Daintree Rainforest Camera Traps – November 2021 – accrued 125-cassowary sightings, 4-dingoes and 57-feral pigs.  Against the cumulative monthly average, cassowary numbers rose by 59%, whilst dingoes plummeted by 87% and feral-pigs also dropped by 52%.  Against November of the preceding year, cassowary numbers rose by 347%, dingoes fell by 96% and feral-pig sightings decreased by 43%.

Image highlights from Camera Traps – November 2021

The tremendous increase in November 2021 cassowary sightings, relative to November 2020, is due to the number of chicks.  Last year, four female cassowaries competing for four male mates, left only one chick (below) that managed to make it through to sub-adulthood.  Female cassowaries almost certainly kill the chicks of other competing females.  Two cassowary chicks have been lost over the last month and one has the tell-tale wound of a pig’s tusk on its left-side drumstick.  Feral-pigs prey upon juvenile cassowaries, as do dingoes.

Although concerning, the relative dearth of dingoes is probably due to the relocation of the family that dominated sightings last year, to an area not covered by camera traps.  Almost all recent sightings appear to be the same solitary dingo.

November 2021 revealed a number of additional piglets (see below):

Lowland wet-tropical rainforest listed as Endangered

Effective from 26 November 2021, lowland wet-tropical rainforest was listed in the Endangered category of the threatened ecological communities-list under the (Cwlth) Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).  The main factors that made the threatened ecological community eligible for listing in the Endangeredcategory, were its historic losses due to clearing and resulting fragmentation and ongoing threats to its integrity and function.

Having first learned of this Endangered-listing only yesterday, a week after its formal declaration and almost 8-months after public comments on the proposal to list the Lowland Tropical Rainforest of the Wet Tropics Bioregion as a threatened ecological community were first invited on 1 April 2021 (with consultation having closed on 19 May 2021) I wonder how many other landholder/residents of Wet Tropics bioregion were as unaware of the process as I?  And how about our Council representatives and our partners-in-protection – the Wet Tropics Management Authority – were they also unaware or perhaps aware of the process, but unwilling to share?

Approved Conservation Advice for the Lowland tropical rainforest of the Wet Tropics establishes two thresholds to determine applicability:  Patch-size (anywhere from 0.5-hectares or greater); and biotic condition (cover of native tree species is ≥ 50% and/or tree species richness ≥ 20 species.  As these federal protections were already in place over freehold lands within the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area (WTWHA), it appears that the objective of the listing was particularly freehold lands outside the WTWHA boundaries.  So, when an affected landholder applies to Council for development approval, supposedly anyone can refer the matter to the Federal Minister for regulatory oversight, including prohibition.

Whilst an Endangered ecological community may be protected from potentially harmful development, Fan Palms – Licuala ramsayi var. ramsayi and Alexandra Palms – Archontophoenix alexandrae, which feature prominently within the Endangered ecological community’s identifying floristics, cannot be protected from the insatiable appetites of inadvertently-protected feral-pigs.

Daintree Rainforest Foundation Ltd has been registered by the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission and successfully entered onto the Register of Environmental Organisations.  Donations made to the Daintree Rainforest Fund support the Daintree Rainforest community custodianship and are eligible for a tax deduction under the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997.

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