From the seemingly endless troupe of environmental campaigners marching to the beat of ‘Save the Daintree Rainforest’, one of the Foundation’s most important points of difference is that constitutionally it must perform its functions in a way that is consistent with the protection of inhabitant people.  People are not only constituent parts of the legislated definition of ‘environment’, but they are also its sole caretakers and exclusive repository of local knowledge.

Tragically, the Daintree Rainforest Community lost one of its most diligent and talented custodians, Cheryll Williams, who died in her home on Friday 20 May 2022.  For over a decade, Cheryll and partner Tony cared for injured wildlife in their Daintree Wildlife Refuge.  Specialising in flying-foxes, their house was constructed to give the convalescing frugivores a feeling for the rainforest, which seems to merge into the special purpose ward.  This allows the recuperating mammals space to test their wings, without predatory danger and to be well-treated in familiar leafy surrounds.  Cheryll Williams was a medicinal herbalist who wrote five-books on herbal plants, used as medicines and her most recent book, Phytochemistry of Australia’s Tropical Rainforest – Medical Potential of Ancient Plants, was published in 2021, with critical acclaim.  Daintree Rainforest P/L contributed rainforest images to these books reflecting the co-operation that exists within the tight-knit rainforest community.
On the day of Cheryll’s death, the rainforest revealed two new cassowary chicks.   They were named in honour of Cheryll and Tony.  The father is Crinkle-Cut and mother is Big Bertha.  The father will care for the chicks while the mother will continue to produce more chicks with several male cassowaries.  The continuum of life and death is marked with losses that will long be remembered and cherished and births that will be celebrated and included.
More recently, Crinkle-Cut has been distraught.  First, he lost little Tony to predation.  He was then separated from Cheryll, through a territorial dispute with a male competitor, whose two yearlings rounded onto little Cheryll.  The sounds of the melee did not bode well for the one-moth-old stripey and Crinkle-Cut’s plaintive call, almost like a cow’s lowing, escalated to a hoarse roar and was heard by members of our family who joined the search, but to no avail.  Some hours later, returning home from work and hearing Crinkle-Cut’s bellows, one of our fourth-generation World Heritage human inhabitant progeny searched near-by forest and mimicked the vocalisation of a distressed adult cassowary, hoping to get a response … Cheryll ran out of cover towards her caller.  Crinkle-Cut was some distance away and unaware that his chick had been found.  Skilfully converting the human mimicry from mournful bellow to the loud piercing whistle of a distressed chick, brought Crinkle-Cut running.  Obviously relieved to be re-united with Cheryll, compliments of well-informed human knowledge and skilfully discharged ecological finesse, Crinkle-Cut ushered his off-spring back into the deep sanctuary of the rainforest.
If not for human intervention, another chick would have almost certainly died overnight.  This application of informed humanity, protects and conserves the environment and aspires to optimise ecological health, productivity and security.  The ecological bonding of humans to their environment has become an essential aspect of knowing how to live within the environment and optimise its ecological values.  Developed through long-term immersion within the world’s longest surviving rainforest, human inhabitancy provides vigilance, custodianship and repository for intellectual wealth.
We offer our heartfelt condolences to Tony and family.  Cheryll will be greatly missed and long-remembered.  May she rest in peace.
It is with also with profound sadness that the Board lost one of its founding Directors, with the passing of Cliff Wise OAM in early December, a most respected and dedicated champion of Daintree Rainforest Foundation Ltd.  We sympathise with Cliff’s family, wife Wendy, son Andrew and Daughter Kim, and share their sad loss.  They have had the best of what Cliff so abundantly gave.

Key events across the year

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 Endangered category, were its historic losses due to clearing and resulting fragmentation and ongoing threats to its integrity and function.  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 well in place over freehold lands within the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area (WTWHA), it appears the target of the listing was freehold lands outside the WTWHA boundaries.

Another momentous event occurred on 7 March 2022 at Heritage Lodge … in The Daintree, with Assistant Minister to the Minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction, the Honourable Tim Wilson MP releasing $18.75-million and cutting the virtual ribbon to allow Stage 1 of the Daintree Renewable Microgrid (DRM) to proceed.

Despite the project aiming to protect and conserve the unique environment, promote social, economic and environmental balance and support environmentally sustainable practices, some environmental campaigning is rigorously opposing the project by uncharitably denigrating people within the environment against conservation.

Daintree Rainforest Camera Trap Project

On top of the economic hardships of the recent COVID pandemic and its associated market restrictions, recent heavy rainfall has also added tourism difficulties and played havoc upon satellite communications and the reliability of the Daintree Rainforest Camera Traps.  Whilst ordinarily, Daintree Rainforest P/L would donate the full costs of the Daintree Rainforest Camera Trap Project, this year Daintree Rainforest Foundation LTD will have to shoulder the burden of camera replacement.

As a part of its long-term Daintree Rainforest Camera Trap Project, 2022 accrued 1568-cassowary sightings, 212-dingoes and 928-feral-pigs.  In comparison with 2021, cassowary numbers increased by 30%, dingoes decreased by 6% and feral-pig sightings also fell by 40%.  In terms of annual average, cassowary sightings rose by 37%, dingoes fell by 32% and feral-pigs also diminished by 29%.

Population sightings across 2022

Cassowaries – Dingoes – Feral-pigs:

Daintree Rainforest Camera Traps 2022

Comparison 2020 – 2021 – 2022:

Daintree Rainforest Camera Traps 2022
Daintree Rainforest Camera Traps 2022
Daintree Rainforest Camera Traps 2022

Overlay of population sightings between 2020 – 2021 – 2022:

Daintree Rainforest Camera Traps 2022

Full copy of annual report (below)

Annual & Financial Reports

Daintree Rainforest Foundation LTD - 2021/22 - fiscal

On behalf of the Foundation, I hereby thank the generous contributors to the Daintree Rainforest Fund.  I also heartily thank David Bosanquet of Competitive Professional Accounting for his generous and skilful auditing and also the directors, Mr. Ron Shoppee, Mr. Paul Chantrill, Mr. Emrys Nekvapil, Ms. Prue 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 seventh Annual General Meeting.

Neil Hewett – Chairperson