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No. 34
As you probably know I get called out occasionally to rescue animals - usually snakes, although I'm never sure if I am rescuing people from snakes or snakes from people!

However, recently I received an unusual call out, the elderly Malaysian man had tried many numbers but was turned away by everyone including the RSPCA apparently (boo hiss). NAR passed him on to me and it was some surprise for me to be wrangling a Peacock or peafowl to be more precise.

Lost and sick it most certainly was, and he (yes, a male although lacking his bright tail plumage) even though it's not native was given shelter at NAR.

Alan, the caller, at 75 was grateful for its removal from his garden. Seeing the snake signs on my van he told me a bit of his surveying days in Malaysia, recounted having to deal with staff members bitten by snakes in the jungle by applying tourniquets and bleeding the bite sites.

So an interesting trip for me, interesting man and an interesting animal- sadly the peafowl didn't make it, but at least it had a medicated pain and stress free ending.

Strangely enough just before posting this I was called out to rescue another peacock, this time from a restaurant in the Swan Valley. This healthy bird is now strutting its stuff at Caversham Wildlife Park.

Peacock. Photo Animal Ark
Most scientists accept that they are extinct, forever gone, the last individual dying in Hobart Zoo in 1936. However some believe, or at least hope, that there is still a population of Thylacines (Thylacinus cynocephalus) out there in remotest Tasmania.

Wouldn't it be great to rediscover a species?

We have many ongoing extinctions to deal with in Australia and a good news story would be, well, good news. Cryptozoology is a branch of zoology not taken seriously by many, they look for the yeti and loch ness monster, creatures of myth and legend, things not scientifically recognised until a specimen is acquired. They also sometimes search for what's recently been lost, like the Tassie tiger.

Tasmanian Tigers / Thylacines (Thylacinus cynocephalus). Beaumaris Zoo, Hobart 1910. Photo wikicommons
A recent expedition to Tasmania included British cryptozoologist Mike Williams and their trip has raised hopes that they may still be alive in remotest Tasmania. The expedition collected a number of apparently reliable eyewitness accounts of recent sightings.

You never know, they may still be out there, hanging on, still with us - let's hope so.

The world's smallest armadillo, the Fairy Armadillo (Chlamyphorus truncates), is really little measuring only up to 117mm long and weighing in at a lightweight 85grams.

The flexible pink dorsal shell is attached to the top of the creature and acts as protective armour; the rest of its body is covered in white fur.

They live entirely underground and are found in the deserts and scrubby grasslands of central Argentina.

At the other extreme the Giant Armadillo (Priodontes maximus) can be 1.5m long and weighs in at over 50kg. Armadillos are placental mammals and some 21 species are found only in the Americas, particularly South America.

The Aztec word for them "ayotochtli" means turtle rabbit. They have protective leathery armour, can run fast and burrow at speed to escape predators.

Sadly if startled, one of their defensive strategies is to leap 1 metre vertically into the air bringing them into lethal contact with cars and trucks. As a result armadillos are common road kill in many parts of their range.

Pink Fairy Armadillo Chlamyphorus truncatus photo Cliff wikicommons

photo Kevin Schafer Pantanal Giant Armadillo Project

Here are some truly awesome frog images. I am a big advocate of habitat preservation as the ideal method to conserve species. It's a no brainier: secure a habitat, manage it a bit, remove feral plant and animal species and hey presto everything should go well and all the creatures from tiny frogs to larger mammals can thrive.

But in the real world, especially in developing countries like Peru and Ecuador there is little government money to assist such ideals. Indeed just like here, more money is available to cultivate the land than protect it.

Cue some popular colourful pet frogs. Enthusiasts started to breed them in situ - and ship them to Canada and the USA as pets. With some income they were then able to purchase some of the frogs habitat and pay a local family to manage it.

How I wish we could do more of that here with sustainable farming of native species as pets. It helps the local economy, helps conserve precious habitat, and guarantees, we hope, these frogs for example will never be faced with extinction.

More at

Glass Frog (Hyalinobatrachiu aureoguttatum) ventral. Photo Wikiri

Poison arrow frog blue. Photo Animal Ark

Poison arrow frog. Photo Animal Ark

I love the idea of bringing Rhinos to Australia for captive breeding. One man is trying to make it a reality.

Ray Dearlove is a retired South African living here who has founded the Australian Rhino Project and hopes to bring 6 in by 2017 and many more in the following years.

The threat to Rhinos is just massive, an unrelenting train of death as poachers go to great lengths to acquire the valuable horn for clients in Vietnam and elsewhere. Over 1,300 were killed last year alone.

South Africa has a remnant population now of only 20,000 down from the hundreds of thousands that once roamed Africa. Adult rhinos have no natural predator other than man.

Black rhino. Photo Matthew Field, wikicommons
During May and June you can get a snake catching bag with frame and clamp.

JUST $120 inc postage Australia wide (usually $165 ex post).

Phone 08 9243 3044 to order or view at our online shop

Snake catching bag with frame and clamp - available from Animal Ark
Chernobyl was a first rate nuclear disaster, but it seems to have been beneficial to wildlife especially the larger mammals that now roam the area.

In 1986 after a nuclear plant exploded in Chernobyl Ukraine an exclusion zone of some 2,600km² was established. Over 116,000 residents were eventually evacuated and the entire area is gradually being reclaimed by nature.

Grasses and forest now cover the streets and pavements where many wild animals now find sanctuary. Przewalski's horse, Eurasian lynx, moose, deer, wolves and bison are some that appear to have benefited, but contamination has led to many birth defects, and abnormalities and increases in feral cat and dog populations from abandoned pets.

Chernobyl animals adapt: Przewalski's horse, once nearly extinct. Photo Gerd Ludwig, National Geographic Creative

Of course the effects of radiation in wildlife and those residents who refused to leave is studied, but it appears that overall many species have benefited from the disaster.

Amazing what happens when humans are removed from an environment.

Animal in Focus: Bilby (Macrotis lagotis)
Like many of our native mammals the Bilby is a shy, burrowing, nocturnal omnivorous marsupial unique to Australia and under great threat of extinction. Often called the Greater Bilby as the smaller species, the Lesser Bilby, is now extinct. They are in fact a large bandicoot between 30-60cm long and have soft grey fur, huge ears and very pointed noses.

Wild Bilbies are now confined to the deserts of central Australia and some fenced managed reserves, they were once widespread and common across a range of habitats. Competition from grazing animals, man and of course our famous feral cats and foxes have greatly reduced their numbers to endangered status.

They dig and live in extensive burrows and may have multiple burrows within a ‘home range'. The burrows are sometimes shared with adults and juveniles coexisting, otherwise they appear to be quite solitary creatures by nature.

Bilbies emerge at night when it is cooler to feed on insects and their larvae, spiders, fungi, fruits, bulbs, seeds and even small animals. They do not need to drink water, obtaining moisture from the foods they eat. Bilbies breed between March and May but captive ones can breed at any time, which no doubt increases the chance of the species survival through captive breeding programmes. Unfortunately little government cash or effort goes into protecting our native species and the habitats they occupy. I doubt the environment will feature much if at all in our forthcoming election.

Bilby (Macrotis lagotis). Photo Kevin503, wikicommons

Macrotis lagotis Gould imag -wikicommons

A Bilby's pouch faces backwards so that it won't fill with dirt when digging and accommodates two young at a time. Giving birth to up 8 young a year, they are weaned from the mothers teat at about 4 months and then may share the family burrow for several more weeks fed by the foraging mother. A Bilby will reach sexual maturity at around 5 months and have an average lifespan of 7 years.
Upcoming Courses and Events
Venomous Snake Handling Course
DPaW approved for Reptile Relocator's Regulation 17 Licence
Friday 3 June 2016 - Malaga, Perth
Friday 17 June 2016 - Malaga, Perth
Friday 22 July 2016 - Malaga, Perth
Friday 5 August 2016 - Malaga, Perth
Friday 2 September 2016 - Malaga, Perth
Friday 7 October 2016 - Malaga, Perth
Friday 21 October 2016 - Albany
Friday 11 November 2016 - Malaga, Perth
Friday 2 December 2016 - Malaga, Perth

Fauna Handling Course
Thursday 2 June 2016 - Malaga, Perth

Snake Avoidance Training for Dogs
Saturday 11 June 2016 - North Beach, Perth
Saturday 6 August 2016 - North Beach, Perth
Saturday 3 September 2016 - North Beach, Perth
Saturday 15 October 2016 - North Beach, Perth
Saturday 22 October 2016 - Albany, WA
Sunday 23 October 2016 - Denmark, WA
Saturday 5 November 2016 - North Beach, Perth

Public Events
Do come along and see us. Bring your family or friends as well.
The Animal Ark Roadshow will be attending the following events:

Sunday 17 July 2016
Animal Ark Snake / Wildlife Awareness Workshop
City of Stirling Community Event
Henderson Environment Centre
Star Swamp, off Groat Street, North Beach, Perth 6020
11am - 1pm
contact City of Stirling for more information

Sunday 31 July 2016
Curtin University Open Day
Department of Environmental Biology
Kent Street, Bentley, Perth
10am - 2pm
contact Curtin University for more information about the Open Day

Sunday 28 August 2016
Animal Ark Snake / Wildlife Awareness Workshop
City of Stirling Community Event
Henderson Environment Centre
Star Swamp, off Groat Street, North Beach, Perth 6020
11am - 1pm
contact City of Stirling for more information

Wednesday 14 September 2016
Kulunga Katitjin Festival 2016
Kings Park, Perth
Schools event - contact Botanic Gardens Perth for more information

See our diary for more dates or contact us to book.

Call (08) 9243 3044, SMS 0466 688 188 or email David, Jenny or Ziggy at to book.

Courses held monthly and as required plus on-site and remote site training available.