The crown-of-thorns-starfish is a native species living throughout the Indo Pacific Region and specifically the Australian Great Barrier Reef. These creatures, named after the thick venomous spikes on their arms, find and feed on coral. The crown-of-thorns-starfish have the important job of eating fast growing coral species so the slow growing coral can maintain groups and keep up the reefs variety of corals. However, the starfishes consumption of coral isn’t the issue; Over the past few decades a series major outbreaks of these creatures has seen the decline of coral reefs for the coral is being consumed at a higher rate than the coral can grow back.
The outbreak of starfish has had and is having a major impact on the coral reefs they inhabit. These creatures are spawning and spreading by the thousands, in fact there is thought to be more than one million of these starfish actively feeding on the coral reefs throughout the Indo Pacific Region. Once the population of feeding starfish exceeds a natural number of these creatures the reef will be so badly damaged, the prospect of regrowth is an impossibility. When a crown-of-thorns-starfish outbreak occurs the reefs health and welfare is serious danger.
Fortunately, there are ways of culling the starfish in attempts of controlling the outbreaks; Scientists have recently come up with a one-shot poison that takes about 20 seconds per starfish. This is very time efficient compared to the old shot which took 6 minutes per starfish, as they had to inject inject the bell five times and every single one of the arms. The only way of removing them from the ocean requires divers to pick them up one-by-one with metal tongs, then bring them to shore for burial. Both of these process, although they appear to be simple, quick, are not effective enough when it comes to the overall management of the outbreaks. However, marine specialists and organisations are working hard to keep these outbreaks under control and ultimately prevent the outbreaks from occurring in the first place. For example, the Australian Government spend 1.4 million dollars on the culling of 60,00 crown-of-thorns-starfish located in the Great Barrier Reef.
“CRC Reef Research Centre.” Reef.crc.org.au, 2013. Web. 26 Nov 2013. <http://www.reef.crc.org.au/discover/plantsanimals/cots/>.
“Fears crown of thorns starfish plague will wreak havoc on Great Barrier Ree…: EBSCOhost.”Web.ebscohost.com, 2013. Web. 26 Nov 2013. <http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail?sid=1f27cccb-7cb1-4fbb-b41d-058f3a92408a%40sessionmgr114&vid=1&hid=120&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=anh&AN=P6S102696276613>.
In 2003 a policeman in Warwickshire, England
opened a garden shed to find a greyhound lying in there dirty, abused and
abandoned by someone. Out of an act of kindness the policeman took the dog to
Nuneaton Warwickshire Wildlife Sanctuary which looked after abandoned or and
orphaned animals in need. Geoff Grewcock (who runs the Wildlife Sanctuary) had
to goals to restore the dog to full health, and to win her trust. Luckily, both
goals were achieved and after seven long weeks she was as good as new. They
named her Jasmine and decided to start looking for an adoptive home. But Jasmine
wanted to stay at the Wildlife sanctuary, Jasmine started to welcome all new
sick or hurting animals into the sanctuary. It didn’t matter if it was a puppy,
a fox cub, or any other kind of animal for that matter. She always welcomed by
peering into the box orcage and, when possible, delivers a welcoming lick. Geoff says that “She
takes all the stress out of them, and it helps them to not only feel close to
her, but to settle into their new surroundings. She has done the same with the
fox andbadger cubs; she licks the rabbits and guinea pigs, and even lets the birds
perch on the bridge of her nose.” Jasmine became the animal sanctuary’s
resident surrogate mother. She has cared for she has cared for five fox cubs,
four badger cubs, fifteen chicks, eight guinea pigs, two stray puppies and
fifteen rabbits – and one roe deer fawn. Bramble just eleven weeks old, was
found semi-conscious in a field. When the little deer arrived at the sanctuary
Jasmine cuddled up to her to keep her warm, and then went into the full
foster-mum role. Jasmine the greyhound showers Bramble the roe deer with
affection, and makes sure she is safe. This is a true and inspiring story. Have
a think about the policeman’s kindness towards Jasmine and then Jasmines
kindness towards those animals in need. A small act of kindness can make a big
Have you heard of the movie Born Free, have you watched it? I have, and I’d like to say that next time there is a rainy day rent the movies Born Free 1 & 2 then snuggle down and enjoy watching them! I recommend them highly. The first movie is a heart-warming true story all about a lion that was raised by a couple as a baby, learning how to look after herself in the wild. The second movie is about the lion’s cubs that are causing trouble and will have to be shot if not captured and put under control. To get you more interested here is the trailer for Born Free 1. Enjoy!
Everyone likes to go to the zoo once and a while but lately Adelaide zoo hasn’t had enough visitors. The have announced that they are in debt to the bank with millions. You might have heard of Wang Wang and Funi, the two famous panda’s that came to live at the zoo to attract more tourists but unfortunately that hasn’t worked out that well. Exotic, wild animals are very expensive to look after and keep. Firstly the zoo has to provide a natural environment for the animal which can take a lot of time, effort and money. For example, the elephants at Tooronga zoo (here in Sydney) have a huge multi-million dollar enclosure with trees, rocks a huge pool to swim in, toys (like hanging tires) and of course a place where tourists can view the animals. Then comes all the animal’s medical requirement, whenever an animal becomes sick a specialist had to come to the zoo and figure out what’s wrong with it then the animal has to be treated which sometimes involves surgery. It can take a long time for the animal to recover and most animal need special care while they heal. Each animal has a different diet, a lot of money is spent on food like fruit, meat, foliage and seed. Did you know that elephants eat between 149 and 169 kg of vegetation per day!? A lot of time goes into preparing the meals so that the animals can maintain healthy and natural diets. As well as all this each animal needs care and attention, there are many zookeepers that look after one individual animal or are responsible for a small group of animal of the same species. For another example the elephants at zoo each have their own keeper who they spend time with doing play time, exercise time and rest time. It takes a very committed person to be a zoo keeper. You can see how much work and money it would be running a zoo and why Adelaide zoo owes the bank money. You’re probably thinking well why all the other zoos are not in debt as well? The reason is that Adelaide zoo is privately run where’s most zoos are run by the government; this means that the government does not fund Adelaide zoos’ expenses. In conclusion I’d just like to mention that if you live in Adelaide or go to Adelaide sometime then please visit the zoo.
Link to Adeliade Zoo website: http://www.zoossa.com.au/adelaide-zoo
A few weeks ago 6 other girls from my school and me took part in Tournament of the Minds which is a competition around Australia. Our challenge was based on the endangered fictional species the Wariness that lives in the world rainforests. We were completely in charge of what the Wariness was and why it was important to the sustainability of the worlds rainforests. Here is the Warinesses fact file:
Name of Species: The Wariness
Related to: The Sloth
Appearance: Big, hairy ape like figure, gorrila/sloth
Hair colour: Brown
Skin Colour: Black
Lifespan: 50 – 80 years
Height: (sitting down) 1m
Babies: 1 born every 5 years
Habitat: The worlds tropical rainforests
Diet: Poisonous, yellow berries from the Cocobunga Tree
Behaviour: Slow and harmless
Importance: Germinating the seeds in the berries of the Cocobunga tree who’s leaves hold a cure to cancer.
A few weeks ago I had an amazing animal experience. At night time I was coming home from a dinner out with my dad and suddenly he stopped a car a few houses from our house. Right in front of us on the road was this huge owl that about 60cm tall and it would not move.
No matter how much we beeped the horn it would not get out of the way of the car. I decided to get out of the car to try to shoo it away but then I saw that it had what looked like a huge dead possum under its claws. I wasn’t getting out of the car now! Finally it flew off and we could get home. I didn’t really realize how lucky I was to see this until later when my dad decided to look on the web to try find out what type of owl it might have been. It turned out to be a power owl and these owls were very rare to see. Here is some info on them:
The Power Owl
The powerful nocturnal power owl lives in south-eastern Australia. The are related to the southern barking owl and boo-book owl all being categorized as “hawk owls.” They are the largest species of owl in Australia with males reaching 67cm tall and females getting up to 58cm tall. Have you ever had an amazing animal experience?