Nature Kids Autumn 2023

Record-breaking animals & our planet’s future 

Toads vs Frogs

A park ranger in Queensland recently came across “Toadzilla” – a 2.7kg cane toad that may be the largest cane toad ever recorded!
Cane toads are an invasive species native to Central & South America, but introduced to Australia to control destructive beetles in sugarcane crops.
The toads have now spread across NSW & other parts of Australia. They are a pest because the toads poison &/or eat native animals, as well as eating some foods relied on by native insectivores.
Originally Australia had no predators or diseases to control cane toad numbers. But now some native species, such as the white ibis bird & rakali water rat have learnt how to eat the toads without being poisoned!

Did you know?  

Australia has no native toads, but we have frogs with poisonous skins & glands, for example red-crowned toadlets & corroboree frogs. 

Watch a video about Toadzilla & cane toads impacts on native animals 

World-record bird flight!

A 5-month-old bar-tailed godwit has broken the world record for non-stop bird flight.
The journey beat the previous record (also held by a godwit) by about 500km! One expert estimated that the bird lost at least half of its body weight during the continuous day & night flight.
The godwit, a type of wading bird, completed its 13,500 km flight from Alaska to Tasmania in 11 days.
Wait … how do we even know that? Well, the godwit was part of an international tracking study & had a satellite tag weighing just 5gm attached to it before the epic trip!
Learn more about this remarkable bird & find out where it took a wrong turn on its migratory flight!

Space mining to the rescue?!

has announced plans to launch two space missions in 2023: one to source platinum from a sample of asteroid-like material, & another to find an asteroid near Earth to mine.
Platinum is a metallic element with many uses, but space mining is full of unknowns & the full environmental & safety implications (eg, waste disposal) are not yet clear.
Some researchers argue that:
“Viable and responsible space mining is a very distant prospect.

But climate change is an urgent problem that needs solutions right now. …
Rather than space mining, positive environmental and social outcomes on Earth are better achieved by ensuring terrestrial mining is done in the most sustainable way possible.”
Want to know more about the pros & cons of space mining?

Did you know?

In December 2022, the United Nations’ (UN) Biodiversity Conference (COP15) led to a new global agreement – the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework. Over 190 countries committed to 23 targets relating to things like land & water conservation & management, reducing global food waste & the use of harmful chemicals; & making companies more accountable for their impact on biodiversity. 

At COP15 Australia, one of 17 “megadiverse” countries, also promised to host an international nature summit in 2024. 

Learn more about COP15 

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