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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…)

    Trapped in the desert – part four

    By Jack Ashby, on 31 March 2011

    A delayed account of zoological fieldwork in Australia – Part 10

    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.

    Week Eleven

    This week I’ll discuss something interesting and unexpected that happened on our way back out of the desert – some community engagement. (more…)

    Trapped in the desert – part three

    By Jack Ashby, on 24 March 2011

    A delayed account of zoological fieldwork in Australia – Part 9
    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.

    Week Ten

    Last week I went through some of the activities I was involved in when I joined a month-long field trip to southwest Queensland’s Simpson Desert with the University of Sydney. This week I want to talk about the people who I was with… (more…)

    Trapped in the desert – part two

    By Jack Ashby, on 17 March 2011

     

    Cattle and zebra finch

    A delayed account of zoological fieldwork in Australia – Part 8
    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.

    Week Nine

    Last week I went through the tactics for trapping small animals in pitfall traps in the Simpson Desert where I spent a month with the University of Sydney’s Desert Ecology Research Group. This week I’ll talk about some of the other things that we did while we were there. (more…)

    Trapped in the desert – part one

    By Jack Ashby, on 10 March 2011

    A delayed account of zoological fieldwork in Australia – Part 7

    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.

    Week Eight

    Having spent the last month in the cool temperate rainforests, alpine highlands and green misty sclerophyll forests of Tasmania working on devil facial tumour disease fieldwork, it was going to take some adjusting to the climate I was expecting camping in the middle of the Simpson Desert. Fortunately it wasn’t a sudden change as it took three days for the team from the University of Sydney to reach camp, 2400km northwest, nearly halfway up the border of Queensland, and the Northern Territory. (more…)