Invasive Bird Poll - and real threats

To: "birding-aus" <>
Subject: Invasive Bird Poll - and real threats
From: "Alan Gillanders" <>
Date: Thu, 5 May 2005 16:26:59 +1000
Andrew Taylor wrote:- "The Atherton Tableland must be near the limit of rabbit
range in northern
Queensland, if so you'd expect their density to fluctuate with weather,
disease, etc.  An increase need not indicate any adaption to rainforest.
Another possible explanation for an increase would be increases in human
vegetation modification and fragmentation."

Andrew is right of course but...

Rabbits have been on the Atherton Tablelands in low numbers for about twenty
years that I know of personally. In that time they have not so much invaded
newly modified habitats but mostly those areas which were altered some years
before their arrival. I do not think that they are truly adapted to the
rainforest yet but they may be moving in that direction. The greatest
densities are in areas where there is remnant rainforest with significant
rock levels on the surface. Many of these areas have rocks piled into the
edge of the forest as a result of adjacent land use. The adjacent land use
is also relevant as the little beasties come out of the forest to graze.
Around the Barron River crossing of the Gilies Highway many if not most of
the rabbits are black. The size of the rabbits seems to have reduced in the
last twenty years as well. I take these to be signs of adaptation but could
just as easily be from limited gene pool. Any one want to set up a study

Ferals are a real issue in this country and we are still bringing in more
potential weed species, plant and animal, but mostly plants. Micro-organisms
are invading as well. While some of these we would only stop if we stopped
all travel or had to go through a strict and lengthy quarantine. That would
stop most travel but if the government paid for it how about four months on
Christmas Island before re-entry? Perhaps not. Still a prison in even such a
wonderful place. Oh I know we have one there, it is just that I don't want
to use it.


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