Daintree Rainforest Camera Trap Project

As a part of its long-term Daintree Rainforest Camera Trap Project, 2020 will always be the year that the Foundation first published images of the very rare Bennett’s Tree Kangaroo – Dendrolagus bennettianus (De Vis, 1887) in natural habitat.

Each fortnight, 12 camera traps were cleared of data, which was then transferred onto computer, logged, analysed, filed and collated into a draft report for publication at the beginning of the following month.  Approximately 10-kilometres are traversed collecting data-cards, replenishing batteries and servicing and re-setting camera-traps, twice-monthly.  It takes every bit of a full day to clear all traps, but with other work commitments, can extend to three or four days in total.  One of the more pleasing aspects of the task, was the sightings of Bennett’s Tree Kangaroos.  As yet, we have had no sightings of Northern Tiger-Quolls, but hopefully will with time and perseverance.  Over the full course of the year, 772-cassowaries were captured from 505 events, 528-dingoes from 217 events and 1,462-feral-pigs from 483 events.  In terms of congregation, for every 2 cassowaries, there were 3-dingoes and 4-feral-pigs snapped and within territorial constraints, cassowaries were significantly more perambulatory than both dingoes and feral-pigs.

Unfortunately, this does not provide reliable data on population comparisons, but the dynamics between the three competitors cannot be trivialised:  Cassowaries, being of paramount World Heritage importance, are adversely affected by competition and predation from both feral-pigs and dingoes, but dingoes also prey upon feral-pigs with advantages for cassowaries.

Daintree Rainforest camera traps 2020

Probably the greatest value that can be taken from this chart will be comparative across the years ahead, but as this is the first year of this long-term data collection project, the most significant event appears in September-October, with a dramatic increase in dingo numbers coinciding with an equivalent drop in feral-pig numbers, inferring that dingoes either killed the feral-pigs or displaced them through fear of predation.

Replacement Constitution

At a special meeting convened via Zoom on Sunday 5 July 2020, the motion that the replacement constitution, circulated to board directors on 24 February 2020 and amended on 14 May 2020, be adopted; superseding the constitution in force immediately before the adoption of this replacement constitution, was unanimously carried.

Environmental Advocacy

Indigenous Sacred Site EN:C53

The Foundation has maintained pressure on all levels of government for resolution of the chronic mismanagement, trespass, desecration and degradation at and about the Kuku Yalanji registered Sacred Site EN:C53, to no avail.  Public health concerns raised within the COVID-19 pandemic were added to this lobbying effort, but again, without effect.

Removal of log-jam from Cooper Creek causeway

Having anticipated the risk of routing the Cooper Creek causeway by the enormity of a fallen Steel-butt (Endiandra impressicosta) brought down in tropical cyclone Rona (1999), the Foundation obtained the requisite permissions of the Wet Tropics Management Authority & Douglas Shire Council to breakdown the giant tree into thirds and yet, the basal third jammed against the causeway, but the Foundation was able to intervene and bring about its controlled dislodgement.

Ferry versus bridge

The Douglas Shire Council (DSC)’s proposal for a bridge across the Daintree River elicited a lively response from a broad range of stakeholder interests.  The Foundation put a great deal of work into its submission, appealing for the retention of a single ferry with great improvement in ferry- charging and visitor-management.  Whilst the process was relatively open and transparent, it was inherently skewed away from this scenario in favour of two-ferries or a bridge and the consultation outcome reflected this bias with a clear majority opting for two-ferries.  Whilst two-ferries may provide some relief to congestion during peak visitation periods, the already existing unresolved threatening processes would exacerbate, visual amenity would plummet, costs would sky-rocket and permit-requirements for capital works and vegetation removal remains uncertain.  Also, the structural engineering requirements to incorporate two anchorages for two ferries on the northern side of the Daintree River, with sufficient distance between the two to avoid danger, makes permit-requirements even less likely.  Presuming two-ferries run alternately, to avoid traffic congestion with simultaneous unloading, the danger for water vessels travelling along the Daintree River greatly increases across two-sets of variably submerged cables.

Annual & Financial Reports

Daintree Rainforest Foundation Ltd
2020 Annual Report
Daintree Rainforest Foundation Ltd
2020 Fiscal Report
The annual report and a concise summary of the financial statements are presented above, however, any Member may request a hard copy of the full report.

On behalf of the Foundation, I hereby thank the generous contributors to the Daintree Rainforest Fund and also the directors, Mr. Ron Shoppee, Mr. Paul Chantrill, Mr. Cliff Wise, Mr. Emrys Nekvapil, Ms. Prue Hewett, Mr. Taiga Hewett and Mrs. Angie Hewett for their enthusiasm, dedication and all the various contributions that have brought the Daintree Rainforest Foundation Ltd., successfully to its fifth Annual General Meeting.

Neil Hewett – Chairperson