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Welcome to the latest issue of our quarterly e-newsletter. We hope it will keep you up to date with our activities and projects in the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area.

Highlights in our news include the draft Wet Tropics Research Strategy and an invitation from Tourism Australia to develop a Wet Tropics proposal for the National Landscapes program.

If you have any comments, contact us on
07 4052 0531 or give us your feedback

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Andrew Maclean,
Executive Director

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Wet Tropics Research Strategy 2010-2014

The Wet Tropics Management Authority, in collaboration with the Wet Tropics Scientific Advisory Committee, has developed a draft strategy to position the Authority’s role in relation to research, and to identify key research questions that need attention. The draft strategy recognises WTMA’s need for strong and objective science on which to base management decisions, the importance of increasing regional research capacity and supporting the research community. We welcome and encourage you to read the draft strategy and the Invitation to stakeholders to comment. The invitation for comments is now extended to June 30. For further information, please contact Dr Steve Goosem on 4052 0563.

Cassowary Summit proceedings

The Authority and the Cassowary Recovery Team held a Cassowary Summit in September 2009 at the Tanks in Cairns. The summit provided an opportunity to share information and discuss cassowary issues to help protect this endangered species. The proceedings from the Cassowary Summit are now available on the Wet Tropics website.

Spott’s Snake Safety colouring in competition

WTMA has launched a colouring-in competition to encourage the community to appreciate and act safely around native wildlife, inspired by the Authority’s own pet python called Spott. The competition was launched with The Rainforest Habitat Wildlife Sanctuary to celebrate their 21st Birthday during the Port Douglas Carnival. Entry forms and further details are available from Rainforest Habitat or on the Wet Tropics website. You can also visit the WTMA stand at the Cairns Show to enter. The winner will receive a family pass to Breakfast with the Birds.

North Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Tourism Alliance

An Indigenous Tourism Alliance has been established to help place north Queensland on the map as a destination for cultural tourism. The Alliance is currently working with the Authority, Townsville Enterprise, Tourism Queensland, Tourism Tropical North Queensland, and the Commonwealth Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism. The Alliance was formed by participants at Indigenous tourism workshops held by the Wet Tropics Management Authority in October 2009. To find your local Alliance member please contact Katrina Beattie on 4052 0555.

Nominations for Cassowary Awards 2010

The twelfth annual Cassowary Awards will be held in November. Each year the Wet Tropics Management Authority recognises individuals and groups who have made outstanding contributions to the conservation and presentation of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. See our website for further information or to make nominations for the  Cassowary Awards or Young Cassowary Awards.


National landscapes

The Wet Tropics has recently been invited to express an interest in being considered for Tourism Australia’s National Landscapes program.

The proposal, coordinated by WTMA,is being developed in consultation with the tourism industry, conservation sector and local councils. Australia's National Landscapes are world-class landscapes distinctive to Australia. Each destination is rich with diverse, unique and immersive experiences.

Keep it Wild poster competition

WTMA has launched the Reef & Rainforest, Keep it Wild, poster competition with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. This year’s competition celebrates the Queensland school system’s Year of Environmental Sustainability and the International Year of Biodiversity, declared by the United Nations. To enter the competition, or for more details, please visit the Wet Tropics website.

Australia’s Tropical Land and Seas

WTMA has provided mapping of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area to the  e-ATLAS, including information on boundaries, zoning and the topography of the Area.Users can view a map of north Queensland.  and choose to overlay World Heritage boundaries, species distributions and biodiversity.

Information will continue to be added to the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area by researchers. The e-ATLAS is a partnership between many research providers, including the Reef and Rainforest Research Centre and the Australian Institute of Marine Science, to present information about Australia’s tropical terrestrial and marine environments.


Earthwatch Institute

Teach Live, an education volunteer program supported by the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, sponsored a team of teachers to participate in an Earthwatch expedition to learn about rainforest climate change research. The volunteers spent two weeks with Professor Steve Williams and his team from the Centre for Tropical Biology and Climate Change in the mountains of the Wet Tropics. The volunteers then returned to their schools to build educational resources for teachers with assistance from WTMA about the wildlife of the Wet Tropics. The teacher resources produced are now available on the Earthwatch Teach Live website.

School visits

WTMA staff visited local schools to teach students about the values of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area as part of the School Year of Sustainability. The Authority’s pet python, Spott, accompanied staff to visit Woree State School at the  Holloway’s Beach Environmental Education Centre to teach the students about biodiversity in the Wet Tropics. WTMA staff also recently participated in Sustainability week at Whitfield State School to teach students about the importance of rainforest, with activities based around the schools own patch of rainforest that was planted 21 years ago.

Savannah Guides

WTMA staff attended the Savannah Guides school held at Undara Experience in March, alongside QPWS staff. The Authority attended the school to research an eco-accreditation system currently under development for the Wet Tropics. During the school, the Memorandum of Understanding between Savannah Guides Ltd and Queensland’s Department of Environment and Resource Management / Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service was officially launched. Anne Greentree, Director of Tourism and Visitor Services QPWS, and Andy Ralph, President Savannah Guides, announced the milestone on the school’s first night. The MOU formalises the good relationship between the two organisations over the past five years.


Lemuroid ringtail possums under threat from climate change

WTMA is continuing to fund the research and monitoring of Lemuroid ringtail possums. They have already been identified as particularly sensitive to rising temperatures and may face extinction due to climate change. The possums are found in two distinct populations in the Carbine and Atherton Tablelands. Research has been carried out on the northern population by Professor Steve Williams, Director of the Centre for Tropical Biodiversity and Climate Change at James Cook University. A refugial area has been discovered with at least a few individuals. This population has undergone a dramatic decline in size and range and is now extremely vulnerable. Prof. Williams and his team will continue to intensively monitor the possum population, with assistance from WTMA and QPWS.

Quoll rescue

Wildlife Habitat, formally named The Rainforest Habitat Wildlife Sanctuary, run a wildlife care centre which rescues and rehabilitates injured and orphaned native wildlife bought in by members of the public. A recent patient, a northern quoll, was successfully released back to the wild during May. The quoll was rescued from inside a car by staff members who responded to a call from a member of the public. The quoll was then hand reared until it was mature and inspected by vets before it was returned to the wild.


Who to contact for injured wildlife

The Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service visitor centre formally located on the ground floor at 5b Sheridan Street, McCormack Place, Cairns, has now been relocated to the DERM Business Centre on the 3rd floor. There are no facilities or capacity to manage wildlife in the DERM Business Centre so, for injured or orphaned native wildlife, a member of the QPWS wildlife team or  Far North Queensland Wildlife Rescue should be contacted for advice and assistance.

Fungus mystery solved

The Authority receives many enquiries about unusual fungi like this recent one photographed near Daintree Village. WTMA staff, teamed together with international researchers and a New Zealand scientist, identified it as a tree pathogen, Phellinus noxius. The Wet Tropics is full of amazing fungi, which are an important food source for bettongs, cassowaries and other animals. For more information please see the Australian Tropical Herbarium or Australasian Mycological Society websites.


World Heritage in Young Hands

UNESCO has produced a World Heritage in Young Hands education kit for schools to share knowledge about heritage conservation with young people in the form of a journey through the world's magnificent cultural and natural heritage areas. This is ideal to use alongside WTMAs Rainforest Explorer education kit about the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area, and UNESCO will be soon be adding information about Rainforest Explorer to their website. Australia's World Heritage Education Program website has also gone live. Visit the website for more information and a poster, and to participate.

Our Place World Heritage

UNESCO’s Our Place World Heritage website has recently added new photos to the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area page. The website features stunning images from a variety of World Heritage Areas and the Wet Tropics is one of the latest to be added to the collection.

International Year of Biodiversity

As part of the United Nations International Year of Biodiversity, Lemuroid ringtail possums have been featured by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, Oceania. The IUCN will be highlighting a different theme each month. March was Conserving the Diversity of Life, which drew attention to the rate that animal and plant species are becoming extinct.

Governance and Government

Wet Tropics Activity Report

Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service has produced their Wet Tropics Region Activity Report for March 2010 to April 2010. It covers a range of land management and visitor services in the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area.


Mossman Gorge elevated boardwalk

Federal Environment and Heritage Minister, Peter Garrett, visited Mossman Gorge in the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area with Member for Leichhardt, Jim Turnour, on Tuesday 18 May, to see how work was progressing on the construction of a disabled access for an elevated boardwalk through Mossman Gorge, being carried out by the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service. The project is being funded under the Australian Government's Jobs Fund. QPWS will work closely with tourism operators, Cairns Regional Council and the community to maintain levels of access. QPWS will advertise closure and disruption details prior to works commencing. Should you have any queries, please contact Senior Ranger  Tina Alderson on 4098 2188.

The Australian Heritage Information website

The Heritage Chairs and Officials of Australia and New Zealand have now launched the Australian Heritage Information website. This site is a Commonwealth led project under the Cooperative National Heritage Agenda. It has been developed to provide a central point of access to the wealth of useful heritage tools, guidelines, heritage registers, other resources and publications. The site also incorporates the existing Australian Heritage Places Inventory search tool and the contact information and websites for other heritage organisations.

Wet Tropics community

Green travel leaders

WTMA are pleased to announce that Ecotourism Australia has recognised nine tourism operators in the Wet Tropics as Green Travel Leaders as part of the Year of Responsible Ethical & Sustainable Tourism. The Green Leaders are recognised as trail-blazers in responsible travel, having been ECO-certified for 10 years or more. The Authority would like to congratulate all the Green Leaders, which include The Rainforest Habitat Wildlife Sanctuary, Skyrail Rainforest Cableway, and the Daintree Discovery Centre.

Rainforest Habitat’s 21st Birthday

WTMA would like to congratulate The Rainforest Habitat Wildlife Sanctuary  who celebrated their 21st Birthday on Sunday 23 May, during the Port Douglas Carnivale. Rainforest Habitat has been a great supporter over the years as one of the Authority’s Wet Tropics Visitor Centres, helping to educate visitors and locals in the region about the values of the World Heritage Area. The highlights of the birthday celebration included the announcement by Charles Woodward of the new name Wildlife Habitat, to reflect the diversity of wildlife that visitors experience. The Fallon family were also announced as the winners of the Lumholtz’s tree kangaroo naming competition who named the latest male Joey Burnu, an Aboriginal name meaning tree.

2009 Serventy Medallist

WTMA congratulates Dr Carla Catterall for being awarded the D L Serventy Medal for 2009, for her outstanding contribution to the ornithological scientific literature. The D.L. Serventy Medal may be awarded annually for outstanding published work on birds in the Australasian region. It has been awarded for the last 15 years and is the highest award offered to professional ornithologists by Birds Australia. Dr Carla Catterall is an Associate Professor of Ecology at Griffith University and is a member of the Authority’s Scientific Advisory Committee. Her career spans over 30 years of research and teaching in environmental science.

NAIDOC Week 4–11 July

NAIDOC Week is an annual celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture.
This year it’s being held from 4–11 July. The Department of Environment and Resource Management will participate in a range of activities throughout the week. For more information on the events, such as the poster competition or awards, visit the National NAIDOC website.

Celebrate World Environment Day with Treeforce

Treeforce have organised a tree planting afternoon on Saturday June 5 to help celebrate World Environment Day. If you would like to participate in the tree planting from 3pm to 5pm, phone 0435 016 906 for more information.


t: 07 4052 0542 | f: 07 4031 1364
a: 1st Floor, 15 Lake Street, P O Box 2050, Cairns Q 4870
Visit our web site | email us here