There is something magical, mysterious and alluring about owls.
Australia is home to eleven species that collectively cover every state and territory.
From our smallest species the Southern Boobook, standing at 25 cm tall to our largest, the Powerful Owl at 65 cm, owls can be found in various habitats from wet rain forests to open woodlands.
Here, in Australia we have Ninox and Tyto genus of owls.
Nationally, the conservation status of all Australian owl species is ‘not in danger’. However, from state to state owls are facing their own problems due to two main issues.
The first is baiting of prey items such as mice to stop agriculture and farming losses.
The second, habitat loss, is a far bigger issue.
Most of our owl species rely heavily on old growth trees with hollows for breeding. Hollows take hundreds of years to form and land clearing is wiping out these trees at an alarming rate.
Fallow deer are amongst the most widely distributed around the world of all the deer species. Attractive, particularly when in their summer coat of light to reddish brown with white spots, this medium sized deer (bucks 90cm at shoulder, weight about 90kg; does proportionally smaller at 76cm, 40kg), has a range of colours which include black, white and menil. The latter is rather like the common fallow’s reddish brown and spotted coat, but retains this pelage throughout the year while the common fallow changes to a greyish brown in winter. The black and the white varieties also retain their colour in winter coat. The buck’s antlers are very complex with the most striking feature being the broad palm-like blades with trailing points which develop on the end of the main antler beams
Fallow deer were first introduced into Tasmania prior to 1850 with releases taking place in all of the eastern states of Australia – they are not known to be present in either Western Australia or the Northern Territory, but populations are thriving in all other states. Of more recent times, it is believed that escapes from deer farms, particularly during troubled times within the industry, may have contributed to expansion of the fallow deer range.
Rusa are closely related to the sambar, but smaller in stature (stags about 110cm at shoulder, weight about 140kg with hinds proportionately smaller (90cm, 80kg). Coat colour is a uniform grey-brown, variable between individuals and season. The body hair is coarse and notably sparse by comparison with other deer. Antlers are typically three tined with the beams forming a characteristic lyre shape.
The original stock of rusa which reached New South Wales from New Caledonia between 1861 and 1885 was the Javan race – a smaller subspecies, the Moluccan rusa, is located on some of the offshore islands north of the mainland. Liberations were made in New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia with the surviving population centred around Sydney’s Royal National Park and its surroundings.