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  • Where is the wild?

    By Jack Ashby, on 12 May 2011

    The wilderness can feel pretty wild, but this has been farmed for decades. Is it still natural?

    The wilderness can feel pretty wild, but this has been farmed for decades. Is it still natural?

    A delayed account of zoological fieldwork in Australia – Part 15

    For the past 14 weeks I’ve been writing the account of the five months I spent on ecological fieldwork in Outback Australia. This is the final post for that trip. I visited many of the world’s major ecosystem types – rainforest and desert, alpine and coral reef, moorland and woodland, heath and kelp forest, monsoonal woodland and swamp. I trapped, tracked, handled, spot-lit, sampled and photographed some of my most favourite animals. Not wanting to boast, but I had a frankly awesome time.

    A few weeks back I wrote about what makes an animal wild. To finish this series I’d like to ask a similar question of the landscape. Over the course of those five months I barely went inside, or even saw a building for that matter. Sleeping in a tent, cooking on a fire, drinking from a stream and washing in a bucket certainly should make you feel like you’re living relatively wild. At least with respect to my London life. (more…)

    What price science?

    By Jack Ashby, on 5 May 2011

    A delayed account of zoological fieldwork in Australia – Part 14

    From April 2010 I spent about five months undertaking several zoological field projects across Australia. I worked with government agencies, universities and NGOs on conservation and ecology studies ranging from Tasmanian devil facial tumour disease, the effect of fire, rain and introduced predators on desert ecology and how to poison cats. This series of blog posts is a delayed account of my time in the field.

    Weeks Sixteen to Nineteen – part 3

    In the last couple of weeks I’ve been describing the final field project on this trip, joining ecologists from the Australian Wildilfe Conservancy (AWC) on a full faunal survey of their sanctuary on the Arhnem Land Plateau in the Northern Territory. During this one month expedition I encountered more snakes than I had throughout my whole life previously. Snakes on field work is the topic of this week’s post.

    Carefully handling a funnel trap containing a brown snake

    Carefully handling a funnel trap containing a brown snake – trying to identifying without touching the snake.

    (more…)

    Cane toads ate my baby

    By Jack Ashby, on 28 April 2011

    A delayed account of zoological fieldwork in Australia – Part 13

    From April 2010 I spent about five months undertaking several zoological field projects across Australia. I worked with government agencies, universities and NGOs on conservation and ecology studies ranging from Tasmanian devil facial tumour disease, the effect of fire, rain and introduced predators on desert ecology and how to poison cats. This series of blog posts is a delayed account of my time in the field.

    Weeks Sixteen to Nineteen – part 2

    Last week I described how we went about trapping small fauna at the Australian Wildlife Conservancy’s Wongalara sanctuary in the Northern Territory’s Top End. This week I want to talk about cane toads and some of the other feral beasts around. (more…)

    Gotta catch ’em all – Top End Trapping

    By Jack Ashby, on 21 April 2011

    A delayed account of zoological fieldwork in Australia – Part 12

    Burton's snake lizard

    Burton’s snake lizard from a funnel trap

    From April 2010 I spent about five months undertaking several zoological field projects across Australia. I worked with government agencies, universities and NGOs on conservation and ecology studies ranging from Tasmanian devil facial tumour disease, the effect of fire, rain and introduced predators on desert ecology and how to poison cats. This series of blog posts is a delayed account of my time in the field.

    Weeks Sixteen to Nineteen – part 1

    For my final bit of fieldwork I joined a team of ecologists from the Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC) at one of their sanctuaries, carved out of the incredible Arnhem Land Plateau in the monsoonal forest of the Northern Territory’s Top End. (more…)