ABSTRACT

A citizen science project was begun on 11 February 1997 with a regular live-to-air wildlife talkback segment on ABC North Coast NSW Local Radio. Listeners were encouraged to phone in to report interesting observations. This public endeavour aimed to promote interest in wildlife among the listeners and to find the range of interest that the public have with wildlife, determined by the number of species that listeners would report. The 18 years of wildlife talkback radio resulted in 342 identifiable species discussed providing evidence that the public was interested in a very wide array of wildlife species. Additional to the reports of well-known fauna species, one report of an extinct bird was received and unusual reports were regularly received describing mammals unknown to Australian zoology. This paper includes some of the stories that were received and these may contain errors and fabrications. They are recorded here so that others can learn of them. Parts of this paper are excerpts from my book, Australian Cryptozoology, and this paper now also gives new information. The only physical evidence for the existence of one of these animals was the discovery of a unique method of predation on wood-boring beetle larvae. This involved the precise removal of pieces of wood, 12 to 15 cm long, 3 to 4 cm wide and 1 to 2 cm thick, within one metre of the ground. This created distinctive vertical slots in the base of small green wattle trees Acacia irrorata. On the 27th and 28th October 2003 in the Jimna State Forest adjacent the Conondale National Park in South-east Queensland over 500 trees were examined and found to contain this precise method of predation on wood-boring beetle larvae.

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