If you thought forking out for over-priced flowers was enough to contend with on Valentines Day, then spare a thought for fellow lovers in the wild, who have to work much harder to keep their sweethearts happy.
Take satin bowerbirds for instance, who bring a whole new meaning to the saying, ‘something borrowed, something blue’.
Male bowerbirds create spectacular mosaics by foraging for anything and everything blue – flowers, berries, feathers, Freddo frog wrappers – and protecting their stash from competing males. The best artwork, combined with the best dancing (a criteria shared by discerning females of many species), wins. But before you get googling for exhibition openings and salsa classes, it’s worth noting what humpbacks whales, the supposed ‘gentle giants’ of the ocean, get up to. These guys slam their 40-tonne bodies into one another, often for hours and sometimes fatally, until just the victor is left swimming.
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In 2008, the Queensland Labor Government banned shotgunning flying foxes in orchards in response to the Queensland Animal Welfare Advisory Committee judging that shotguns weren’t a humane killing method. The Beattie Government banned duck shooting for the same reason in 2005.
In response, Campbell Newman promised before the last election to reintroduce shotguns in orchards. Why should the pig doggers have all the fun? But there was a legislative requirement that control measures be humane. What to do? Too easy. Get rid of the requirement for humaneness.
As of last Friday, you can now cripple and wound flying foxes without any risk of prosecution for cruelty. Instead there will be a code of practice. This is a familiar trick. Any time you want to do something cruel to an animal, have it put in a code of practice along with a general provision defining all actions done under a code of practice to be outside the welfare jurisdiction. This prevents any uppity RSPCA inspector applying anti-cruelty legislation where it’s not bloody welcome.
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Life was not meant to be easy for cassowaries.
I am writing this as I enjoy an escape at my in-laws hideaway retreat in the middle of a rainforest in Far North Queensland. It’s raining.
Heavy tropical rain is best experienced in a dense rainforest setting. It is a unique form of entertainment for a city slicker - especially when many of the other trappings of modern city life are non-existent. There is no mobile phone coverage, no town water - just a bore - a sub-soil waste management distribution system and very poor and infrequent radio reception even with an aerial. My link to the outside world is a satellite broadband set-up for internet - no television.
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Political correctness rules our lives and while I’m all for equal opportunity, why not extend it to some of the creatures that share our great country?
Why is it considered acceptable for one or two species to regularly claim human lives, while another is hunted down and killed in retribution? Or a whole colony culled, after what might be little more than a nip?
If you are unlucky enough to be eaten or bitten in the sea, you are intruding, you knowingly took the risk and the chances are very high that the protected predator responsible will be allowed to swim off in search of its next feed.
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