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TAS Country : September 22nd 2011
Friday, September 23, 2011 Tasmanian Country 3 News CLIMATE CHANGE MENACE: New research into bushfire risk is looking ahead to global warming Wildfires on the horizon JENNIFER CRAWLEY NEW research into bushfire risk will help guide long-term planning by Tasmania's emergency services. The two-year project will use projections from the Climate Fu- tures for Tasmania project to calcu- late the likely risk and impact of bushfires under two greenhouse gas emissions scenarios. Australian Climate and Ecosy- tems CRC researcher Michael Grose said the CFT information will be used to provide detailed information on likely changes to both bushfire weather and to conditions that affect bushfire fuels. Projected changes to temperature, wind, relative hu- midity and wind speed will be used to examine predicted changes to bushfire weather, he said. Projections of rainfall, evapor- ation, cloud and radiation will be used to examine likely changes to the biomass and drying of bushfire fuels. These possible changes to bushfi- re weather will be related to weath- er systems and global patterns. But the Bushfire Risk project will not just examine weather, it will look at the other side of fire risk: fuels. ''This model allows us to calculate fuel drying using standard measures, and estimate fuel loads using biophysical models of plant growth.'' To page 5 Wallabies blindsided by disease JENNIFER CRAWLEY NEIL MONKS A DISEASE capable of infecting hu- mans is threatening the wallaby popu- lation of southern Tasmania. Toxoplasmosis kills wallabies, pos- sums and bandicoots, causes abortions in sheep, and is dangerous to pregnant women and their babies. The disease is spread by cats and the prolonged wet season is being blamed for the outbreak. An experienced shooter, who did not want to be identified, told Tasmanian Country that wallabies were standing still in the middle of paddocks in the daytime, which he said was a sure sign of toxoplasmosis. ''I used to wash them, clean them, mince them, eat them,'' the shooter said. ''I don't any more.'' State Government spokesman War- wick Brennan said there had been no increase in the number of toxoplas- mosis-related deaths reported by the animal health laboratory, despite a number of anecdotal reports received by the wildlife management branch. ''If this is what people are seeing we would welcome those reports to come through so there can be some scientific analysis of the anecdotal reports,'' Mr Brennan said. There have been reports of diseased wallabies at Bothwell, Colebrook, Cam- pania, Collinsvale, the Derwent Valley and the Tasman Peninsula. Farmers are refusing to feed the wallaby meat to their dogs, or eat it themselves, for fear of catching the disease. Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Environ- ment and Water game management officer John North said there were no Rufus wallabies and very few Bennetts wallabies left in the South. He said the North of the state was un- affected, but the dis- ease seemed to be prevalent in the South. Mr North, a farmer, usually shoots between 800 and 1200 wallabies a year on his Broadmarsh property. He only shot 200 last year. ''It's a culmination of four to five years of serious drought, which really knocked the Rufus and their habitat, then we had this extraordinary wet,'' he said. Wildlife veterinary pathologist David Obendorf said prolonged wet conditions had caused abundant growth in the paddocks. ''Toxoplasmosis thrives on pasture,'' Dr Obendorf said. He has heard reports of deranged, docile wallabies from Ellendale to Ouse to New Norfolk. Dr Obendorf said bandicoots, which were good for controlling cockchafers in pasture, were especially prone to toxo- plasmosis. ''If you lose bandicoots from the farm, the use of sprays increases,'' he said. Bothwell farmer Neil Monks first noticed the disease in wallabies on his farm last year. He said there were ''hardly any about'' this year To Page 7 1300 654 142 www.polarisindustries.com.au *Offer ends 30/9/11 or earlier if stocks run out at participating Polaris dealers. Excludes fleet clients. Shown with more than $500 of accessories: brushguards, rack extenders, bags & gun scabbard kit. MADE$5995 RIDE AWAY PLUS $500 FREE POLARIS ACCESSORIES. * 340 KG TOWING CAPACITY INT G AT ONT TO AG IN P N NT A P N ION I ) IGITAL IN T NTATION WH L I
September 15th 2011
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