Caroline and Terry Bellair downsized and tree changed. Like many Australians of their generation and class, they had money surplus to their needs. And they were at a stage of life where they were wondering what to do with it.
Last year, in a moment of catharsis, the Bellairs decided. They would donate $1 million to convert private property into nature reserves and help create habitat links for plants and animals to adapt to a changing climate.
Since Western naturalists first encountered the cassowary, the elusive but deadly bird has been shrouded in mysteries. Chief among them: the purpose of the cassowary’s large, rudder-like crest, known as a “casque”.
Now a team of Melbourne-based scientists say they have cracked the case open – and their answer could also apply to a suite of dinosaurs with similar cranial structures.
If you have ever driven a country highway in Australia, you have seen roadkill. Did you ever stop to consider it?
Scientist Emma Spencer, 28, not only thinks about the carcasses that litter the bush and our roadsides, she’s devoting her career to researching them. And it turns out all those dead animals could either push our unique native species, like the enigmatic night parrot, towards extinction – or help bring them back from the brink.
Australia’s “most important bird” – and one whose conservation some scientists consider the most urgent of any bird in the world – has just taken a significant step back from the brink of extinction.
The critically endangered plains-wanderer once roamed the grasslands surrounding Melbourne. So it is fitting that on these volcanic plains, for the first time in Victoria, the bird has been bred in captivity.
Michael Slot was on his hands and knees in a suburban park in Melbourne’s north-eastern outskirts when he came across a plant he didn’t recognise. It was small, white and – as far as wildflowers go – relatively nondescript. Most people would not have heard of it and almost certainly never have seen it.
For years snake enthusiasts have debated whether the fearsome death adder lived in Victoria before Europeans arrived and, if so, whether they are now extinct.
This week a team of researchers claimed to have definitively settled one half of that debate – and, in so doing, both opened a window into a lost era of the state’s natural history and raised fundamental questions about human-caused extinction.