Assistance is being offered to Bruny Islanders to trap stray cats on private land. By arrangement, traps can be borrowed and cats taken to the Cat Facility at Alonnah for assessment and care. We will particularly welcome help in our priority areas which include North Bruny and the Simpsons Bay, Alonnah and Adventure Bay areas.
If you are trapping feral cats in more remote areas then Conrad Daniels from Bruny Farming (ph 0409 804 340) can assist in their management.
Please remember that there is now a ban on the feeding of stray cats.This is an important part of the Bruny Island Cat By-law. Feeding stray cats can result in dense populations of unowned cats. So if you see any stray cat, please get in touch and we can arrange to trap and assess them. This is the best way to protect their welfare and to manage their numbers and impact.
Federal funds will soon be released to continue the fantastic work on controlling the impacts of feral cats on Bruny.
Whilst the release of funding has been slow, that has not stopped Tonia Cochran and her team at Inala from continuing to trap feral cats, with four being caught in autumn 2020.
Late autumn through winter is the peak of the trapping season, and Conrad Daniels and his team at Bruny Farming can start working the highest impacted areas of the Neck and Cape Queen Elizabeth bird colonies.
They are also available to deal with feral cats elsewhere, so please contact Conrad on 0409 804 340 to seek help.
The new three year project will be coordinated through NRM South. Kaylene Allan from Kingborough Council, who has steered this project for the last four years, will coordinate community engagement in the program and the management of domestic and stray cats.
Cyril Scomparin from the University of Tasmania is currently exploring how the different carnivores – the native eastern quoll and the introduced cat and black rat, interact, and what this may mean for cat control.
Multi-faceted and firmly based in science, this program leads the world in understanding how, and if, feral cat eradication on a large, populated island may proceed.
It is supported by a huge range of organizations, including the local businesses Pennicott Wilderness Journeys, Bruny Island Coastal retreats, and of course BIEN.
Sourced largely from automated analysis of satellite imagery, the report collated by the Centre for Water and Landscape Dynamics at the Australian National University draws together ground- and satellite data with environmental prediction models.
Using statistical areas (from the ABS) as the reporting region, this approach compares remote data with the averages since the turn of the century (2000).
Maybe surprisingly, the region, despite this precipitous drop, compares well with the nation’s average score of 0.8/10 – and this is prior to the calamities experienced by across the eastern seaboard on the 2019 bushfires, floods and droughts.
This should be a wake-up call for policy-makers, that our cherished environment is doing so badly.
Yet whilst world-wide emergency actions are precipitated by threats to human health of the Covid 19 pandemic, only persisently luke-warm responses are experienced to the much slower, but potentially more widespread lethality of global climate change, extinction and habitat loss.
Citizen scientists monitoring roadkill on Bruny roads over the past 7 months met with researcher Bruce Englefield, presenting the evidence of real hotspots where high rates of vehicle collisions resulted in many deaths.
With kill rates centred in south Bruny, it looks as though
the more you look, the more you find.
Bruce outlined the next phase of his roadkill research project,
seeing three years of monitoring to work out whether virtual fencing could stem
Presently, the virtual fence – a series of electronic devices placed along sections of road activated by headlights of approaching vehicles – emits flashing lights and single frequency beeps that require better adaptation to the ‘alarm response’ of the local critters, thus one line of the investigation is for more closely tailored options.
Avoiding animals on the road is pretty easy but rumour has
it that some drivers actively target animals and get some form of gratification
if they hit one.
Volunteers involved in this aspect of the Bruny Environmental
accounts simply photograph and upload roadkill found to the Roadkill App. with the
science being done in the background.
Carcasses are taken off the road to reduce secondary kill and pouches
checked for infants.
Some vollies have reported difficultly in focusing on the
maimed animals and are fervently hoping that people will take more care of animals
on the road, respecting other life.
Extending over three years, adaptations to the monitoring
system and to the virtual fencing are expected to give better results.
Set on Bruny Island as a neat microcosm of Australia, and with a single electricity cable supplying the research area, the CONSORT Battery Trial researched how ‘prosumers’ could contribute to a smarter future by sharing household scale solar electricity generation and battery storage with the entire network.
‘Prosumers’ both produce electricity, and consume it. Trial participants were subsidized to install rooftop solar panels paired with batteries and controllers, whilst connecting to both the grid and to the internet.
Funded by ARENA, done by three universities, the local electricity network and a company specializing in network aware solar/battery controllers, the trial looked at:
how can and why do people chose to participate in distributed solutions to electricity supply?
how can this participation be best coordinated (refining and testing algorithms to reduce peak load on electricity networks )?
how can prosumers be best paid for distributed solutions?
The final report for the trial illuminated these questions, finding that not all people wanted to be part of a wider societal energy solution and further, that using price signals to change behavior was not universally successful.
Probably the biggest successes for the trial was in testing algorithms to orchestrate how the PV/battery combos worked together to help manage the network’s peak loads. The trail-installed PV/battery systems totalled 128kW (PV) and 333 kWh (in batteries).
On Bruny, the single cable supplying most of the island is old and tired, especially when high loads heat it up, such as short holidays when many people flock to Bruny for a quick break.
To deal with these big loads, TasNetworks runs a diesel generator, producing greenhouse gas emissions in Tasmania’s otherwise largely renewable system.
Results show an overall 33% reduction in diesel use and a lack of need for the generator on 24 days when it would normally have been used – a fantastic feat given the rather small percentage of installed system versus overall demand!
Algorithms developed within universities were trialed and adapted using real-time conditions. These work on both predicting demand and in recompensing prosumers for their participation.
Great progress continues with the cat management project, with cat numbers declining, new management approaches being trialed, Bruny Farming taking a major role, and support from the University of Tasmania and the Commonwealth Government continuing.
success in removing both feral and stray cats (122 cats all up!)
but evidence of rapid re-colonisation following removal
few cats north of Great Bay
many cats at the Neck and Whalebone shearwater and little penguin colonies
greatly increased activity at colonies during breeding season
widespread although low density of cats in the wetter forests of Southern Bruny
differences in the success of baits across the different habitats
limited success in removing ‘trap-shy’ cats
Communtiy engagement, particularly with current cat owners has been high, with Bruny Farming taking a lead role in this, and other activities. This enables a cooperative and harmonious approach, which in turn leads to success in reducing the impact of cats on Bruny’s wildlife.
The basic idea is very simple. Just as we have economic accounts for businesses, farms, councils, states and the nation, so we’d like to build environmental accounts for how we are doing with rivers, forests, beaches and wildlife that can be aggregated up to the national level.
Doing this, however, is more complex than the simple idea.
Bruny is a perfect test-bed to try ideas out: it is small, but diverse, and as the Bruny Life survey showed, over 90% of residents are passionate about keeping our environment in good condition.
There is an old saying: “you cannot manage what you cannot measure” and environmental accounts attempt to do just that: measure the environment.
We have so far spoken with the local Natural Resource Management body NRM South, to most of the community groups on Bruny, to Tasmanian Land Conservancy and to the University of Tasmania.
Interest is certainly there, and we have a meeting with various government bodies, the university and tourist operators coming up in April 2019, where we will try to develop a process to move from ideas to action.
With roots in 2016, a small band of interested people are developing an approach to accounting across environmental, social and economic indicators for Bruny Island.
Bruny Life , a survey funded through Kingborough Council to assess peoples’ attitudes and desires for the future of Bruny Island, recommended that such an approach be developed, and the Bruny Island Environmental Accounting proposal has been given the thumbs up from both the Bruny Island Advisory Committee and BIEN to date.
As it is critical that the island community feel ownership of the process, this will be developed over the coming months.
The proposal has also attracted interested from the University of Tasmania, where workshops have been held to assess how researchers there can best contribute to the ideas.