Archive for May, 2011
Described by author Mark Moffett as “A Global Safari with a Cast of Trillions” this book will keep you entranced as you learn about complex societies in the ant world and admire the photography and scientific knowledge of the famous Doctor Bugs.
Look first at the handsome hero on the front cover of the book. It is a Cooper Creek Wilderness Green Tree Ant defying the big giants who came to collect information for a National Geographic documentary.
Drummer Ants, as they are known colloquially, are Daintree Rainforest inhabitants with a generally passive disposition. Having occupied this ancient landscape since a time immemorial, they forage with a tendency to avoid confrontation and otherwise remain privately ensconced in their carton-construction nests. Also known as Rattle, Black Weaver or Dome-backed Spiny Ants (Polyrhachis australis), they are exemplary practitioners of ‘good neighbour’ policy.
After a classic battle with an enormous Spectacled Flying Fox (Pteropus conspicillatus), which prevailed in favour of the quarry, this 4-metre female Amethystine Python (Morelia amethestina) re-positioned within the same tree. The expert ambushing reptile had previously concealed itself along a near vertical branch of an introduced fruit tree, the Amazonian Soursop (Annona muricata). Its conspicuous white, ventral surface, was completely concealed in perfect conformity with the contours of the branch. The python’s head was in the perfect position, adjacent to a ripening fruit and the inevitable arrival of the frugivorous flying-fox.
Poltys laciniosus spends the daylight hours convincing the world that it is a twig. Its mimicry is brilliant! At night, it spreads its legs and swiftly builds a magnificent two-dimensional wheel-web to capture flying insects for its sustenance. Before dawn, it collects and ingests all its valuable silk and returns to its preferred placement on a branch where upon it resumes its twig pose for the following day.
An article published in “Newsport” Port Douglas Online News on Tuesday 15 March 2011 entitled “Eco-librium – Ever heard of a Striped Possum?” was written by Garry Sullivan, General Manager of Wildlife Habitat. It provoked a critical response from “Brett” and a reply from Garry that included, “Not once have I encouraged people to visit our park via this article or used it as a marketing tool.”
This unexpected statement got me thinking about the commercial exploitation of wildlife. This is what Cooper Creek Wilderness and Wildlife Habitat share in common. We present Nature in different ways and rely on visitors with interests in wildlife and rainforest to pay for the privilege of seeing and learning about Nature. Garry and Brett have put forward legitimate points of view that have opened up a debate that we need to have.