Introduced in 1935, the Cane toad (Bufo marinus) is one of the most prominent and successful invasive species in Australia. It was originally introduced from specimens in Hawaii - although the species is native to Central and South America. Without showing any noticeable interest in the cane beetle it was introduced to control (as the cane beetle was eating sugar cane crops in northern Queensland), the Cane Toad spread unimpeded throught QLD to New South Wales and reached Northern Territory by the 1980s. It has a voracious appetite eating anything from insects, frogs and small possums. And basically no predators touch it due to its parotid glands that secrete a milky toxin often deadly to all those that try to consume it! Biological control people………..needs to be researched before you devastate a continents wildlife.
Northern Koala - close up. Southern koalas are larger and much darker than their northern Australian counterparts like this one here.
Common Name: Koala (not a bear). Latin Name: Phascolarctos cinereus. Distribution: Australian Continent, east and south coasts. Absent from WA and Tasmania. IUCN Status: Least Concern. Habitat and Ecology: Feed and occur almost exclusively on Eucalyptus spp. and are able to persist in sparsely populated forest sometimes even single trees for long periods. They exhibit regional preference for food trees and may live up to 18 years (normal range 10-14years). Threats: Habitat fragmentation since European settlement has led to a diminished original range. This fragmentation leaves Koalas travelling on the ground between forest patches open to danger from traffic strikes and dog predation. This is particularly relevant in the Redlands near Brisbane where numbers have plummeted on the Koala coast. Conservation efforts: Still numerous in protected areas such as hinterlands on the east coast where a high density of Eucalyptus spp. still remain. As yet the National Strategy for Conservation of the Koala is still in draft form. (IUCN Redlist http://www.iucnredlist.org/apps/redlist/details/16892/0).
Sunset on a trip into Brisbane’s incredible Mt Nebo and surrounding national park.
So here I find myself in 2012, living in the sunshine state - south-east Queensland, in central Brisbane. This is my third trip to Australia and ever since I first came here, the wild heritage of this vast continent completely fascinates me. Everything here mystifies me, all the wildlife is so colourful and delightfully strange compared with everywhere on earth.
The marine biodiversity is breathtaking even at these sub-tropical lattitudes. In an incredibly insignificant 8 dives in this country I have come across Reef Manta Rays, Grey Nurse Sharks, Leopard Sharks, Eagle rays, Devil rays, schooling Cownose rays, Bull rays, Cowtail Stingrays, Giant Groupers, Green, Hawksbill and Loggerhead Turtles and singing Humpback Whales!!
Then comes the terrestrial fauna, from the huge array of marsupials, the incredible and bizarre monotremes, large and weird lizards and the birds. Australia’s bird life is SENSATIONAL. In the coming few months I hope I can portray just a notion of this massive island’s beauty. And that my friends is what the posts following this will be all about.