World Elephant Day

elephants

Sunday, 12th August 2018 is World Elephant Day! It is an international annual event dedicated to the preservation and protection of the world’s elephants.

Elephants once roamed from the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in western Asia to as far east as China’s Yangtze River. Asian Elephants can survive anywhere from grasslands to rain forests, but they must migrate across large areas to find water and suitable food at different times of the year. Such vast ranges have become extremely rare in densely populated, rapidly developing Asia. There are only 30,000 of these amazing Asian Elephants left in the wild and that number is declining fast. Taronga Zoo’s elephants originated from elephant camps in the tourist industry and now, rather than performing rides or begging on city streets, they are participating in Australia’s first conservation breeding program.

The image shown above is available to purchase on a range of products on Redbubble.

 

International Tiger Day

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Sunday 29th July 2018 is International Tiger Day, also known as Global Tiger Day or World Tiger Day.

Since the beginning of the 20th century wild tiger numbers dropped by more than 95%. Tigers used to roam across most of Asia, but now they’re restricted to just 7% of their original range, in isolated forests and grasslands across 13 countries. As apex predators, tigers play an important role in maintaining balance in their environment.

The World Wildlife Fund in partnership with conservation groups around the world are aiming to double the number of tigers in the wild by 2022, the next Chinese Year of the Tiger. You can do your part by making sure you buy forest-friendly products like certified paper and wood products, certified sustainable palm oil and sustainable coffee.

Let there be light!

2018 Vivid 01

It’s that time of year again that Vivid Sydney lights up the city! Vivid Sydney is an annual festival of light, music and ideas. It turns Sydney into the world’s largest outdoor art-gallery featuring light art sculptures, light installations and grand-scale projections.

Between the 25th May and the 16th June 2018 from 6pm to 11pm each night from the sails of the Sydney Opera House and the arch of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, through the historic Rocks and the Royal Botanic Gardens the city lights up.

This year Vivid Sydney is celebrating it’s 10th year and is also celebrating 100 years of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie with a 10 minute light projection on Customs House at Circular Quay.

May Gibbs is one of Australia’s best loved classic childrens’ book illustrators and authors. She based her characters and scenery on the plants found in the Australian bush during time spent as a child in Western Australia and on visits to the Blue Mountains near Sydney.

The Gumnut Babies, May’s classic book about Australian bush fairies was first published in 1916 and was followed by her most famous creations of all, Snugglepot and Cuddlepie in 1918.

When she died in 1969, May Gibbs bequeathed the copyright from her designs to The Northcott Society and Cerebral Palsy Alliance. Through her foresight, proceeds from the sale of May Gibbs products have supported thousands of Australian children with disabilities and their families.

For further information, visit maygibbs.org

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Happy World Otter Day!

The aim of World Otter Day is to draw attention to otters around the world. Small-clawed otters are classified as vulnerable on the ICUN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) Red List. Despite being a protected species, their numbers in the wild are decreasing due to rapid habitat loss, hunting and pollution.

The Asian Small-clawed Otter is the smallest of the 13 Otter species, less than a metre long, nose to tail tip and weighing up to 5kg. In parts of India, China and South-east Asia, otters are traditionally trained to help fishermen, catching fish and returning them to the boat in exchange for a reward.

My otter photos are available on a range of products on Redbubble.

Through the haze

smoke haze

Today is a beautiful autumn day in Sydney. The sun is shining and there’s not a cloud in the sky but it’s not a prefect day for all of the tourists at Circular Quay to get their ideal shots of Sydney’s iconic Harbour Bridge and Opera House. Visibility across the harbour is limited and there’s a slight orange tinge to the light. Sydney is covered in smoke haze.

One of the great things about Sydney is that it is surrounded by some fantastic national parks and bushland. However, in order to protect lives and property during bushfire season there sometimes needs to be hazard reduction burning.  The following map is taken from the Fires Near Me website on 29th May 2018 and shows just some of the hazard reduction fires in the Sydney Basin.

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The good news for those with asthma and other respiratory ailments is that there is rain expected for tonight which should make tomorrow’s air clearer.

A new world record for Australia!

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On Wednesday 23rd May 2018 the Australian National University in partnership with Stargazing Live encouraged people all around Australia to join together to break the world record for the largest number of people simultaneously stargazing. The previous record of 7,960 people was well and truly eclipsed (you see what I did there!) by the more than 40,000 people that pointed their telescopes or binoculars towards the moon. I was a little late to the party and didn’t get to one of the many official events around the country so instead I just popped outside and pointed my camera towards the moon instead.

Congratulations to all of those who were part of the official world record!

From ABC News: “Stargazing Live breaks world record for most people looking at the night sky at once.”

Drummoyne Reservoir

Drummoyne Water Tower

Drummoyne is a leafy suburb in Sydney’s Inner West that is surrounded on three sides by Sydney Harbour and the Parramatta River.  While the waterfront properties have views of the magnificent harbour, those in the centre of Drummoyne have views of the Heritage Listed Drummoyne Reservoir (a.k.a. the Tank).

The Drummoyne Reservoir is one of a group of four elevated steel water supply service reservoirs built between 1910 and 1915 as part of the Sydney metropolitan water supply system. It served as a storage reservoir for Drummoyne from 1913 until the mid-1960s. It was formally disconnected from the system in 1994.

In a move that is being opposed by the local Council, Sydney Water is proposing selling off the Reservoir on the open market. Canada Bay Council is currently seeking signatures for a petition requesting that the site be retained as a public asset, restored and decontaminated, and used as a public park.

Big Cats: Predators under threat

tiger 1aSaturday March 3rd 2018 is World Wildlife Day. This year’s focus is “Big Cats: Predators Under Threat”.

All the world’s big cats are facing various threats. But it is still possible to protect these extraordinary animals and the places they inhabit. Find more on wildlifeday.org

The Sumatran tiger is an apex predator and plays a critical role in balancing the ecosystem, but sadly it’s estimated there are less than 400 left in the wild.

You can make a real difference by buying products made by Australian companies that only use RSPO Certified Sustainable Palm Oil.

Australian Reptiles

It’s the Australia Day long weekend and time to celebrate some of our wonderful Australian wildlife.

Australian Birds

It’s the Australia Day long weekend and time to celebrate some of our wonderful Australian wildlife.

Gorilla conservation & Dian Fossey

gorilla 10

January 16th 2018 would have been Dian Fossey’s 86th birthday. Dian was known for her study of mountain gorillas in Rawanda. Along with Jane Goodall (chimpanzees) and Birute Galdikas (orangutans), Dian Fossey was recognised as one of the world’s foremost primatologists.

For more gorilla photos take a look at my Gorilla collection on Redbubble.

Straya!

Many people from other countries have preconceptions about Australia. When travelling Australians often find themselves having to explain to others that no, there are not kangaroos hopping down the street in the middle of the city. They live in the countryside or occasionally in isolated pockets of bushland or National Park in quiet suburban areas. Then this happens:

Wallaby hops along Sydney Harbour Bridge, surprising early morning motorists” (from ABC News)

While I wasn’t on the bridge in the early hours of this morning to get a photo of the wayward wallaby, I have previous taken photos of the wallabies resident at Taronga Zoo.

Taronga 75 Wallaby

Photo taken at Taronga Zoo, Sydney on a Nikon Coolpix P610.

This image is available to purchase on a range of products on Zazzle and Redbubble.

Kangaroo

Taronga 54 Kangaroo

With the summer heat combined with the long school holidays, many parents are probably feeling like they would happily join this kangaroo in taking a quiet nap under the shade of a tree around about now.

Photo taken at Taronga Zoo, Sydney on a Nikon Coolpix P610.

 

Olive Python

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The summer holidays are the off-season for many TV shows. This year that meant that a few of the stations put full seasons of the old Australian dramas onto their streaming services so as you could binge on classic Aussie drama. It seems as though every long-running Australian drama must have an episode featuring a life-and-death encounter with a venomous snake. Not surprisingly, they don’t seem to want to expose their actors to actual life threatening situations so they will often have a much more friendly non-venomous snake like this olive python play the part of the snake.

While not venomous, the olive python is one of Australia’s largest pythons, growing to almost 4 metres. They can be found across northern Australia in mountain ranges and savannah woodlands and favour rocky gorges and watercourses. They are mainly nocturnal and will shelter in rock crevices and hollows during the day. They are great swimmers and will hunt in water.

This image is available to purchase on a range of products on Redbubble.

Sydney’s waterways

With searing temperatures, we’re in the middle of a tough couple of days here in Sydney. The cooler coastal areas of the city had temperatures yesterday reaching 43°C/109°F, with the western suburbs soaring to 47°C/117°F. Some are lucky enough to have air-conditioning and backyard pools but others need to find other ways to beat the heat. Perhaps it’s a good time to head down to the waterside in the hopes of the breeze coming off the water being slightly cooler? Time once again to show some appreciation for our glorious rivers, harbour and beaches!