Australia Parrot being Massacred in Tasmania

Critically endangered Swift Parrots are under threat from squirrel-like sugar gliders in a battle for space in Australia’s ancient forests, scientists said Wednesday as they race to save the rare birds.

Swift Parrots are migratory and only breed in the southern island state of Tasmania. But the nomadic nectar-eating birds’ nesting grounds — gum trees — are also popular with sugar gliders, small possums believed to have been introduced to Tasmania in the early 19th century. The marsupials, which launch themselves from tree to tree and rarely descend to the ground, eat the nesting birds as well as their eggs and chicks, the Australian National University scientists said.

This year, both species are battling for real estate on Tasmania’s east coast due to abundant eucalypt flowering in the region, which contains some of the world’s oldest trees.

Swift Parrots usually arrive from the Australian mainland in August before flying back north in February and March after the breeding season, according to the Tasmania’s Parks and Wildlife Service. There are no recent estimates of their population, but a 2011 assessment cited by the Australian government estimated there were only about 2,000 mature birds, with the population declining.



Wildfires – Tasmania

The Tasmania Fire Service is responding to 15 bushfires across north and south of the state burning several thousand hectares. There is currently no major threat to property. There is a currently a high fire danger rating around Tasmania in all areas except the North West. It is expected that the rating will increase to very high later today.


Hepatitis A – San Diego, California – Update

The number of hepatitis A cases in San Diego County’s current local outbreak has grown to 507, according to the latest data published Tuesday. This includes an additional fatality bringing the total deaths associated with this outbreak to 19. Seven out of 10 people affected by the outbreak have required hospitalization for their illness.