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Researchers tune into cockatoo calls

Photo acknowledge Martin

In a ground-breaking study, tiny sound recorders will be set up near the nests of south-eastern red-tailed black-cockatoos to monitor the nesting habits of the endangered species.

University of Queensland researchers, working alongside the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), will begin research this week placing sound recorders near nests across farmland between Portland and Edenhope in Victoria.

UQ Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Science researcher Daniella Teixeira said when the sound recorders are collected later this year, each device will have more than 150 gigabytes of audio to analyse.

“The project’s main aim is to develop semi-automated methods for detecting key breeding-related bird calls from the massive volumes of audio,” she said.  

“If that is achieved, this project will provide conservation managers with a reliable and cost-effective method for monitoring these birds over vast areas and for long periods of time.

“That information could be used to make decisions about habitat protection in relation to nesting habitat, fire planning and the placement of artificial nests.” 

DELWP Senior Biodiversity Officer Richard Hill said the south-eastern red-tailed black-cockatoo is one of Australia's rarest cockatoos and is only found in south-west Victoria and lower south-east South Australia.

“It’s believed a lack of success with nesting is a key reason for their low population, and we’re hoping to find out what’s causing this,” Mr Hill said.

“Bird calls will be recorded across the breeding season, with the devices programmed to record at certain times of day.

“The audio will be used to determine the success of particular nests, by identifying specific calls from parent birds and their chicks.

“This research comes at a critical time, in light of recent flock counts which suggest disappointing breeding results over the last few seasons.”

This study is being undertaken by the Threatened Species Recovery Hub, which undertakes research to support the recovery of Australia’s threatened species. 

The Hub is a collaboration of ten of Australia’s leading universities and the Australian Wildlife Conservancy, and receives support from the Australian Government’s National Environmental Science Programme.

The Ecosounds Lab at the Queensland University of Technology will also be involved in research aspects relating to sound data handling and processing.

Nina Beilby not only takes great portrait photographs for corporations and small business but now helps out with photos of shelter dogs.

Australian Consumer Confidence Edges Higher - up 0.6pts to 114.1

ANZ-Roy Morgan Australian Consumer Confidence edged up 0.5% to 114.1 this week, following a 3.9% rise the previous week. The details were mixed: consumers seem less optimistic about their personal finances, though views towards economic conditions have improved. Households’ views towards current financial conditions slipped 2.0% last week, partially unwinding the previous 4.7% rise. Similarly, sentiment around future financial conditions fell 1.7%, following a solid 6.4% increase earlier. Despite the fall last week, confidence in overall financial conditions remains close to its long term average.



19-20 October, 2017

Rosehill Gardens Racecourse, Grand Pavilion

Cat eradication to help threatened Christmas Island wildlife

Credit: Parks Australia

UQ researchers are undertaking research on the potential effects of cat eradication on an island.

Parks Australia and the WA Department of Biodiversity Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) are leading a project to eradicate feral cats on Christmas Island, something very few populated islands in the world have successfully achieved.

UQ School of Earth and Environmental Sciences researcher Dr Eve McDonald-Madden is supporting the project with research to ensure the cat eradication does not produce any unintended impacts on wildlife.

“On other islands, cat eradication programs have sometimes had unexpected negative flow on effects,” Dr McDonald-Madden said.

“Each island is unique, but in some cases a reduction in cats has led to an increase in feral rats or other invasive species, which can also be a big problem for native wildlife. 

“Our research is looking at these potential consequences – such as the impact rats have on nesting sea birds and forest birds – and how this could change as cat numbers reduce.” 

Dr McDonald-Madden said the research team, led by the Australian Government’s Threatened Species Recovery Hub, will work with Christmas Island National Park managers and DBCA to predict and avert potential problems.

“Overall this will ensure that threatened species on Christmas Island will get the maximum possible benefit from the cat eradication,” she said.   

Feral cats remain a key threat for many species on the island, as it is a site of international conservation significance and home to many unique species found nowhere else in the world.

Christmas Island National Park Manager Scott Suridge said feral cats are very efficient predators and have been a major problem for many of the island’s threatened species.

“We’ve made significant inroads into the feral problem, by first removing over 600 stray cats living around the township, and getting community support for a program of mandatory registration and desexing of per cats,” Mr Suridge said.

“We’ll continue to work hard with our partners to ensure we remain on track with the aim of ridding the rest of the island of feral cats by 2020.”

Petfood Forum China focuses on global trends driving the pet food market
Internationally recognized pet food experts offered insights on the fast-growing market during the annual event
Shanghai, China – September 7, 2017 – A sold-out room of Petfood Forum China attendees learned that natural and grain-free products account for more than 30 percent of China’s US$1.5 billion pet food market, according to Alfred Zhou, managing director of GfK Retail and Technology China. Zhou was the opening speaker during Petfood Forum China 2017 held August 23 in Shanghai. China’s pet food market is also seeing growth in ecommerce, which now accounts for 48 percent of pet food sales, and increased sales for domestic Chinese brands.
“Overall the Chinese pet food market has huge opportunities with increasing volumes, sales and product development,” explained Debbie Phillips-Donaldson, editor-in-chief of Petfood Industry. “The Chinese pet food market closely watches mature markets, like the US, for ideas and trends.”
The sixth annual Petfood Forum China attracted pet food professionals from China and Southeast Asia as well as several other countries. Attendees had the exclusive opportunity to learn from internationally recognized pet food experts on a variety of topics including: new sensory tools for pet food, global pet food marketing plans, innovations in pet food drying, top consumer perceptions of pet nutrition, plus benefits and challenges of freeze-dried pet food products. They were also able to interact with Petfood Forum China sponsors including Alltech, DSM Nutritional Products, Extru-Tech Inc., Schenck Process and Wenger Manufacturing.
Petfood Forum China was held in conjunction with Pet Fair Asia 2017, one of the largest pet trade shows in China, which featured nine halls with a large portion devoted to pet food, treats and snacks.
Petfood Forum China will take place again in August 2018 in Shanghai. For more information about Petfood Forum China and other Petfood Forum events visit
About Petfood Forum & Petfood Industry
Petfood Forum is organized and hosted by Petfood Industry ( Both are owned by WATT Global Media, a content company founded in 1917 that provides exceptional business content and solutions to the agribusiness industry. As an industry innovator, WATT Global Media has connected buyers and sellers in the poultry, pig, animal feed and pet food industries through its media channels for 100 years (

UK News
Dog breeding defects are top concern for vets

Vets are calling on prospective dog owners to think twice before buying a puppy after breeding and hereditary defects came out as vets’ top animal health and welfare concern.

The number of vets citing this as a pressing issue more than doubled in the past two years, according to figures revealed by the British Veterinary Association (BVA) during Puppy Awareness Week 4-10 September.

According to BVA’s Voice of the Veterinary Profession survey, which polled almost 700 vets across the UK, there has been a significant rise in the levels of concern with regard to conformational deformities and pedigree breeding, particularly of brachycephalic breeds such as Pugs and French bulldogs. Nearly half (45 percent) of companion animal vets surveyed included these among the three welfare issues that concerns them most.

Poorly bred puppies can suffer diseases, health problems and poor socialisation that can lead to behaviour problems, while brachycephalic dogs suffer serious health and welfare problems including struggling to breathe due to their flat-faces, which are a ‘characteristic’ of the breed.

This Puppy Awareness Week, BVA and Animal Welfare Foundation (AWF) are encouraging prospective pet owners not to buy a brachycephalic breed and consider healthier breeds or cross-breeds instead, and to always consider how a puppy has been reared and cared for in its first few weeks to ensure a happy, healthy dog in later life.

British Veterinary Association President Gudrun Ravetz said: “Anyone thinking of getting a new puppy should speak to their local veterinary practice for advice on the right dog for them and use the free Puppy Contract that gives prospective owners all the information they need to ensure they are buying a healthy, happy and well-socialised puppy.

“If a seller is not willing to provide the information listed in the Puppy Contract or allow you to see the puppy interacting with its mother, then you should walk away otherwise you risk perpetuating irresponsible dog breeding and lining the pockets of people who care more about profits than puppy welfare.”
Source UK Pet Gazette

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