World tiger numbers have risen for the first time in 100 years, marking a turning point in the animal’s fight against poaching and habitat loss. Figures from national surveys in tiger range states and from the International Union for Conservation of Nature estimate there are 3 890 tigers in the wild, 700 more than the 2010 figure. The World Wildlife Fund Australia’s national manager for species, Darren Grover, says the increase is likely a result of ramped up conservation efforts in India, Russia, Nepal and Bhutan.
Coral bleaching due to global warming has continued to worsen in the northern Great Barrier Reef over the past two weeks, even as cooler weather has brought significant reprieve to central and southern areas. Terry Hughes, Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, says the northern reefs are in the most remote, pristine area of the Great Barrier Reef and it’s a tragedy to see them affected like this.
The Australian Marine Conservation Society has expressed outrage that the Geelong Star super trawler has caught and killed vulnerable marine life, this time including endangered albatross species. AMCS Fisheries Campaigner Josh Coates says that rather than sanctions, the trawler should be banned from Australian waters.
The Lock the Gate alliance is calling on the Liberal Party to return what it’s calling ‘tainted donations’ from resources company Linc Energy, which is currently facing legal action from the Queensland Government for one of the largest contamination events in Queensland’s history. Carmel Flint is Lock the Gate Alliance’s National Campaign Coordinator, and she spoke to us about the details of this issue.
In collaboration with several Australian universities, Wildlife Health Australia (WHA) is launching a program to surveil Australian wildlife, enabling faster detection of and response to emerging diseases in animal populations. Dr Sam Gilchrist is a part of the one-year pilot program, and says it will deliver faster identification of issues and a valuable national perspective on new research opportunities.
An investigation of previously unexplored depths of Australia’s Coral Sea has revealed living fossils, rare corals and sponges, and ecosystems that have remained largely unchanged for millions of years. A team of Australian and German researchers have published their analysis of data, specimens, photographs and video footage collected in 2009, when they sent a remotely operated vehicle out Osprey Reef off the far north Queensland coast. Dr Rob Beaman was involved in this research, and spoke to me about what it means.
Police have charged three members of the Knitting Nannas anti-coal seam gas protest group after they chained themselves by their necks to a wastewater plant gate in northern New South Wales. The three women; Dominique Jacobs, Angela Dalu, and Therese Mason, locked themselves to the gate of the Santos Leewood CSG facility near Narrabri and were arrested for obstructing traffic and not following police instructions. Dominique Jacobs says that despite the charges, in her heart she knows she hasn’t done anything wrong.
Researchers have discovered a record 20 new fish species while conducting fieldwork in the remote Kimberley, unveiling it as Australia’s most biodiverse region for freshwater fish. I spoke to Matthew Le Feuvre, an aquatic ecologist with the University of Melbourne who was part of the research up there, about this discovery.
The Queensland Government has approved an Environmental Authority for the Acland Stage 3 coal project, despite its investigation by the Crime and Corruption Commission over dodgy political donations. Lock the Gate Alliance president, Drew Hutton, says the mine will drain precious groundwater, destroy some of the best agricultural land in the country, and put the health of local communities at risk.