inscribed on the World Heritage list. Criteria (vii) recognises K’gari’s outstanding aesthetic values. Criteria (viii) recognises the ongoing geological processes which are currently being studied over three years by a team from the University of Queensland. Criteria (ix) recognises that the island ‘represents an outstanding example of significant ongoing biological processes. These processes, acting on a sand medium, include biological adaptation (such as unusual rainforest succession), and biological evolution (such as the development of rare and biogeographically significant species of plants and animals). Vegetation associations and succession represented on Fraser Island display an unusual level of complexity, with major changes in floristic and structural composition occurring over very short distances.’ It is this criteria that the BioBlitz was addressing.