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Issue 15, 3 August to 16 August 2015

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Events This Fortnight:

Wed 19 August
Social and Topics of Interest Evening with the Australian Antarctic Division

Sat 22 August
Vegetation Management Group at Boombana and Jollys Lookout

Upcoming Events:

Sat 29 August
Mt Maroon Day Walk

Mon 31 August
Capricorn Coast 2015 Extended Bird Activity

Sun 6 September
Daves Creek Wildflower Walk

Wed 23 September
Social Walk to White Rock

Other Calendar Dates:

24-30 August
Keep Australia Beautiful Week

National Biodiversity Month

1 September
National Wattle Day

7 September
Threatened Species Day

13 September
National Bilby Day

World Ranger Day, Lamington National Park 100th birthday, and expansion of the World Heritage-listed park.
Friday 31st July was World Ranger Day and NPAQ was able to acknowledge the pivotal and foundation role that QPWS Rangers play in protecting our national parks and their amazing landscapes and wildlife.  World Ranger Day commemorates rangers killed or injured in the line of duty, and celebrates the work rangers do to protect the world’s natural and cultural treasures.

On the same day, NPAQ and over 100 other guests attended the Lamington National Park 100th birthday celebration.  To add to the excitement, everyone at the celebration got a lovely surprise when National Parks Minister Steven Miles announced a 586 hectare expansion of Lamington National Park, giving the rugged World Heritage-listed park a total area of more than 21,000 hectares!

Wild Earth Coastal High 50 event in Lamington National Park
The Coastal High event in September has recently been permitted and in response to the numerous concerns raised the QPWS have noted:
  • The course uses The Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk, an existing established walking track and any disturbance to species caused by runners is not expected to be significantly greater than that of a bushwalker.
  • The Coastal High 50 participant numbers have been reduced to 220 runners using a staggered start.  This is consistent with Lamington Classic event where 100 runners are permitted on the Border Track with a return trip, equating to around 200 runners impacting on the track.
  • Spectator numbers are also limited and excluded from sensitive areas including the Antarctic Beech Special Management Area and Egg Rock.
  • Participants are to remain on the track at all times and the need to overtake is greatly reduced due to the staged starting procedure with the fastest runners leaving first.
  • QPWS has granted exclusive use of the car park only from 6:30am to 7:00am to enable the pack to spread prior to entering the Border track.
  • Runners will cover approximately 800m prior to entering the track thus minimising potential overcrowding and overtaking.
  • The event will not require exclusive use of the walking track and the proponent’s code of conduct for participants must instruct runners to give way to other users of the track.
  • The proponent will fund an independent environmental impact assessment to be undertaken pre and post event with terms set by QPWS to inform management actions into the future.
  • QPWS also has the right to recover costs from the proponent associated with any repair and recovery efforts for damaged areas.
  • Participants will be required to follow the Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walks minimal impact guidelines which include pathogen hygiene and appropriate bush-toileting practices.
  • The proponent will fund all QPWS rangers present on the day of the event.
 NPAQ wishes to thank QPWS for communicating these points in detail.  Notwithstanding the points above, NPAQ believes these types of events do not have a place in high value national parks such as Lamington.  Mass participation events are not suitable for tracks which are essentially designed for single file walking, nor are they readily conducive to overtaking at speed.  Other protected areas have the infrastructure - fire trails/roads or wide hard surface trails - for these types of events.

Plan to cull two million feral cats
Australia's first Threatened Species Commissioner, Gregory Andrews, has released the Federal Government's feral cat management plan, which seeks to remove two million feral cats over the next five years in an attempt to save 20 threatened mammals, including bilbies, numbats and bandicoots. 

High conservation areas equating to 12 million hectares of land - including national parks, defence land and peninsula areas - will be targeted with a massive baiting program.   Exact locations will be determined after consultation with experts, and other programs within the plan may include the trialling of a new pain-free bait called Curiosity, using trained guardian dogs, grooming traps, and a ‘feral cat scan’ app for people to report sightings. 

The Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC) will also manage a new 8,000 hectare cat-free mainland enclosure at Astrebla Downs National Park in western Queensland as one of 10 new enclosures planned for the country.  The AWC is also researching how feral cats move and hunt by using radio collars and cat-cams.

The feral cat management plan will also seek to contain and reduce the roaming of domestic cats close to identified areas of conservation significance.  The plan says the Government will seek public support for expanded "24-hour containment requirements for domestic cats".

It has been estimated that Australia has 20 million feral cats killing 80 million to 100 million native animals every night.

Family and friends to give thanks for Felicity Wishart
Please join family and friends to celebrate and give thanks for the life of leading Australian conservationist, Felicity Wishart, on Sunday 9 August at the Victoria Park Golf Course, Herston, Brisbane from 4pm for a 4:30pm start until 10pm.

For more information please contact Gemma on 07 3846 6777 or 0423 044 431.

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