Tuesday, May 15, 2012

STRANGE THINGS HAPPEN IN NAMADGI


Update: 18/5/12

I like the solitude of Namadgi. I have always felt safe apart from a few encounters with pigs and wild dogs but that has been a rarity over a very long time. Something happened recently to make me re-evaluate that solitude when I'm wandering in the bush. I have a video from a recent trail camera setting later in this post that was quite disturbing…

It’s only in the past few months that I have started putting out a trail-camera to capture a little wildlife.  I am actually endeavouring to capture quolls and also have an interest in the feral population as they are its greatest threat… Historically they were very common but despised by the settlers and ferals seem to have nearly finished the job. Anyway I digress…

I occasionally capture an unidentifiable animal. This does not indicate a new species although recent discoveries show we don’t know everything about what's in Namadgi. Strange stuff seems to happen out there. Occasionally a strange photo emerges that only provides a portion of the animal. The first strange photo came in the shape of a blond hairy thing that I estimate to be only 12” high…


And enlarged...


What is it? I don’t know. I went through everything from fox, dog, and cat to billy goats beard… I can't think of anything with that length hair or colour. I determined it was a feral of some sort caught at an unusual angle.

Next photograph is I presume of a marsupial but I can detect neither head nor tail…


And enlarged...


Anyway… I have found things like this quite fascinating… until recently when I captured one clip that blew me out.

All I can do here is provide you with the information that was presented to me which is a 15 second video clip taken by an infra red motion activated camera. I had arrived at the location, it was late and getting cold. I had a walk down a rarely used access track to a random position in the bush to position a camera on a well used animal trail. 

It was a quick visit, alone, and it took me less than 2 minutes to position the camera, arm it and walk away.
Eight days later I returned to collect the SD card and went home. All up the camera had collected 20 photographs and a corresponding amount of 15 second videos… 

Damn... I had set the camera too high up the tree and was only collecting the odd wallabies head and the back of what I suspect was a feral dog. A missed opportunity to add a dog to a collection of fox, hare and pig photos I currently have.


The corresponding videos weren’t much chop either and I went through them one more time before deleting the SD card. When I reviewed the first video it was of course the one of me leaving having turned on the unit… the first 15 second video activated as I walked away.

It is probably worth noting that at 1 meter a second I could have been as far as 15 metres away from the camera by the time the clip finished. Roll camera...


Its only lucky I watched 10 seconds past the sight of me hanging around setting the camera. I usually delete them when I identify them.


It’s nice to have friends with the technical know-how to rip a raw file video down to its bare pixels and the best guess is this is a human being wearing what appears to be a stocking on his beanie covered head. It is also possible that he wore glasses…

I think the disturbing thing was the closeness of this individual to me without my knowledge. The ground covering is so noisy with bark, twigs and leaf litter that he would have had to be a ninja to come up to me so I can only assume he had gone to ground there before I arrived. Also when I reviewed this 8 day old video it dawned on me I was a long way from any assistance.

Now I’m assuming this individual who, for whatever reason, was sitting in the middle of nowhere wearing a stocking over his head at 4.30 in the afternoon had no malicious intent obviously as I’m here to tell the tale but he was pretty brazen poking his head out when I was only 10 seconds away.

I’m also assuming the AFP didn’t have any black ops training exercises going on because I wouldn’t have been able to gain access to the area surely, so I am only left with sinister ideas as with my children’s input of dope growers… surely minus 5 degree nights rule that out?.  Mass murderer disposing of his bodies was another… Canberra's Belangalo?… and surprisingly bow hunters which eventually made a little sense.

This led me to the idea that maybe there were poachers (hunters), probably going for pigs, laying wait on game trails in Namadgi. I had seen no other vehicles but then I presume that a hunter would park a long way away and walk. 

It’s the only logical explanation I can think of… he didn’t jump out and say boo… or hit me from behind… he just watched me set a camera. What is really weird is that when I returned for the SD card the unit was still there… I'm surprised at this if he saw the camera and was trying to be covert.

I probably wouldn’t mention it, as it was now nearly 2 weeks ago, but on the off chance you are reading this Mr. Balaclava man...  If you weren’t up to no good why didn’t you just say hello? Email me and let me know what you were doing. By the way TAMS puts out dozens and dozens of cameras mate…

So that’s it… I thought it strange enough to mention. Be safe out there.

Update: 18/5/12 ACT Gov Media Release 'Illegal hunters in Namadgi targeted...


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