A Rolling Stone …

The Department of Agriculture makes the news again.

Having ensured that no Nicobar Pigeon without the appropriate paperwork becomes a permanent resident they have incinerated a couple of green blobs.

The Sydney Morning Herald

Australian customs officials destroyed two irreplaceable plant specimens that were being loaned to scientists by international institutions, prompting one of the institutions to suspend all transfers to Australian scientists.

France’s National Museum of Natural History and New Zealand’s Landcare Research Allan Herbarium had sent the samples, which dated back to the 19th century, to help with Australian research, but they were intercepted by customs officers due to inaccurate paperwork …

… Neither the French or New Zealand institutions were informed of the decision to destroy their lichen, nor were the Australian scientists who were due to receive the samples. Normally a sender or recipient would be informed if there was a threat to destroy imported items.

Michelle Waycott, a professor of plant systematic at the University of Adelaide and chairwoman of the Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, said the specimens were to be used to determine whether new plant species had been discovered in Australia.

“These specimens are also the last remaining evidence that they were present in a particular location,” Professor Waycott said.

Presumably they were in separate packages coming from two different senders. Who was it that said “To lose one husband is unfortunate, to lose two is careless“?

Pigeon pie …

The capture was reported to quarantine services and the bird was removed by Department of Agriculture officials.

The bird in question was a Nicobar Pigeon, The Australian reports …

If the extinct dodo was dumb, its closest relative the Nicobar pigeon may be considered adventurous, after one of the birds native to South East Asia and the South Pacific was found in Western Australia’s north.

The indigenous Bardi Jawi rangers first spotted the colourful, near endangered bird last month at Chile Creek on the Dampier Peninsula in the Kimberley region – far from its usual habitat between India and the Solomon Islands.

Senior ranger Kevin George said there were many sightings of the bright bird before it was captured at a One Arm Point front yard earlier this week.

This is a species that is mostly found on islands but does visit adjacent mainland coasts. It is found in Timor and New Guinea. The article gives the impression that it has made a huge journey to get here – it ain’t necessarily so.  Timor is about 600 km north of the Dampier Peninsula and the crossing is made easier by the Islands of Ashmore Reef , directly on route.

Nicobar Pigeon

Australia is a part time home to dozens of migratory species that cross the sea to our north. If the Department of Agriculture is going to collect them all they’re going to be very busy.

So why  “collect” this one.

The Nicobar Pigeon is classified as Near Threatened by the IUCN.