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Campfire restrictions extended due to increasing fire risk


In the interests of public safety, the Parks and Wildlife Service (PWS) has brought in extensive campfire restrictions as the fire risk continues to increase this summer.More

Improved toilet facilities at Bruny Island


The Parks and Wildlife Service has completed work on a new toilet facility at the Bruny Island Neck Game Reserve.More

Further upgrade to South Coast Track


The South Coast Track is one of Tasmania's great bushwalks, and the completion of recent upgrades has significantly improved the user experience along the track before the start of the peak walking season.More

Building expertise in caring for sea birds and marine mammals


Parks and Wildlife Service (PWS) staff are better prepared to care for sea birds in the event of an oil spill, and the northwest community is better placed to respond to whale or dolphin strandings, following workshops held at Ulverstone last week.

Full day workshops on Oiled Seabird Training were held on 18 and 19 June, with a total of 31 participants, including 20 staff, two veterinarians and nine wildlife specialists. The aim of the training was to provide staff and other specialists with an understanding of their roles in dealing with a large oil spill involving seabirds.

Environment Protection Authority marine pollution officer, Letitia Lamb,  provided a very informative talk on the structure of an oil spill response, including how PWS and Resource Management and Conservation staff (RMC) would be involved, their roles, teamwork, and expectations within the Incident Command System (ICS).

PWS education and interpretation officer Ingrid Albion focussed on how staff would deal with volunteers and provide a safe work environment for both staff and volunteers. Wildlife expert Nick Mooney described the oiled seabird response at the 1995 Iron Baron oil spill, identifying many outcomes and learnings from this event. He also provided a session on capture, handling and transport of different bird species. Participants worked in teams, practicing sound OHS routines while learning how to correctly hold, clean and then ensure the bird’s feathers were sufficiently waterproof before release,  under the guidance of highly skilled bird rescuer Darroch Donald, a visitor reception officer at Freycinet.

Ingrid said the workshops were a great success and participants achieved a good understanding of the issues surrounding incidents involving oiled sea birds.

Two more one-day workshops are planned for Hobart on 22 and 23, July 2014.

There was an equally enthusiastic response to the First Response Volunteer Marine Day on 20 June which was also held at Ulverstone, with 11 staff and 24 volunteers attending. Participants were trained in whale rescue, oiled seabird response and seal minding. The course provides staff and volunteers with an opportunity to understand their roles within the ICS, safe working practices and best practice whale rescue, as well as learning about seals, whales and oiled seabirds.

Participants gained hands-on experience in how to safely put a dolphin on a whale mat and how hard it is to move a pilot whale, under the guidance of regional volunteer facilitator Steve Mansfield, and with the help of the PWS life-sized pilot whale model.

Following the training, it’s hoped to form a First Response Volunteer team in the Ulverstone area. As a result of previous training days, there are now teams based at Stanley and on King Island.

The training days were made possible by funding from Cradle Coast NRM and Wildcare Inc. Staff and volunteers travelled from as far away as Hobart, Launceston, Strahan, Queenstown, Stanley and King Island to attend the workshops.

Building expertise in caring for sea birds and marine mammals

Expert bird rescuer Darroch Donald shows Sandra Beams how it's done.

Building expertise in caring for sea birds and marine mammals

There was plenty of heavy lifting going on as participants see how difficult it is lifting a model pilot whale onto the whale mat. Staff supervising (from left) are Mark Inglis, Ingrid Albion, Darroch Donald and Steve Mansfield.

Building expertise in caring for sea birds and marine mammals

They're on the move and brr! that water is cold.

Building expertise in caring for sea birds and marine mammals

The EPA's Letitia Lamb looks on while Parks staff (from left) Peter Hefferon, Kelvin Barrett and Eddie Staier practice bird washing techniques.