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Feb 17, 2016

Re-connecting the Rainforest

Drilling holes for planting at nightwings
Drilling holes for planting at nightwings

Since our last update the team up in the Daintree supported local volunteers and community groups have been focusing on planting the new Nightwings rainforest wildlife reserve. This exciting project is taking land which has been farmed as sugar cane plantation for the past 50 years and replanting back to rainforest. The reforested area will re-connect the upland rainforest with the coast, creating a corridor for wildlife.

We’ve already removed the sugar cane and planted around 6,000 trees on the property. Local elders have been advising the project, describing the features of the area from ponds and creeks to types of trees that used to be there before the sugar cane. The land owners are using this knowledge to re-create the landscape.

The weather has been extraordinary difficult as Land Manager, Joe explains.

“It rained over Christmas most of the time causing minor flooding while some days had more than 8 inches of rain… then early January we had extremely hot weather, we recorded 100 Fahrenheit inside our house last week. This was not very comfortable to work in let alone for the poor trees left standing in an open field.”

However, Joe and the team are resilient and have been starting early very early in the mornings to dig and plant before it gets too hot. The project may be challenging but the rewards are worth it.

Our Daintree Native Plant Nursery has also been busy suppling all the trees needed for the project, supported by a group of committed volunteers from the local community.

Research undertaken by supporter and previous Rainforest Rescue employee, Wren McLean, has identified the main species of fruit and seeds in the Southern Cassowary’s diet. Luckily we’re already growing the key species at the nursery and it’s great to know that we’re not only planting rainforest but also growing future food supply for this amazing endangered species.

Your support in helping us protect this very special place is genuinely appreciated by myself and the rest of the team at Rainforest Rescue. With your help we can rescue, restore and conserve this exceptional piece of rainforest for future generations.

Thank you for helping us Protect Rainforest Forever.

Locally collected seeds: trees of the future
Locally collected seeds: trees of the future
Daintree lowland rainforest
Daintree lowland rainforest

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Dec 29, 2015

Birds released into the rainforest

Rainforest fruit being collected for the nursery
Rainforest fruit being collected for the nursery

Thank you for your support in helping us save the endangered Southern Cassowary.

It’s been a busy time over the past three months at the Garners Beach Cassowary Rehabilitation Centre. The three orphaned chicks that we’ve been looking after for the past year were fit and healthy enough to release back into the rainforest a few weeks ago. The three birds were released in National Park south of the Garners Beach.

The main care-giver assisting at the Garner’s Beach Centre is Emily, who works hard to ensure that every day the birds have all they need. Just prior to their release Emily sent through the following: “All birds at the facility are doing very well. The three juveniles are in good spirits and are still awaiting their release. The two little ones are doing very well; the vet came I think it was last week to give them a routine check up and was pleased with their progress... they are increasingly eating more and more and get along extremely well.”

Small tracking devices have been attached to the young birds. Dr Hamish Campbell and Dr Graham Lauridsen will be running a three year tracking project to see where the birds roam and how long they survive. The tracking devices are small, placed on the back of the cassowary’s neck, and the batteries last between three and five years. The birds will be tracked from a transceiver located in the bush near the release site in Hull River National Park south of the Hull River. The transceiver has a range of about five kilometers. Local residents will also be on the lookout any birds with the tracking devices if they travel further afield.

Daintree Cassowary Research

Wren McLean has been undertaking research into the ecology Cassowaries in the World Heritage listed Daintree Rainforest. We helped support the research by supplying trap cameras which take photos when creatures pass in front of the lens. Her research surveyed 31 sites for signs of cassowaries, used attractants to lure cassowaries to camera traps, and analysed the lowland fruit species eaten by cassowaries, particularly in the lean season.

Wren found signs of cassowaries at 94% of sites surveyed which is great news. Wrens research identified the main rainforest fruit species eaten by Cassowaries. Eighteen major fruiting species were identified and five of these fruit species represented 87% of the biomass consumed by Daintree Cassowaries: Blue Quandang, Kuranda Satinash, Cassowary Plum, Beilschmieda and Cassowary Satinash. The good news is that we’re growing all the identified species in our native nursery in the Daintree and planting them in our reforestation work. So we’re ensuring a good food supply for the Daintree Cassowaries in the future.

Thank you kindly for your support for this important project – your care and interest in our work enables Rainforest Rescue to operate these projects to help save the Endangered Southern Cassowary! Your support is having significant impact, assisting us to make great progress in securing a bio-diverse future for this unique species and its native rainforest habitat in Australia.

All this would not be possible without your generous support. Thank you!

Native seedlings: future Cassowary food supply
Native seedlings: future Cassowary food supply

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Nov 17, 2015

Welcoming rain during dry season in The Daintree

Seed propagation in the Native Daintree Nursery
Seed propagation in the Native Daintree Nursery

Today we have an update for you on the trees recently planted at our current restoration site located at Lot 96 in Cape Tribulation, Daintree. You may remember from our last update in August, we passed on the happy news that this important rainforest habitat corridor was now fully planted-out with budding new tree seedlings and that this stage of this restoration project was now complete. This milestone could only have been achieved with your support! Thank you.

Our Daintree Land Manager, Joe Reichl, reports that while October is usually the dry season in the Wet Tropics of Australia, light rains falling throughout the month have surprised many who originally forecast a ‘20% more dry than average month’. While this is great news for the tree seedlings that were planted out, it does also mean that it’s easy for any weeds to bounce back to life too. Weed control on and around restoration sites are an essential activity at this time, as it’s best to halt their spread before they can flower and then seed.

“This rain has been enough to set weeds off, but (not too) badly. We have some of the last month doing weed control and maintenance on the plantings.” Joe says. “In most cases (the rain) was not enough to not need to water trees at the nursery, however we do appreciate what is given.”

At Rainforest Rescue’s Daintree Native Plant Nursery, Joe reports that the tree seedlings maturing in the outdoor ‘hardening area’ did well from the consistent October rains.

“We have spent the last few months doing nursery work and weed control – the usual maintenance factors which we try to get on top of before the planting season begins. This method allows us to start (our next) plantings and not worry about maintenance for at least three months when it is hot.”

As per normal at this time of year when it is usually drier, as a priority for our Daintree Native Nursery operations, we undertake endemic native seed collection. This is because most seeds in this area of the Daintree rainforest are produced from around August to January. This is one of the most important activities for our team in the Daintree, as it helps guarantee the coming years’ season of seedling propagation for our ongoing restoration projects. These seedlings go on to become some of the more than 20,000 seedlings propagated annually at Rainforest Rescue’s Native Daintree Nursery!

Again, from all the team at Rainforest Rescue, we send our sincere thanks to you today for your ongoing care and concern – we can only carry out this vital work with your continued support. By adopting rainforest in the Daintree, you are helping to protect this very special, vulnerable area of tropical rainforest forever. Thank you!

Maturing seedlings at Lot 96 Cape Tribulation
Maturing seedlings at Lot 96 Cape Tribulation
Work at a restoration site, Daintree October 2015
Work at a restoration site, Daintree October 2015
Rainforest fruit seed collection activity
Rainforest fruit seed collection activity
Some rainforest fruit seed collection activity
Some rainforest fruit seed collection activity

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