Camera Traps – August 2022 accrued 84-cassowaries, 22-dingoes and 63-feral pigs. Against the cumulative monthly average, cassowary numbers dropped by 35%, dingoes fell by 14% and feral-pigs also decreased by 44%. Against August 2021, cassowary numbers were 3%-down, dingoes fell by 15% and feral-pig numbers dropped by 21%.
The acquisition, deployment, servicing, cataloguing, reporting and achievement of cost-recovery for the long-term maintenance of the Daintree Rainforest Camera Trap Project, can only realised by a dedicated human inhabitancy. The time alone that is required to check and service all 12 camera-traps fortnightly and then analyse and catalogue the data, would make the additional impost of having to travel to the area that contains the traps and then back home again from a more centralised residency, not only significantly more costly and onerous, but also a visitation rather than custodianship.
A seemingly relentless anti-community campaign is being waged through various fund-raising bodies from as far -away as Sydney, NSW – contending that the integrity of the outstanding and precious ecosystems between the Daintree River and Cape Tribulation, remain threatened by a lack of coordinated planning and funding support. Dishonest denigration of Daintree Rainforest inhabitants, to promote fund-raising for southern foundations to acquire Daintree Rainforest properties, does not change the property’s tenure, nor does it alter the strident conservation mechanisms that are already in place. It does, however, antagonise resident landholders and their custodial communities, further widening the rift that already exists between this caretaker community, with its undisputed conservation management responsibilities, and outside organsiations that purport to champion community conservation.
The most cost-effective conservation management of this irreplaceable ecosystem is well and truly carried out at the sole expense of the resident community of the freehold allotments, under voluntary and vigilent custodianship. Indeed, there is no other freehold property in Australia that is less environmentally ‘unfettered’. That is not to say that minimising the increase in settlement potential is an unworthy pursuit and encouraging donations for the protection of the cultural and natural heritage, as defined in Article 17 of the World Heritage Convention, is certainly warranted, but how such an objective is achieved needs to ensure that the custodial community is provided with the maximum possible support and the minimum costs of implementing its own solutions to the problems of achieving world-leading custodial excellence.
A collaborative conservation management strategy will provide better acceptance by the community, traditional owners, government, non-government organisations and management agencies. The last comprehensive management strategy – The Daintree Futures Study 2000 – had some merit and was wholly endorsed by the Wet Tropics Ministerial Council, but only fragments of the recommendations were implemented through opportunistic ‘cherry-picking’ that served an anti-community agenda, whilst all of the important recommendations that sought to bring the community towards world-class custodianship, were ignored.
Daintree Rainforest Foundation Ltd has been registered by the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission and successfully entered onto the Register of Environmental Organisations. Donations made to the Daintree Rainforest Fund support the Daintree Rainforest community custodianship and are eligible for a tax deduction under the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997.