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No. 50
"Help there's a snake in my garden!!" – a few phone calls this week are a suitable reminder of warmer and drier weather to come. So tidy up the garden, target rodent pests (with traps and not baits) and be ready for the summer. Snakes and other reptiles emerge from their winter rest or brumation (the term used by many herpetologists) and start to become active for the long season ahead.

As ectothermic creatures they need to heat up, preferring to bask in the warm sunshine before heading off to seek food and shelter. A good clean up (remove leaf litter, rubbish and sheet metal, keep grass short) should mean they are less likely to find your garden an attractive place to live in and hunt for food.

Tiger snake (Notechis scutatus). Photo: Karl Monaghan Photography / Animal Ark
For the next few newsletters I thought I would do a small piece on wildlife conservationists. This edition I have chosen Dr Jane Goodall, conservationist and chimpanzee expert. Our Keely knows her well and is a Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) volunteer with her foundation, more below...
Keely my right hand wildlife educator and Jenny my wife have been scheduling our upcoming season of Snake Avoidance training. Around the south west of WA we will go soon, resting up at Airbnb and the odd winery and with heaters, coolers, vivariums, snakes and a van full of equipment we are expecting our busiest year to date. Hope to see some of you again soon, somewhere in WA on our travels!

David Manning - Snake avoidance training. Photo: Animal Ark
A recent road trip to Geraldton, 424km north of Perth, involved us offering multiple services over three days. On the first day we were delivering snake avoidance training for dogs to discourage them from going near snakes.

On the second day we were involved with photographer Karl Monaghan at his studios shooting our reptiles – with camera not gun. It was great fun and kindly Karl has supplied us with much improved images for the website. We photographed our snake catching equipment, several pythons and a variety of venomous snakes. We even found time to shoot a tarantula and a scorpion as well. I just love the death adder and tiger snake images and admire Karl's creative approach, using the reflective black surface was a masterstroke. Ably assisted by Keely and also in attendance was Karl's friend Ken Lawson, a macro photography specialist. It was for me anyway a break from our normal routine and a chance to admire the sheer beauty of some of the world's most fascinating reptiles.

On the third day we were based at Waggrakine Primary School teaching some teachers and school staff how to safely relocate snakes. Interestingly there are two possible meanings of the name Waggrakine: it is an aboriginal word meaning either “place of snakes” or a “place of shelter”. Seeing as how one teacher reported that she had a young gwardar (venomous brown snake) fall from the ceiling onto her head during a lesson, I think place of snakes is highly appropriate.

Death adder (Acanthophis antarcticus). Photo: Karl Monaghan Photography / Animal Ark

Woma python (Aspidites ramsayi). Photo: Ken Lawson / Animal Ark.

Sharks, the fearsome predator of the oceans: hunters, killer carnivores, and mean meat-eating machines. Well maybe not – at least one species is omnivorous. Yes that's right, and it eats seagrass.

The Bonnethead shark (Sphyrna tiburo) has been observed munching on seagrass and this behaviour has now been studied to understand more.

Bonnethead shark (Sphyrna tiburo). Photo: Tony Hisgett, Wikimedia Commons
Initially scientists thought it was occasional behaviour by the odd shark or maybe incidental consumption of the seagrass whilst catching prey. The assumption being that the vegetation is of little nutritional significance or benefit to the sharks. Now it is realized some 60% of the diet (food intake) of this species is vegetation. Therefore it is possible if not highly likely that other species also consume plant material as part of a balanced diet.

Sharks, at least some of them may turn out not to be quite the voracious predator of our imagination. Bonnethead sharks are closely related to hammerhead sharks and are found in waters around the Americas.

Dr Jane Goodall
Valerie Jane Morris-Goodall was born in London, England on the 3rd of April 1934. Her mother Vanne was an author and father, Mortimer, an engineer. Jane's love for chimps began at only 1 years old when her father gave her a toy chimpanzee to celebrate the birth of a baby chimpanzee at London Zoo. Jane named her toy chimp Jubilee and to this day carries him with her on her travels.

Jane's family could not afford university so after graduating high school she was sent off to secretary school. Jane worked for a number of years as a secretary but always had Africa at the back of her mind. In 1956 Jane was invited to Kenya to stay at a friend's farm. This was her opportunity to fulfil her Africa dream, so Jane quit her secretary job to move back home to work as a waitress to save for a one-way boat ticket to Kenya.

In 1957 Jane was off on the first of what was to be many trips to Africa. It was on this trip that she met Dr Louis S B Leakey, a famous anthropologist and palaeontologist. Dr Leakey was so impressed with Jane's knowledge and passion for Africa and chimps that he hired her as his assistant; this marked the beginning of Dr Jane's revolutionary discoveries.

Jane's desire to work in Africa studying wild populations of chimpanzees was not accepted by British authorities, as it was unheard of for a woman to venture into the African wilderness on her own. But after much persistence and Jane's mother agreeing to accompany her, her proposal was finally accepted.

In the summer of 1960, 26-year-old Jane Goodall arrived on the shore of Lake Tanganyika in East Africa to study the area's wild chimpanzee population. Jane followed the chimps for months and it was on November 4th of that year that Jane made her most important discovery. Jane observed David Greybeard (one of the chimps she had named, something that science at the time did not widely accept) making a tool to extract termites out of a mound. This single observation went on to change the world's definition of man ‘the tool maker'.

"Now we must redefine tool, redefine Man, or accept chimpanzees as humans."
- Dr Louis S. B Leakey.

Fast forward many years, discoveries, National Geographic features, books, photos and degrees, Dr Jane travels the world over 300 days of the year spreading her messages of conservation, peace and reasons for hope.

Dr Jane's single biggest focus today is Roots & Shoots, a youth led action program that was formed in 1991 by 16 Tanzanian students. Roots & Shoots aims to empower and equip our youth so that they go on to be active global citizens with a love and understanding of our shared environment. More at the Jane Goodall Institute (

"Every individual matters. Every individual has a role to play. Every individual makes a difference."
- Dame Jane Morris-Goodall DBE

by Keely Boston-Budd

Keely and Jane Goodall, 2017. Photo: Keely Boston-Budd

Jane Goodall and David Graybeard. Photo credit: Hugo van Lawick, Courtesy Jane Goodall Institute

Jane Goodall in Perth WA. Photo: Keely Boston-Budd

Busy Mombasa port in Kenya is a notorious route for wildlife traffickers attempting to export goods such as rhino horn and ivory. Catching wildlife smugglers is an ongoing challenge for the authorities in Kenya. It is very hard to search every shipping container at a port – it takes a great deal of time, even for highly trained detection dogs to visit the sheer number of containers. Each one must be opened to allow sniffer dogs any chance to detect any tusks, horns and animal pelts that might be hidden inside. However, a fascinating new approach is being used, it's called RASCO (Remote Air Sampling for Canine Olfaction). Essentially air samples from a shipping container are put through a filter. Detection dogs can then smell check the filter in only a few seconds and determine if anything suspect is inside. This new method is collaboration between World Wildlife Fund, the wildlife trade-monitoring group TRAFFIC and the Kenya Wildlife Service.

It simply amazes me just how phenomenal and underutilized canine olfactory abilities are. It also reminds me how approaches like this underline the valuable and versatile service dogs can provide humanity.

Statistics show some 30,000 elephants were killed in Africa alone last year for their tusks. A species that is rapidly approaching the brink of extinction in the wild if we don't act fast. Let's hope RASCO is successful and reduces (through seizures) the appalling and murderous trade in horns, tusks and other trafficked wildlife.

Pallet of seized raw ivory. Photo: USFWS, Wikimedia Commons
Must offer something for the 50th newsletter to our valued readers. How about a huge discount on a pair of our new Snakebite gaiters. Choice of tan or camouflage pattern. Offer runs until the end of November.

Usually $147. Now only $99 inc GST.

Buy online at or telephone your order 08 9243 3044.

Animal Ark snakebite protection: Gaiters, Camo Animal Ark snakebite protection: Gaiters, Tan
Animal in Focus: Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes)
You and I are 98% Chimpanzee! We are also bizarrely 70% slug and 50% banana.

Out of the 5 great apes, chimps are our closest living relatives, sharing over 98% of our genetic makeup. Humans and chimps are thought to share a common ancestor who lived somewhere between 4 and 8 million years ago. A fully-grown chimp can weigh around 65kg and has the strength of 6 men!

They are highly intelligent animals that like humans communicate with the aid of hand gestures and facial expressions. Chimps are very social animals living in communities of at least several dozen individuals. These complex social structures are known as fission-fusion societies.

Chimpanzees are one of the very few animals in the world that use tools to eat their food, as discovered by our conservationist in feature, Dr Jane Goodall.

Chimpanzees are found spread across from Southern Senegal, over and across to the forested belt north of the Congo River, over to Western Uganda and Western Tanzania. Gombe National Park in Tanzania is the first park in Africa that was specifically designed to care for chimpanzees.

Chimps normally walk on all fours (knuckle-walking) but they can also stand and walk upright. It's easy to see why chimps are known as ‘man of the trees' when you watch them swing from branch to branch so effortlessly.

Chimps nest up in trees where they also do most of their eating. They are generally fruit and plant eaters, but also eat many insects, eggs, and meat. Like humans, they have an extremely varied diet that includes hundreds of food types.

Females typically give birth to a single infant that stays with her until the age of 2. Females reach reproductive age at around 13 years old and males at around 16 years of age. There is no distinct breeding season for chimps so infants can be found all year round.

The general chimpanzee populations is decreasing, this has been attributed to 2 main factors.

Challenges facing Chimpanzees today:

Losing their habitat: The number of chimps in the wild is steadily decreasing. One of the main causes is the alarming rate at which forests are cut down for farming, settlements, and other activities.

Bush meat: While bush meat has always been a popular source of dietary protein for local communities, the scale of hunting has increased dramatically in recent decades with the activity becoming heavily commercialized.

by Keely Boston-Budd

Adult common chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) with young, Gombe Stream National Park. Photo: Ikiwaner, Wikimedia Commons

Young chimpanzees from Jane Goodall sanctuary of Tchimpounga Congo Brazzaville. Photo: Delphine Bruyere, Wikimedia Commons

Upcoming Courses and Events
Snake Avoidance Training for Dogs
Saturday 6 October – Perth Hills, Parkerville - FULL
Tuesday 9 October – Serpentine WA - FULL
Wednesday 17 October – Oakford WA
Saturday 13 October - Harradine's Vets, Bunbury
Sunday 14 October - Harradine's Vets, Bunbury
Sunday 21 October – Albany WA
Monday 22 October – Albany WA
Tuesday 23 October – Kudardup, Augusta WA
Wednesday 24 October – Kudardup, Augusta WA
Thursday 25 October – Nannup WA
Friday 26 October – Nannup WA
Saturday 27 October - Nannup WA
Saturday 3 November – Rockingham
Sunday 4 November – Harvey WA
Friday 9 November – Margaret River WA
Saturday 10 November – Margaret River WA
Thursday 15 November – North Beach, Perth
Saturday 17 November – Perth Hills, Sawyers Valley
Saturday 24 November – Toodyay, WA
Saturday 1 December – Dawesville, Mandurah WA
Saturday 15 December – North Beach, Perth
Saturday 12 January 2019 – North Beach, Perth
Saturday 9 February 2019 – North Beach, Perth

Venomous Snake Handling Course
DBCA Parks and Wildlife Service approved for Regulation 17 Reptile Removalists Licence
Friday 5 October – North Beach, Perth - FULL
Thursday 18 October – North Beach, Perth
Friday 19 October – North Beach, Perth
Wednesday 31 October – North Beach, Perth
Friday 16 November – North Beach, Perth
Friday 30 November – North Beach, Perth
Saturday 8 December – North Beach, Perth
Friday 14 December – North Beach, Perth
Thursday 10 January 2019 – North Beach, Perth
Tuesday 22 January 2019 – North Beach, Perth
Friday 8 February 2019 – North Beach, Perth
Tuesday 19 February 2019 – North Beach, Perth

Fauna Handling Course
Thursday 4 October - North Beach, Perth
Thursday 7 February 2019 – 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:

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

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

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