Discussion in 'Australian Snakes' started by The Reptile Outlet, Sep 27, 2011.
Oenpelli Tours - a reality
I just want to let people know that the whole Oenpelli thing is happening including the captive breeding that will happen over the next few years. Most immediate will be the need to capture some founder animals. This will mean spending quite some time searching in the middle of Arnhemland. A place so special the only way in is via an hour helicopter ride. No roads, not tracks, no nothing. The only evidence of humans ever having been there are the paintings on the walls that stretch back some 40+ thousand years. I do not want to breach the rules of this web site so can only suggest to those of you who may be interested in this magnificent snake to look at my web site for further details. I am off to Arnhemland on Thursday and will report back via my web site as well as this forum the results of that trip. Kind regards Gavin
Good to hear Gavin!
It's refreshing to see a project like this that isn't shrouded in secrecy!
Absolutely fantastic news Gavin. If anyone can do it, you can. So looking forward to how you progress.
Please keep us posted...
Link to Gavin's web site?
Gavin, I'm sure you've thought this through but maybe its worth searching less remote areas. All the oenpellis I've seen photos of in the past few years have been within walking distance of roads. Litoria lorica was rediscovered outside of what was thought to be its prime habitat (Rainforest), oenpellis may be found more commonly outside of these remote locations.
This is my opinion, I hope people don't really believe bringing this species into captivity will do anything to save wild populations. The laws on releasing captive animals are so strict (for disease etc.) that I find it hard to believe this will ever be possible. Look at the frog breeding facilities pumping out corrorobee frogs, only to have to kill them off because they can't be released, and corrorobee frogs are a species that will soon be extinct in the wild.
The issue of saving them from cane toads is also a bit ridiculous, cane toads have yet to cause anything to go extinct in QLD, including frog specialist species where they have been for 70+ years. I don't know how long toads have been in kakadu but I'm sure its long enough to have already wiped them out, if it was going to. Odds are in favour of the snake.
Katy Gallagher | Chief Minister, Australian Capital Territory | Corroboree frogs released into the wild for the first time
Brining them into captivity may not save them in the wild, but what is learnt about them on these expeditions probably will go a long way in the overall conservation effort.
Gus, unfortunately, your information is wrong, and actually couldn't be further from the mark.
Both species of Corroboree Frogs are being bred for release, with reintroductions of both species taking place over the last two years. No individual has ever been "killed off because they can't be released". The captive populations are still in the building phase with most of the individuals yet to reach maturity. Once this occurs,every possible specimen will be bred, with offspring released as part of well-monitored reintroductions.
Looking at the frog breeding facilities - there are currently reinroduction programs taking place in Australia for 7 species, with an additional 1-2 to take place in coming years. There are strict conditions and permits required but nothing that can't be easily attained for a properly managed conservation project.
The only reason that Litoria lorica is still remaining in that isolated patch of marginal habitat is because of the open nature of that habitat, creating warmer microhabitat not allowing chytrid fungus to have as lethal an impact on the species. If not for disease, it would still be throughout the rainforest. As far as we aware, this is not a problem for Oenpellis.
I personally don't think Oenpelli's coming in to captivity will do anything in the short-term to save wild populations. However, if a core group of the animals remains genetically managed by studbook, should further declines occur due to whatever circumstance, there will be a population from which animals could be used for reintroduction or conservation research in the future. Additionally, if the captive population does as well the Rough-scaled Python project, there will never be the future temptation of illegal collection, as very few are likely to spend 300+ man hrs searching to collect these guys when you can purchase one for $350.
I like the idea of O.P's becoming available to the public. If they were for sale for 15K now, I would buy a pair but I would not outlay my money for something that will take about 5 years to see the hatchlings.
I support Gavin 110% in what he is doing though. He has always been at the front of the battle in regards to getting O.P's into the publics hands. Good work.
In regards to their rarity though, there is one keeper in the N.T that has seen over 25 animals in the wild, so unless he is a reptile finding freak of nature, they are more accessible then most think.
I know how long it took me to find my first M. viridis in the wild and yet once I have the area figured out, I can find upto 5 Chondro's within a few hours walking now. The same goes for A. warro. It took over 5 years to see my first one and now I have found 3 animals in the one night on foot.
Once Gavin finds his first animal, the rest will quickley follow.
In regaurds to wanting them for the dollar value..............O.P's would be priceless to me and I will own them as soon as they are advertised regardless of the asking price. After all, the only species of python that I keep at my private residence are two pairs of dirty ol' Rough Scaled's. My number two favourite species of reptile after.......yep you guessed it, O.P's
Macca and waterrat,
seems I was wrong, I did not realize this was the case with the frogs, when I last spoke to people from a certain frog breeding facility (last year) I was told they will killing the tadpoles produced because they're were to many and they couldn't do anything with them.
macca, I did not mean oenpellis were risk of disease, i was implying that i don't think it is necessary to go so far to find them. They have been getting found in easily accessible areas of the park, where there is roads and tracks
lets cool down for the moment.
We will open this topic in 24 hours again.
I have just spent five days roaming around Arnhemland looking for the big Ghosts with a friend from NSW. The country we were in was amazing with massive boulders and cave systems that went down forever. Being the stormy season we got smashed by rain every day and with daytime temperatures in the mid to high 30's it is not a place for everyone at this time of year. We found a number of critters that you dont often see like Carpenter frogs by the bucketload, also masked frogs and small Crinia (no idea on Sp.) high on top of the massifs we traversed. Saw ring tailed dragons and a couple of goannas - tree goanna (V. scalaris). ran into a few buffalo. Did we find the Ghost? No but we found two childrens pythons, the only pythons for the trip. Most common reptile - giant cave gecko by far. Looking forward to the end of the wet season now to get back up into that country and hope to have a few of you come with me. See the next edition of Scales and Tails for details. Cheers Gavin
There's an urgent need to secure this vulnerable and majestic species in captivity.
Captive breeding projects are becoming increasingly necessary in order to save endangered species.
New large horned viper discovered, but biologists keep location quiet
Thanks for the update Gavin.
Out of interest, one of photos on your website appears to
be of a hatchling/juvenile Oenpelli. Am I correct in assuming this was a captive specimen
from a past project?
It would be of interest to hear what time zones you are looking for this species and what period of year you would expect to find them out and about active. In the Pilbara I have had to learn the magic hours, moon phase, barometric pressure, humidity etc that make finding some critters after a while completely predicable. Being a species that intrigues me, I find what you are doing of great interest.
Another question, are these expeditions on film?
There are many people I need to thank for allowing me to 'borrow' some photos of the Ghost until I actually find one myself including the GURU Gunther Schmida for the hatcho shot and Stuart MacDonald for photos many will recognise. The photo of me holding an adult was from many years ago in Oenpelli township and it was released by Parks and Wildlife NT after being held by a person who didnt have a permit for it. Before being released I got to hold it - a thrill as you can imagine! Hope this helps. Cheers Gavin
Have you seen this?
Picasa Web Albums - Kel - Oenpelli Pyth...
I wonder how closely related Oenpellis are to Timorensis or are Timorensis closer to Scrubbys