Chasing Skippy in Scotland
Virtually no place on earth has avoided ravages of introduced plants and animals, and these introduced creatures are recognised as one of the three most significant causes of wildlife population decline.
Professor Glen Chilton, a JCU ornithologist and behavioural ecologist, has travelled the world on the trail of the invaders.
“While Australia has been invaded by the likes of cane toads, rabbits, camels and lantana, we have also exported a few pests of our own,” Professor Chilton said.
“I had to brave crocodiles, big guns and diarrhoea to explore the Australian eucalyptus forests that are found over most of Ethiopia.”
From red-necked wallabies in Scotland to rhododendrons threatening to choke out the last of the UK’s great oak forests, Glen has documented wildlife gone wrong in his latest book, The Last Place You’d Look for a Wallaby.
The book is a witty account of a very serious environmental issue, written by a self-proclaimed obsessive scientist who is rather prone to mishaps.
Along with many tales of environmental disaster, Professor Chilton found that some pests weren’t all that pesky, while others appeared to be self-managing.
“Roman snails – which arrived in Britain with, unsurprisingly, the Romans – have settled in well and are now protected in England. In Canada introduced crested mynas multiplied freely for their first fifty or so years and then went into a decline, until now there are none.”
Professor Chilton will speak about the adventures that led to his latest book – part science, part whacky travelogue – at James Cook University in Cairns on Wednesday 13 March.
The presentation will begin at 5.30 pm in the Crowther Theatre at JCU in Smithfield.
Issued March 8, 2013
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