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Three outstanding Australian conservation programs


 
Creative Conservation in action: innovative and practical    
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This 30 minute research documentary showcases three outstanding Australian conservation programs. Each built on detailed understanding of the natural behaviours of the wildlife to develop a practical innovative approach. The presenters have drawn on their first hand experiences as leaders in each of the programs.

"These stories of remarkable successes in conservation are outstanding examples of what can be achieved by throwing out the traditional rule book and rethinking how even dauntingly complex projects can be undertaken. It’s all about understanding the lives of real animals, their day-to-day behaviour and ecology, and matching this to the problems they face. Whether it is realising that quolls can learn from eating a bad meal, that some birds don't like flying in the open or that Tasmania can be replicated on the Australian mainland, these three projects are wonderful examples of innovation and hard-won knowledge. What is especially inspiring is that the projects are described by the very people engaged in the research; their dedication, enthusiasm and vision shines through. These are stories we all need to see and share."
                                                                               Dr Monica Awasthy, Macquarie University

Taking Cane Toads off the menu for an imperilled native predator: taste aversion training for Northern Quolls.
Dr Jonathan Webb and Teigan Cremona, School of Life Sciences UTS
Those of you who have had food poisoning probably remember feeling queasy just thinking about the meal that made you ill. Indeed, if we are unlucky enough to experience food poisoning as a child, we often avoid eating the food that made us sick, for the rest of our lives. Scientists have taken advantage of this taste aversion learning to teach Northern Quolls not to eat toxic Cane Toads. Remarkably, trained ‘toad smart’ quolls can not only co-exist with cane toads, but mothers may also transmit their avoidance of cane toads to their offspring.

Over the top fauna crossing complex: reuniting divided wildlife populations in Karawatha Forest.
Professor Darryl Jones Griffith School of Environment, Griffith UniversityRoads not only kill large numbers of animals, they also prevent many species from moving from only one piece of habitat to another. Structures like that at Compton Road in Brisbane have been spectacularly successful in reconnecting populations of mammals, reptiles, frogs and small birds across a very busy road
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Out of the Ark: wild with breeding success for Tasmanian Devils. Tim Faulker General Manager Australian Reptile Park and Devil ArkTasmanian Devils are predicted to be extinct in Tasmania within 20 years from the highly infections, incurable and always fatal Devil Facial Tumour disease. The ingenious Devil Ark breeding program developed a substitute Tasmania-like environment on the mainland. Here, healthy devils live and breed as a wild population. This successful approach is building a strong population of healthy animals for return to Tasmania when the inevitable health solution will be found.

 
“The three research programs featured in this documentary demonstrate that wildlife conservation can be achieved through innovative, practical approaches that have local community support. In each case, it has obviously taken dogged determination, enthusiasm and hard work of those involved, to not only inspire the projects, but to keep them on track and expanding. For each, while the outcome was something of a gamble, the remarkable success achieved proved to be far greater than expected. The documentary takes viewers through some inspirational conservation research, presented in a way that should be attractive for a broad audience and not just specialised science circles. The aim is to bring the narrative to the wide community and attracting interest and increasing understanding about conservation of our wildlife.
The stories are entertaining and engaging, and presented by actual team members from each program.
Great research and fantastic viewing!”  

Professor Paul Ehrlich         Distinguished Professor Graham Pyke
Stanford-based Millennium Alliance for Humanity & the Biosphere (MAHB.stanford.edu), in partnership with UTS-based Sustainability Central (sustainabilitycentral.com.au)

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