Is it a drop bear? No, it’s a baby panda falling with style

Updated

October 01, 2016 00:20:35

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One curious cub makes a clumsy escape off the stage, landing on its head. (Reuters)
(Reuters) Photo:
The species’ endangered classification has been downgraded to vulnerable, as a result of breeding programs. A giant-panda breeding program has seen 23 cubs born in 2016, giving hope to the survival of the vulnerable species.The bears made their public debut at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in China.However, it appeared one curious cub was not content with being on display and attempted to make a run for it.The photo opportunity has attracted global attention and is highlighting the conservation efforts of the research base. Photo:
It is exhausting work being adorable. (Reuters)
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) downgraded the species from endangered to vulnerable in September this year.”The improved status confirms that the Chinese Government’s efforts to conserve this species are effective,” the IUCN said.The Chengdu Research Base has developed the world’s largest artificial breeding population of captive giant pandas, recording 113 in existence, as a result of 20 years of conversation.However, habitat loss remains the major threat faced by the giant panda.
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Dog eat dog world as prancing pooches dance for glory

Photo:
The winning border collie set a high standard dancing to Michael Jackson’s Thriller. Photo:
Heike Bettell missed out on a place after her her mini-poodle Pudelian Lady Bettell relieved herself during her performance. A group of pooches prancing to the sounds of Michael Jackson’s Thriller and the theme from Singin’ in the Rain have stolen the Royal Show in Perth.About 30 canines were put through their paces at the Dances with Dogs championship this weekend — and while some were standouts, others were not as successful.The crowd favourite and winner of the advanced section was a border collie which danced with owner Amanda Houston to Jackson’s 1983 smash hit.Most stuck to the choreography, however on-field tinkles instantly disqualified a mini poodle and Chihuahua. (ABC News)
“You’ll find some dogs just do not like certain music,” she said.”I mean, I love rock and roll and my old dog just hated it, but he loved classical or country music so I was stuck.”Judge Cheryl Bedggood said the panel was looking for technical merit, precision and teamwork in a winning duo.”We are obviously looking for the choreography being a flowing choreography, being in time with the music, the handler and dog working as a team,” she said.The world championships for doggy dancing is a serious business, with major sponsorships and millions of viewers online.An Australian dog has never competed at the international championships in Europe, however the club is hoping to change that with fundraising.In the meantime, the club is continuing to sponsor European coaches to visit Australia to teach the latest tricks. (ABC News: Laura Gartry)
Songs from musicals were popular, with tunes from Oliver and Frozen also featuring among performances.Meanwhile, colourful costumes were donned by the handlers rather than the dogs, which were limited to decorative collars.Perth obedience trainer and national president of the Dances with Dogs Club Jill Houston helped introduce the sport to Australia about 10 years ago after watching its debut in Birmingham in the UK.”We do not allow costumes on the dogs as we don’t want to make the dogs look ridiculous,” Ms Houston said.”Whereas we don’t care how we look, it just adds to the fun of it.”Ms Houston has put on training programs Australia-wide, and Dances with Dogs competitions can now be seen at shows in every state barring Tasmania.She said the sport had come a long way in the last decade, and any dog with basic obedience skills could learn to strut their stuff.”When we started, if you get your dog to weave between your legs we used to think that was amazing but now people come up with more and more ideas,” Ms Houston said.”Even the talent shows, Britain’s Got Talent and Australia’s Got Talent, the dogs that they have on there and winning are just awesome.”Different dogs dig different tunesMs Houston said the choice of music depended the nature of the dog.
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Laura Gartry

Updated

October 02, 2016 14:50:08

Video: Dancing dogs set sights on Europe

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Unlikely duo out to defend Perth Royal Show marmalade title
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‘100 years in the making’: PM joins locals for Redcliffe train line open day

Video: Timelapse video takes viewer on a journey through new Redcliffe peninsula train line

(ABC News)
“This rail link here is going to enable so much more improved amenities, more development, more affordable housing,” he said.”It adds to the strength and the growth of this — one of the fastest growing areas in Australia.”Ms Palaszczuk said Queensland’s latest rail link would transform local lives.”It was 100 years in the making. Photo:
Mr Turnbull meets passengers on board what was the first train trip. because every time we got a different government it went on the back burner. I’ll definitely be using it. Trains ran back and forth along the full length of the new rail — 12.6 kilometres from Kippa-Ring to Petrie, where it connects with existing Queensland Rail infrastructure.Redcliffe residents Veronica and Hannah Higgins managed to grab two seats on the first train, which left just after 9:30am, through an online ballot run this past month.”It’s a moment in history, being on the first train,” Veronica said.”There’s been talk of it … but in the last few years it’s actually come together. I hate driving into the city.”

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Malcolm Turnbull, Annastacia Palaszczuk and Allan Sutherland open the new line. I never thought I’d see it … Each and every one of you should be immensely proud,” she said.”Whether you’re in a community organisation or you live locally, this railway is your railway line.”It’s your railway line for many, many years to come.”The railway was funded by the Australian Government, Queensland Government, and the Moreton Bay Regional Council.The State and Federal governments have yet to reach a similar agreement on the Brisbane Cross River Rail project and upgrade of the M1, south of Brisbane. (AAP: Dan Peled)
Moreton Bay Koala Rescue’s Marilyn Kunde, who has been involved in the project as a stakeholder for the past three years, recalled talk about a railway to the Redcliffe region from her childhood.”My Poppie use to talk about this when I was a wee baby,” she said. A 131-year wait to bring trains to the Redcliffe peninsula came to an end today when the new $1 billion railway opened to lucky locals for a community day.Thousands of people turned out at Kippa-Ring train station, north of Brisbane, as well as the five other new stations along the track this morning ahead of the commencement of full services tomorrow. Photo:
Malcolm Turnbull (left) helps Frances Pearse, who will turn 100 tomorrow, onto a train carriage. 131-year history of Redcliffe’s rail line Take a look back on many pushes over more than a century to get a rail link connecting the Redcliffe peninsula to Queensland’s rail network. But it’s happened, it’s so great.”‘It’s your railway for many, many years to come’Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, and Moreton Bay Mayor Allan Sutherland also joined the first train out of Kippa-Ring station.They each helped to cut the ribbon to officially open the new station before jumping on board.Mr Turnbull said the new line would be part of the fabric of the community and tie it closer together. (AAP: Dan Peled)
“And he said to me ‘it’ll happen one day, it’ll happen’.”Well it happened in my lifetime. (AAP: Dan Peled)

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More on this story:Moreton Bay Rail Link to open early OctoberSignal system on delayed Moreton Bay Rail Link was cheapest option: QRMoreton Bay Rail link will not open on schedule due to signalling faultsMoreton Bay Rail Link: Century-old rail dream a step closer to reality as power turned on
By

Patrick Williams

Updated

October 03, 2016 13:29:09

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Volunteers from the Caboolture Historical Village turned out in period costume for the event. (ABC News: Patrick Williams)
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Top End Men’s Shed collaborates with wildlife conservationists

Thurgoona Men's Shed building homes for squirrel gliders
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(105.7 ABC Darwin: Emilia Terzon)
With the breeding boxes in their final stage of construction, the men are now looking for other large scale community-funded projects that can help them continue to expand their numbers.The Men’s Shed operates under the official Australian Men’s Shed Association banner and has seen its numbers double in the past few years.”It’s somewhere safe and somewhere great that helps men interact,” Mr Hicks said.”People can come in at their lowest points of their life and over time, just watching the transformation as they become a totally different person getting back into society is just a fantastic thing to watch.”[The bird boxes] are a little bit on the side. I’ve found that this has been the best thing ever.” Mr Travis’s story is a common one at the shed — a place where everybody has their own job title, and a breeding box assembly line sees men coming together over sawdust, cigarettes and cups of coffee. In a crowded shed on the fringe of Darwin, bearded burly men, retired high school teachers and the long-term unemployed are making new homes for native birds and possums.It is part of a conservation project addressing urban sprawl and the degradation of Top End habitats.”We’ve got to reproduce what nature has provided,” Palmerston Men’s Shed secretary Leigh Travis said.”We’re making nesting boxes and breeding boxes for all the little critters.”Mr Travis first started coming to the Men’s Shed several years ago, after being in a car accident that left him with post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and suicidal thoughts.”I was very socially isolated,” he said. Photo:
Work for the dole participant Phillip Sykes says the shed lets him work on positive projects with like-minded people. (Supplied: DWS)
Launched this year, the conservation program started after Darwin Wildlife Sanctuary chief executive Ally Szyc saw some of the Men’s Shed breeding boxes being sold at the local markets.”We were so inspired by their work that we created this program,” Ms Szyc said.”It’s exciting because we can see the impact that working with wildlife and being involved in these sorts of projects can have on people that might have lower self-confidence.”The men started off making boxes for local school children, and are now working on 120 boxes the wildlife sanctuary is set to install in the backyards of volunteers across regional Darwin.With black cockatoos through to parrots found in the Top End, the men have designed a range of boxes to attract different breeds, along with unexpected tidbits made from leftover waste material.”We thought it might make a good feeding dish to go in our boxes,” Mr Hicks said while holding a plywood bowl.When asked who came up with this idea, Mr Hicks lowered his voice and muttered: “The brains.”

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Michael Batty is known to the other men as “the brain” of the operation. “It was either go the pub every day and drink, drink, drink or come somewhere beneficial and get involved with the other fellas.”Putting all my energy into this shed has kept me going. (105.7 ABC Darwin: Emilia Terzon)
Often seated next to a saw-cutter, treasurer Michael Batty has a reputation for workshop inventiveness.Living with hepatitis for many years, Mr Batty came to the Men’s Shed three years ago in poor health.”I was that fat and overweight that I couldn’t get off the floor when I fell over,” he said.He has since lost 15 kilograms just by being active at the workshop and, this year, “went through the wringer” of hepatitis treatment to finally get rid of the disease.”It’s a fantastic feeling,” he said.A former country boy, Mr Batty said it was also a lovely feeling to use his growing skills to help animals.”The clearing and the pesticides have ruined all the hollow logs in the bush,” he said. Photo:
Former tech studies teacher Keith Hicks says working at the Men’s Shed has given him something to do in retirement. (105.7 ABC Darwin: Emilia Terzon)
“It’s good to be able to do something,” vice president Keith Hicks said.”For me, there’s nothing worse than sitting around with nothing to do.”After working as a tech studies teacher for almost five decades, Mr Hicks found himself retired, downsizing to a smaller home without a workshop, and with no outlet for his life skills.”When I left, it was bye-bye all my mates and bye-bye my workshop, so a Men’s Shed sounded like a good place,” he said.”It’s the camaraderie.” These days Mr Hicks volunteers at least 10 hours a week at the shed, where he works on personal projects and bigger community initiatives like the breeding box program. Photo:
Darwin Wildlife Sanctuary is still looking for people to house the boxes in their backyard. It’s an added bonus.”

105.7 ABC Darwin

By

Emilia Terzon

Updated

October 03, 2016 18:29:36

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Leigh Travis and Ally Szyc with the finished bird boxes. (105.7 ABC Darwin: Emilia Terzon)
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Ex-Army sergeant designs fashionable hospital gowns

(Supplied: Hospital Glamour)
The gowns come in a range of bright patterns and offer “full rear coverage” with nylon snaps, to avoid interference with medical imaging and help breastfeeding mothers.They have also been designed to ensure IV drips and other medical equipment can be worn with the gowns.”We’ve saved people’s backside from hanging out by putting the back flap to the hip to tie it there,” Mr Beveridge said.”We also decided they needed pockets so you can carry things.”Making a small difference in people’s livesThe start-up, Hospital Glamour, launched online three months ago.Mr Beveridge said he hoped to make a difference in people’s lives, even if it was a small one.”The current hospital gowns are one size fits all which doesn’t suit everyone, and they have metal fasteners so they can’t be worn when getting X-rays,” he said.”Every year 1.4 million Australians have a planned overnight hospital stay for elective surgery and of those, 215,000 are women giving birth.”The outdated hospital gowns had never been updated over the years or designed better to ensure a bit of dignity — we’ve done that.” A 65-year-old retired Army sergeant has created a fashion start-up in the hope of giving hospital patients back their dignity.The idea for a new type of gown came about after Bob Beveridge’s wife Sharon broke her wrist and was admitted to hospital.The couple found the standard, frayed gowns unappealing and felt patients deserved better options.”It did up at the back so your backside was exposed for most of the time,” Mr Beveridge said.”I thought there has to be a better way to do this; there had to be something we could do to stop people’s backside hanging out of these things.”So I decided to try and do something better.”‘I couldn’t even sew on a button!’Mr Beveridge knew nothing about fashion when he started designing the gowns — so his wife enrolled him into a course.”I couldn’t even sew on a button,” he told 612 ABC Brisbane’s Steve Austin.”I was sitting in a room with young girls all designing bikinis and I was quite old and they looked at me as if to say, ‘what are you doing here?’.”

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The gowns are designed to tie-up at the hip.
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612 ABC Brisbane

By

Jessica Hinchliffe

Posted

October 03, 2016 13:07:00

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Bob Beveridge wanted to help patients keep their dignity while in hospital. (Facebook: Hospital Glamour)

The woman who uses art to help heal sick children

612 ABC Brisbane

By

Jessica Hinchliffe

Posted

October 04, 2016 13:54:08

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Lynne Seear stands with artist Richard Bell’s Me Me Dreaming. (612 ABC Brisbane: Jessica Hinchliffe)
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(612 ABC Brisbane: Jessica Hinchliffe)
Many of the works showcase Queensland-born or based artists and Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander talent.”I know that art is essential, it’s not a luxury extra,” Ms Seear said.”We have research that goes back 20 to 30 years that examines the delivery of [arts] programs and healthcare settings.”It’s not just about making people feel better about where they are — it actively assists healing.”It also helps staff so they can be their best selves, so it’s a win-win situation.”

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Emily Floyd’s, ‘A Little Community’, is the hospital’s main installation which took days to install ahead of the hospital opening. our children and young people.”

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Handwritten notes from children and adults are placed on a wishing tree alongside the artwork in the foyer. (612 ABC Brisbane: Jessica Hinchliffe)
Ms Seear has also established a program at the hospital working alongside the State Library of Queensland, QPAC and the Queensland Conservatorium to provide a diverse range of experiences for visitors, including musical performances.”I work with clinicians too to try and find ways that the arts program can help them do their jobs more easily, especially when distracting patients,” she said.Best of the bestBefore joining Lady Cilento, Ms Seear worked in the arts sector for more than 30 years, including as deputy director of the Queensland Art Gallery and assisting with the development of the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA).”This is my favourite job ever — and I’ve been lucky to have some really good jobs.”The degree of satisfaction I get here on a daily basis is really unlike anything else I’ve ever experienced.”I work in the middle of a business which is all about trying to improve the health care and lives of our most precious citizens … (612 ABC Brisbane: Jessica Hinchliffe)
Ms Seear said hospitals often became “visually messy places”.”I try and keep an eye on the design and the environment of the place too and to make sure it remains coherent.”We also rotate works around to keep things interesting, especially for repeat visitors.”

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Artwork from children from across the state is part of the mix including Indigenous and Torres Strait Island talent. Photo:
A Lego version of the emergency helicopter sits in the foyer of the hospital. Meet the woman responsible for handpicking more than 600 artworks that aim to brighten the day for sick children, their families and staff at Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital in Brisbane.Arts program manager Lynne Seear is in charge of selecting 21st-century art for the hospital, with everything from large parrot sculptures to Lego models on show. (612 ABC Brisbane: Jessica Hinchliffe)
“It’s the piece I get the most questions about,” Ms Seear said.”If we had a poll, that would be the favourite piece of artwork.”There is 175,000 pieces of Lego in each one.”Ms Seear will next work with clinicians to put art into “scary places” in the hospital.”I’m trying make those places more distracting and appealing by putting art in them,” she said.”I’ve had fantastic feedback on this already especially from staff.”When my ideas come to a halt then it’s time for me to make way for someone else.” Photo:
A large replica of the hospital built entirely from Lego is one of the most popular pieces in the hospital. The parrots.”The parrots are spectacular and they are the first thing you see when you come into the hospital,” she said.”I had many sleepless nights commissioning them and I was here working with the artist, architects and builders putting these in.”They chopped a decade off my life I think. (612 ABC Brisbane: Jessica Hinchliffe)
Starting with the hospital during its development gave Ms Seear a blank canvas to work with.Her most treasured piece in the hospital? It was one of the most ambitious contemporary art projects I ever worked on.”Lego a crowd favouriteShe said the Lego models throughout the hospital, however, were the most popular among patients.

Open Gardens bloom again in Perth

720 ABC Perth

By

Emma Wynne

Posted

October 04, 2016 16:41:22

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After Open Gardens Australia closed in 2015, a group has sprung up in WA to run local tours. (Supplied: Deryn Thorpe)
Open Gardens Australia to be commemorated at National Arboretum in ACT
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“Last time I had my garden open someone said to me: ‘It’s alright for you, you can garden well because you live in an area with good soil.'”But I have the same sand that everyone else has — and I improve it.” Open Gardens West Coast begins on Saturday in Mount Lawley and continues with tours in Carmel and Helena Valley. “I’ve got my soil looking rich and dark and fantastic,” she said. A year after the national Open Gardens organisation folded, a group of Perth volunteers has relaunched tours of suburban backyards in Western Australia.Open Gardens Australia closed in June 2015 after 27 years, citing financial pressures and competition from other community events.Open Gardens West Coast has since formed to keep the tours going locally, beginning with three Perth homes this month.”It has taken a while, but we are going to have gardens open for people to come and see again — starting with mine,” organiser Deryn Thorpe told 720 ABC Perth. (Supplied: Deryn Thorpe)
Ms Thorpe said visiting successful local gardens appealed to many as it offered real, practical ideas to budding green thumbs.”There is no better way to see what grows well in your area, in the Perth sandy soils, than going and seeing what other people can grow,” she said.”I love showing people the difficult areas in my garden, like under shady trees.”That’s what you can learn when you go to an open garden.”Cultivating west coast sandPeople who open their gardens to tours would be available to answer any questions.Ms Thorpe, whose Mount Lawley cottage garden has many flowers and well-established roses, said the secret to beautiful blooms was overcoming Perth’s naturally sandy, nutrient-poor soil. Photo:
Deryn Thorpe’s back garden comes into bloom in October. (Supplied: Deryn Thorpe) “We have all missed it.”

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Deryn Thorpe leads people on a tour of her Mount Lawley garden.

Search for mystery man who broke news in miracle baby story

936 ABC Hobart

By

Carol Rääbus

Posted

October 05, 2016 11:37:17
(Supplied: Donald Targett)

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Donald Targett wants to find the man who told him his baby was alive.
Your baby’s been revived’,” he said.”I said, ‘What did you say?’ He said, ‘Your baby’s alive’.”Shocked and confused, Mr Targett went back to his position on the field as the game was kicking off.”My head was just spinning.”I finished the game and directly after I went straight to my vehicle and my sergeant drove me straight to the hospital.”When asked why Mr Targett stayed to finish the game before going to the hospital, he said it seemed the thing to do at the time. External Link:

Donald Targett post on search for mystery man
“I look back on my life and I’ve made a lot of mistakes, believe me,” he said.”Those days were very selfish. It’s just beautiful. Donald Targett thought his baby daughter was dead when she was born at Hobart’s Gore Street Hospital on July 20, 1973.The doctor who delivered her had told him it was a “glorified miscarriage”.”I was very confused,” Mr Targett told Jo Spargo on 936 ABC Hobart.”Just prior to Linda going into theatre everything was fine, the heartbeat was fine, everything was OK.”The doctor came in and delivered the baby and then he came back out to me and said, ‘Mr Targett, your wife’s OK but she’s had a glorified miscarriage’ and then he left the hospital.”Mr Targett went through the motions, signing stillborn and burial papers.He then returned to the Brighton Army Barracks, where he lived in the married quarters.”My wife’s mother was there looking after my son and we talked all night about the circumstances,” he said.The next day Mr Targett was driven by his Army sergeant to the North Hobart Oval to play football with the Hobart Football Club.”I said to the coach and players, ‘Don’t expect much from me today, I’ve had a really rough night. If I had my time over again, believe me it would be totally different.”Not long after Mr Targett had left the hospital, a nurse noticed his baby’s chest moving and the tiny girl was able to be saved.The hospital had tried to contact him but the family did not have a telephone.”My wife must have told the staff at the hospital that I was due to play football with Hobart at the North Hobart ground,” Mr Targett said.Social media might help find the man with the messageMr Targett said he has told the story of his “miracle baby” to many people over the years, but he has never been able to find the mysterious man at the oval who delivered the life-changing news.He now wants to use social media to find him.”My friend told me about this Facebook about 12 months ago and I thought, ‘what rubbish’.”[Then] I actually took it up about three or four months ago and I thought this might be a way to actually find the guy.”The Gore Street Hospital has since become the Hobart Private Hospital and moved locations.Mr Targett contacted the hospital to see if it could help with his search as he believes the man may be the father of twins born there around the same time.”[Linda] thinks it may be, there was a guy there, his wife had twins, and she thinks it was him,” he said.Mr Targett’s Facebook post asking for help to find the mystery man has been shared more than 1,000 times.And the responses so far have helped him get closer to finding another vital player in the story — the nurse who saved his baby’s life.”I’m narrowing it down to the nurse who saw her chest move,” he said.”The people who’ve shared my post, it’s unbelievable. I’ve lost my child’,” Mr Targett recalled.’Your baby’s alive’As the team was warming up, Mr Targett was called over to the boundary where a man he did not know wanted to speak to him.”I went over to him and this guy said, ‘I’ve just come from the Gore Street Hospital. I want to thank them all.” I just can’t get my head around it.”So many people.

Flood communities ditching sandbagging for socialising

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By

Skye Manson

Posted

October 05, 2016 16:23:45

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A machinery dealership in Parkes is helping farmers and volunteers wind down after flooding.
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Video: Flooding in the towns of Beckom and Ardlethan in NSW

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Josh Douglas and Darren Keane of local machinery dealership Hutcheon and Pearce based in Parkes say they wanted a way to find a way to thank volunteers and pay back local farmers for their years of good patronage. Visit ABC Emergency for warnings and advice on how you can prepare for an emergency and its aftermath. “They have been hit very very hard out that way,” he said.”I was talking to a customer yesterday who hadn’t left home for 23 days.”They’re all looking forward to us coming out there, so they can have a feed, and a relax, and hopefully just take their mind off it.” A series of flood recovery BBQs will be held in Forbes, Bedgerebong and Condobolin, to give volunteers, businesses, farmers and children the chance to have a breather. Locals affected by flooding in central west New South Wales are ditching sandbagging in place of socialising, as a way to regenerate after weeks of flooding. Mr Keane has been speaking with many farmers in the Bedgerebong area who have been unable to leave farms for weeks. “Any volunteers that have helped out with sandbagging or dropping sandbags off, anyone who’s helped to save the towns. “We just want to say a big thank you to them.”But putting on such an event during times of flood comes with its challenges.”It normally takes 25 minutes from Forbes to Bedgerebong, but now it could take anywhere from 1.5 to two hours,” Mr Keane said.”I’ve even had a customer say he would meet me there in his boat.”

Are you prepared for an emergency? “We want to say a big thank you to the State Emergency Services, Rural Fire Service, Police, military, council workers,” Mr Douglas said.

Rare white willie wagtail graces Perth backyards

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(ABC news: Nicolas Perpitch) By

Nicolas Perpitch

Posted

October 05, 2016 22:48:43

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The willie wagtail has a condition known as leucism and is believed to be more unusual than an albino.
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Experts say they have not seen a leucistic willie wagtail in Perth for 50 years. An extremely rare white willie wagtail has made its home among the tall trees and backyards of the inner northern Perth suburb of Mount Lawley.The bird is believed to have a condition known as leucism, which causes a partial loss of pigmentation.Birdlife WA’s Brice Wells said he had never seen a willie wagtail like it in his 50 years of bird watching.”It’s the first one I’ve heard of,” he said.Local resident Annie Barisic has been watching the bird in her back garden for the last few weeks.”He just didn’t look like any other willie wagtail I’d ever seen. I’ve seen them here for about 20 years,” she said.The birds usually have black plumage and a white underbelly.Ms Barisic thought this one was an albino willie wagtail, which she found out was rare, but said it was even more unusual.”The experts said he’s even rarer than an albino, so this may be the first time Perth’s actually able to get photos and get it confirmed what he is,” she said.”In fact, it might even be the first for WA, who knows.”Leucistic birds ‘often don’t survive’Mr Wells said the bird was not an albino because albinos had a pink eye, and this one had a normal blackish eye. (ABC News: Nicolas Perpitch)
He said he had only ever seen about a half dozen birds which were leucistic or melanistic, where they have an excess of dark-coloured pigmentation.”Often they don’t survive, sometimes because they’re not accepted by their peers,” he said.”They become a little more noticeable, so they’re often predated quite early and often because they’re strange looking they find it hard to get a mate.”So the opportunities for them are very limited.”Wagtail numbers were hit hard in the 1970s in Perth when spraying to eliminate an infestation of Argentine ants also affected their food sources, however they had since recovered.Ms Barisic said she was seeing the white wagtail in her garden every day, skirting around hunting for worms and other food.”If I scrape the ground a bit for worms he’ll come,” she said.”He is a little bit more reserved and he stays a little bit further away from me, but he is a bit of a younger bird too.”

$22k for mangoes a bargain, says new ‘Mango King’

A Gold Coast fruiterer has paid $22,000 at auction for the season’s first tray of mangoes.The opening bid started at the Brisbane Produce Market this morning at $10,000, with George Manettas from Earth Markets eventually putting in the winning bid for the prized fruit.He was subsequently crowned as the markets’ new “Mango King”.”It was a bargain, definitely. Was expecting it to go a lot higher,” Mr Manettas said.The auction is the symbolic start of the mango season, with the 16 fruit in the tray this year having come from Berry Springs in the Northern Territory. External Link:

Craig Zonca on Twitter: Mangoes arrive for auction
Today’s winning bid was well down on previous years.Last year’s tray raised $30,000 – a long way off the highest price of about $70,000.The annual auction raises much needed funds for charity with this year’s money going to Diabetes Queensland and Life Education Queensland.Both charities said the money would be put to good use and make a huge difference to those in need.Australian Mango Industry Association Chairman Greg McMahon said the season was an exciting time of the year.”It brings the smell of summer to the world and we love delivering on the promise that mangoes bring for people” he said.This season’s crop is expected to be a bumper with the first mangoes in store from the Darwin area.Queensland’s fruit mango will follow in December through until February and March next year. Photo:
Money raised from the auction of the mangoes goes towards Diabetes Queensland and Life Education Queensland. (ABC Rural: Craig Zonca)
(ABC News: Andree Withey) By

Andree Withey

Updated

October 06, 2016 13:55:04

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“Mango King” George Manettas displays the season’s first tray of mangoes.
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Indigenous video game to help keep language alive

(ANU: Conor Tow) 666 ABC Canberra

By

Penny Travers

Posted

October 06, 2016 11:57:09

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The entire game is spoken in the Western Desert language Ngaanyatjarra.
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(ANU: Conor Tow) “Within those landscapes you have certain flora and fauna that are peculiar to those areas,” Ms Ellis said. The world’s first Aboriginal Australian-language video game is being developed in a bid to preserve traditional language and culture.The endless runner game is titled Tjinari, meaning “someone always on the go” in the Western Desert language Ngaanyatjarra.”It’s very important to make sure that our young people continue to speak our languages because all languages are important,” Ngaanyatjarra linguist Elizabeth Marrkilyi Ellis told 666 ABC Canberra’s Drive program. Photo:
Dr Inge Kral and Lizzie Ellis show the game to students at Warakurna Campus of Ngaanyatjarra Lands School. (ANU: Conor Tow)
“The flora and the fauna are in the game so the children are learning the words for the habitats and the animals.”A lot of the animals are extinct now … so we are using the words so the children will be able to say the words of those animals that they haven’t seen.”We’re bringing our knowledge of our land into this new, digital world.”Leading the way for other Indigenous languages The game is being developed for mobile and tablet play.”It will be open source … (Supplied: Jenny Green)
“We have recorded the children’s voices for the game so when they go to play the game, it will be their own voice or a friend’s voice that gives the warning ‘palayi’, meaning ‘watch out’,” Ms Ellis said.”And when they successfully complete a task or navigate the obstacle they will hear their own voice saying ‘walykumunun’ meaning ‘excellent’.” Western Desert flora and fauna provide backdrop The game is set in Western Desert landscapes — from creek lands and woodlands to spinifex plains and mulga scrub. and it will be an open template that other Indigenous languages in Australia and potentially overseas can use,” Dr Kral said. “We’re hoping that the concept will take off. “There’s a risk when certain cultural practices aren’t performed anymore, the words aren’t in everyday use and therefore they get lost.”So we’re hoping with this new game app that we’re working on, we’ll bring some of the old words back into circulation.”The game is being created by a team of linguists, artists and programmers from the Australian National University (ANU) and ARC Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language (CoEDL).”Kids in remote communities have all got mobile phones, they’re playing games, but all of those games are in English,” linguistic anthropologist Dr Inge Kral said.”We [wanted] to develop a game that’s about fun — not didactic, not language teaching, but about fun.”Ngaanyatjarra students provide game voiceoversThe star character in the game must find the correct plant to give to a traditional healer to save the life of a young girl, facing many obstacles and giant animals along the way.The entire game is spoken in Ngaanyatjarra and features the voices of students from Warakurna Campus of Ngaanyatjarra Lands School in Western Australia. “Ancient languages can transfer into this modern environment; it’s not something that’s just for English.”

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The game’s star character faces giant animals in search of a life-saving plant. Photo:
The game is set in Western Dessert landscapes and features the region’s unique flora and fauna.

Meet the Darwin rescue dog who exercises with drones

Drone boom prompts regulation rethink

Drones in science: Rising beyond pretty pictures
105.7 ABC Darwin

By Lucy Periton and Emilia Terzon

Posted

October 06, 2016 15:20:19

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Narla waits for James Greenberger to launch the drone using his smartphone app. (105.7 ABC Darwin: Lucy Periton)
Drone racing champs: Australia's fastest crowned at weekend of speed
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Darwin 0800
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I join the two together. Next thing it’s doing 360 as she’s gotten it out of the air.”She’s quite a tame dog so I’ll just have to say, ‘Narla, not yours’, and she’ll stay away.”A man, his dog and a droneMr Greenberger said Narla had clearly become attached to the drone, with the beeping sound of it being turned on enough to erupt her into barking.”She gets very excited and there’s constant sooking in the car until we get [to the beach],” he said.”A lot of people don’t walk their dogs. A good part of my life. Photo:
Narla and James down at Casuarina Coastal Reserve. It’s a perfect place to come out.”

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Narla cools down in the water after a drone session. “The water is just beautiful. It’s an excuse for her to get exercise, me to get exercise, and the beach is a perfect place. Most afternoons on a secluded Darwin beach, a chocolate brown rescue dog can be found enthusiastically chasing after Australia’s latest technology craze — drones.Launched remotely by a smartphone app, the bright red flying aircraft has emerged as Narla’s favourite toy.”It’s the only way to tire her out,” owner James Greenberger said.He first saw Narla on social media two years ago during a RSPCA adoption callout and, after a beach trip together, she had a forever home.But it was not all fun and games at first.”She made my motorbike fall over and caused $7,500 worth of damage on week three. Chewed through my high-pressure cleaner on week four,” Mr Greenberger said. She’s a short-haired pointer so it’s in her nature.”She’s got crazy energy.”For the past six months Mr Greenberger and Narla have been going to Casuarina Coastal Reserve, where joggers and beachgoers often laugh and point as Narla speeds and jumps after the drone at 10 metres per second.”It’s a bit bad when it comes in for landing. (105.7 ABC Darwin: Lucy Periton)
Narla often cools off in the water after a drone session, after which she is off home for an early dinner.”The second she gets home, she wants her food,” Mr Greenberger said.”I don’t know how she can stomach it after a run like that, as I sure can’t. “Then after she dries off, she’s on the lounge with me.”She’s a good-behaved dog. “Now if her head is touching my leg, it’s still not close enough for her.” (105.7 ABC Darwin: Lucy Periton)
Morning runs soon became routine and then, while playing with his side hobby in the backyard, Mr Greenberger discovered Narla’s love of drones.”Anything that moves or flies, she’ll chase. She still tries to grab it,” Mr Greenberger said.”She’s jumped up while I’ll be wearing goggle vision watching the camera on the drone.

Goldfields councillor overcomes life-changing spinal injury

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Councillor McKay was visited in Shenton Park by friends Andrew Gormley (L) and Gerry Carter from Queensland. Cr McKay and a few accomplices installed the palm in the dead of night to improve the Boulder CBD, although it was later removed by the council. A life-changing spinal injury from a roof fall has failed to stop quadriplegic City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder councillor Mick McKay, who is preparing to make a triumphant return to the council table with a vow to keep fighting for his constituents.Cr McKay, 63, is quadriplegic after he fell off a resident’s roof in Boulder on November 7 last year while trying to help repair storm damage.He cannot feel anything below his shoulders, although he has extremely limited movement in his left arm.Cr McKay is continuing to undergo rehabilitation at Shenton Park Campus in Perth, however it will not be home for much longer.He said builders were renovating his Boulder property for his return, with a deadline of November 30 set for him to resume council duties and avoid an extraordinary election.”I think I’ll definitely be back by then,” he said.”I’m looking forward to getting back around the table and giving the people who voted me in their representation.”It’s nearly a year I’ve been away from the place.”Even while rehabilitating from the injury, Cr McKay has remained actively involved in council issues, having been in regular contact with Mayor John Bowler and chief executive John Walker.”I think Boulder will be forgotten if I’m not there,” he said.Cr McKay uses a wheelchair steered by his chin and is planning to scroll through council agendas on his iPad during meetings.McKay retains glass-half-full approach to lifeCr McKay was repairing the roof for an elderly friend after a bad storm swept through the city when he lost his footing and fell.Reflecting on the accident, Cr McKay said he felt numb as soon as he landed on his back. (ABC News: Jarrod Lucas)
“I couldn’t feel anything straight away,” he said.”I had a pretty bad bump on the head, but I knew I was gone because I couldn’t feel anything.”His glass-half-full approach to life was clear when he joked about how the injury meant he no longer suffered debilitating pain in his left foot from arthritis.He also quipped that it had presented him with an opportunity.”I’ll give the lift a tryout in the town hall,” he said.Cr McKay was elected in 2011, just a few months after staging a week-long vigil on top of the old Boulder United Friendly Society building to protest the demolition of the heritage-listed building.He also made headlines in November 2001 as a so-called “rebel palm tree planter”, when a date palm suddenly appeared in the roundabout at the intersection of Burt and Lane streets.
(ABC News: Jarrod Lucas) By Jarrod Lucas

Posted

October 06, 2016 21:10:00

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Mick McKay is undergoing rehabilitation and uses a wheelchair after he fell from a roof.
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Kalgoorlie 6430

‘It’s like science fiction’: Woman gives birth using mother’s womb

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Sweden
Key points:Emelie Eriksson was born without a uterus and underwent pioneering transplantBaby conceived in first pregnancy attemptDoctor hopes the surgery will become commonplace worldwide
Emelie Eriksson, who was born without a womb, received the organ from her mother and nearly two years ago, in a world first, gave birth to son Albin.”It’s like science fiction,” the 30-year-old from a town near Stockholm said.”This is something that you read in history books and now in the future when you read about this, it’s about me.”Her operation was performed by pioneering Swedish doctor Mats Brannstrom, who is the only person in the world to deliver babies — five so far — from women with donated wombs.Ms Eriksson was 15 when she began wondering why she had not got her period and tests later revealed she had been born without a womb and doctors said she would never be able to carry her own children.In her early 20s, Ms Eriksson began reading about scientists attempting to create organs from stem cells and was told about the womb transplant research being pursued by Dr Brannstrom.She described the novel project to her mother one Sunday evening.”I thought this was something that could only happen [far] in the future,” Marie Eriksson, 53, said.”But then I said to Emelie, ‘I’m so old, I don’t need my womb and I don’t want any more children. A woman has given birth to a baby from the same womb she was born from, after receiving a uterus from her mother. This is your only chance to have a child and you should take it’.”‘Small chance’ pregnancy soon after transplant

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Daniel Chrysong’s fainted in shock after son Albin was born (AP: Niklas Larsson)
Ms Eriksson emailed Dr Brannstrom and after dozens of medical tests for both Ms Ericksson and her mother, they were accepted into his trial testing the pioneering transplant.”I’d known all my life that I wouldn’t be able to be pregnant,” Ms Eriksson said.”But maybe now there was a small, small chance for me.”Ms Eriksson’s husband, Daniel Chrysong, agreed to go ahead after meeting Dr Brannstrom and being reassured he was not “some lunatic doctor”, but doubted the transplant would result in a baby.”I thought [we had] a bigger chance of winning the lottery,” he said.Ms Eriksson had two mild rejection episodes in the months after the surgery, but doses of steroids helped them pass.After a year, Ms Eriksson was finally ready to attempt to get pregnant and Dr Brannstrom’s team transferred a single embryo into her womb, which Ms Eriksson and Mr Chrysong had created during in-vitro fertilisation.An initial pregnancy test returned a negative result, but another a week later revealed a baby had been conceived.Ms Eriksson was only convinced they had succeeded when she heard her newborn son scream in the delivery room in 2014.Mr Chrysong was so overcome that he fainted and had to be watched over by the anesthesiology nurse on the floor of the hospital room.Ms Eriksson’s agreed to share her story because she hopes other women who need help having a child will be encouraged and inspired by her family’s extraordinary womb transplantation experience.”I hope this will be a reality for everyone that needs it,” she said.Australian woman’s request led to transplant procedureDr Brannstom began researching whether uterus transplants were possible after a young Australian cervical cancer patient asked about them after she was told she had to lose her womb to survive.He began a series of painstaking research projects to learn whether it might be possible to transplant a womb, despite criticism that the unheard of procedure was dangerous, medically unnecessary and impossible.After successful uterus transplants in mice in 1999 and tests in rats, sheep, pigs and monkeys, the surgery was first performed on humans in 2012.No other doctor in the world has succeeded, despite attempts in the US, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, and ongoing efforts in China, Britain, France, the Czech Republic and elsewhere.The first of Dr Brannstom’s patients’ babies was born in 2014 and the fifth arrived in January; another is due in early 2017.Other fertility experts thought it was astonishing that wombs of some post-menopausal women were able to grow healthy babies after being transplanted.Doctors typically expect younger organs to work better, but in the case of womb transplantation, organs from older women appeared “rejuvenated” after being dosed with hormones.Dr Brannstom said he believed the operation would one day be common, and he is working with doctors elsewhere, including at Harvard Medical School and the Mayo Clinic in the US, to perfect the procedure.”I think I need to thank him a thousand times more,” Ms Eriksson said.”He’s my hero. He made it possible for me to have a child.”AP
Updated

October 07, 2016 17:29:55

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Emelie Eriksson gave birth to Albin after receiving a uterus from mother Marie (AP: Niklas Larsson)