Camera Traps – January 2021 accrued 153-cassowaries, 8-dingoes and 282-feral pigs. Against the cumulative monthly average, cassowary numbers were 237% up, dingoes were 81% down and feral-pigs were 231% up. Against January 2020, cassowaries were 130%-up, dingoes were even and feral-pig numbers grew by 170%.
The recent decision to collect data twice-per-month avoided the chance of a camera’s zero-monthly-return, but it also revealed 5-cameras with zero-data for a fortnight each.
From this camera collection’s data-set, only one cassowary chick survived from 2020’s breeding cycle. Across January, adult cassowary interactions indicate an enthusiastic resumption of breeding behaviour, which may account for the increased camera-count.
There were 99-fewer dingo sightings this month than the month before. This is undoubtedly linked to the five half-monthly camera malfunctions, but then again, the low number was exactly the same as January, 2020.
Upon posting the 2020 Annual Report, I was surprised by the outpouring of concern for the dingoes, given their status in the State of Queensland, which is defined as both ‘wildlife’ and ‘native wildlife’ under the Nature Conservation Act 1992 and a natural resource within Protected Areas such as National Parks. On almost all other forms of land-tenure within Queensland, the dingo is a restricted invasive animal requiring ameliorating management under the Biosecurity Act 2014, but of even greater concern, the Biosecurity Official I spoke with questioned whether the canids documented throughout this project were dingoes at all and not wild-dogs – Canis lupus familiaris or Canis familiaris dingo – which are, in Queensland, restricted invasive animals requiring ameliorating management, regardless of tenure.
To reassure the readership of this report, all the dingoes photographed and videoed within this Daintree Rainforest Camera Trap Project are both World Heritage and Protected Area inhabitants and are therefore protected as native species and important predators, unless they reveal themselves to be genetically impure, but to what precise degree of impurity I could not obtain a definitive answer. If they transgress south of Cooper Creek, however, they had better watch out, for they instantly become restricted invasive animals requiring amelioration. Hopefully Queensland dingoes are familiar with the doctrine of tenure that underpins Land Law in Australia.
Daintree Rainforest Foundation Ltd., is resolved to do what ever it can to help strengthen the cassowary population, for their vital importance to oldest surviving rainforest in the world. It is incredible that this keystone species, federally-declared with an Endangered Species status and inscribed within what has been formally ranked as the second-most irreplaceable World Heritage property currently included on the World Heritage-list, suffers from the pestilent proliferation of so many feral pigs. As our potential to assist is limited by funding, we hereby invite donations under our Australian Charities and Not-for-profit registration.