birding-aus Re: Fiordland Penguin, thylacines and panthers

Subject: birding-aus Re: Fiordland Penguin, thylacines and panthers
From: "Peter Menkhorst"<>
Date: Fri, 16 Jul 1999 10:28:02 +1000
Russell sought further info on the Fiordland Penguin found at Moonlight
Head, w of Cape Otway. There's not a lot to add to what was in the papers.
It was found on 2 July [I think], alive but in poor condition on the beach.
The finder took it to a Wildlife Shelter in Marengo but it died that same
day. The local Flora and Fauna Planner with the Department of Natural
Resources and Environment, Phillip du Guesclin, made a preliminary
identification of Fiordland Penguin and then sent the carcass to Peter Dann
and co. at the Phillip Is. Penguin Parade for confirmation. No doubt it
will be delivered to Museum Victoria in due course. There are about 35
records of Fiordlands on the Atlas of Victorian Wildlife database, so its
not that unusual.

Following the publicity, a resident of the Apollo Bay area claimed to have
seen another beachwashed 'yellow eye-browed' penguin somewhere down that
way. She was going to walk the beach again to see if it was still there,
but I haven't heard the outcome. Hence the request for people to inform NRE
of any other specimens - these wandering birds are often not alone.

Regarding unidentified predators in South Gippsland. These reports have
been coming in for years and a few individuals have decided to chase fame
and glory by putting about completely unsubstantiated rumours of thylacines
and/or pumas. They never produce any convincing evidence such as a scat
from which grooming hairs could be extracted, clear unambiguous
photographs, tufts of hair from a barbed wire fence, remains of a
road-killed animal etc. Indeed, a Melbourne TV current affairs program made
fools of themselves earlier this year by putting to air with great fanfare,
a video of a fox running across some rough pasture. That the animal was a
fox was agreed by all fox experts I talked to. That it was not a thylacine
was confirmed by the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife and Tas Museum thylacine

Amongst the records of the Acclimatisation Society of Victoria there is no
suggestion that thylacines were ever introduced to Wilsons Promontory or
anywhere else. Can we please not do anything on Birding Aus to promulgate
these crazy UFO reports.

Peter Menkhorst
Senior Wildlife Policy Officer
Flora and Fauna Branch
Dept of Natural Resources and Environment

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