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Examining the evidence for rare fauna.

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Crikey! Where Light Meets Dark video!Printable Version

The competition

If you haven't heard, Terri and Bindi Irwin are inviting you (and me) to win two tickets to Australia Zoo from anywhere in the world. All you have to do is produce a short video talking about what you think the zoo might be like, or what animals you love at the zoo.

Of course, you'll have to throw in the word "CRIKEY!" and feature khaki somewhere, but it's all in the name of fun and some great prizes.

Mid May, the Australia Zoo website will open its doors to the voting public and at the end of voting, Terri and Bindi will review the top 10 videos and make a decision on who to invite to Australia Zoo... and Bindi's 9th birthday party!

The rescue
At the same time, I also received news that a developer clearing 10 acres of land has allowed a local wildlife rescue group onto the property in order to rescue the wildlife while the bulldozer knocks down trees.

The group set traps nightly to be checked each morning in addition to checking through the mulched and felled tree material as the bulldozer worked.

They rescued at least one ringtail possum, located two possum dreys (nests), rescued several antechinus, bush rats, blue-tongued lizards and other skinks.

Two swamp wallabies (mother and joey) were yet to be rescued. Because of the construction fencing, they could not escape the site.

Numerous micro bats were seen in the area each night and volunteers were checking tree hollows and underneath tree bark to locate these. Many of the rescuers were snake specialists, but surprisingly, no snakes had been seen by the time I visited the site. Local residents reported red-bellied black and brown snakes in the area, but these had cleared out - possibly due to the vibrations of the work equipment.

There were also many birds coming home each day to a field of wood chips instead of the bushland they formerly called home. The bush itself had some spectacular grass trees, banksias, scribbly gums and other native trees and plants.

Many Australian species will not enter traps until months after they have been placed into the environment, so volunteers could not hope to rescue everything. In particular, it was expected there should be numbers of Eastern pygmy possums in the area, but none had been trapped.

On the ground, bandicoots were also a possibility, with fresh diggings visible each morning, but again, these had not been trapped by the time I visited.

A member of the NSW National Parks volunteered his time and some equipment to help with the trapping process. We used a global positioning system (GPS) to record trap locations and animal captures and ran three possum traps and up to 15 Elliot (small box) traps each night.

The video
A chance to create a video and an opportunity to share the message that developers can do much to aid our wildlife; namely, by allowing rescuers access to the land in the months leading up to clearing... was too good an opportunity to miss.

The result? Head on over to the Australia Zoo Free Trip website, and check out my Crikey! video entry :)

If you like, please vote for me from May 14th. Also - why not have a go yourself and win tickets from anywhere in the world to Australia Zoo? Now that's worth having a bit of fun making a video!

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