The Naturetrek tour led by Tim to Borneo in April-May was a great success, with many special species seen, including a Malay porcupine, Sunda skunk, large frogmouth and endangered otter civets. A drought-induced fruit shortage was driving orangutans towards unusual foods, and one was watched eating palm shoots, and then chewing grass shoots while on the ground.
Billy Griffith’s Deep Time Dreaming became Book of the Year at the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards. Tim was one of the non-fiction judges who voted for this book to share first prize in the non-fiction category, which put it in contention for the higher award. Tim strongly recommends this book about Australian archaeology.
After the devastating floods in north Queensland in February, Tim was interviewed by ABC North Queensland, ABC Western Queensland, and Radio Star FM in Townsville, talking about the weeds and pests that can be expected to benefit from the supersaturated soils. Farmers will need help to control them.
Tim had an opinion piece in The Guardian in January. The paper ran a series of stories about invasive species, and invited Tim to provide an article about the breadth of the problem and responses required. Tim noted that “Politicians face repeated calls to reduce emissions and stop land clearing, but there isn’t much public pressure for better biosecurity.” Australians should be concerned about the invasive species we don’t have yet, such as Asian black-spined toads, rock snot, and various diseases killing eucalypts and wattles grown overseas.
Tim produced a major report on climate change impacts on the Gondwana Rainforests World Heritage Area in Queensland for the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service and Healthy Land and Water, Brisbane. The report assesses recent changes reported by biologists and park rangers, and provides recommendations for future national park management. The region has several species confined to high altitudes including the endangered black-tailed dusky antechinus (Antechinus arktos) and the rainforest cool-skink (Harrisoniascincus zia).
He has discontinued his fortnightly blog for Australian Geographic, but past blogs remain online.
Tim is spending much of his time working on his next book. He will visit Chile in November to study the Gondwanan connections between Australia and South America.
Last July Tim led a Nature- trek group on a tour of Borneo which was exceptionally fortunate. In one 90 minute period at night, the group saw a clouded leopard, two sun bears, two elephants and four porcupines.
The clouded leopard remained visible for seven minutes, passing less than three metres from Tim in the vehicle.
The bears were seen climbing down from their tree hole. Other species seen included lorises, leopard cats and Whitehead’s trogons.
The Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) in Hobart has published a book, Eat the Problem, with a chapter by Tim. The book has recipes for cooking introduced pest species, and Tim’s chapter explains why harvesting of invasive species often worsens pest problems rather than decreasing them, by turning them into a valued resource.
Tim will be a keynote speaker at the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators Annual Conference in Brisbane in July, speaking about Where Song Began.
In October he will speak at the Bird Haven Festival at Shoalhaven Heads.
In January, Where Song Began toured Tasmania. This is a musical celebration of birds inspired by Tim’s book and performed by Simone Slattery and Anthony Albrecht. Simone was interviewed about the work in Limelight. Tim appeared with the pair when they performed at a memorable event in St Mary’s Kangaroo Point in Brisbane.
Before that Tim appeared on the ABC Radio National Program Off Track, in a segment about Simone and Anthony. They have performed Where Song Began in New York, London, Melbourne, Perth and elsewhere.
After an international edition of Where Song Began was published by Yale University Press, Tim was invited to speak about it at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the leading organisation for the study of birds in the Americas, in upstate New York, in May last year.
Tim was interviewed on radio by Dr Karl about native species expanding their frontiers, as depicted in his book The New Nature. Tim gave a talk about this topic last year at the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art, and as a keynote speaker at the National Wildlife Rehabilitation Conference in Sydney.
More news about Where Song Began can be found here.
Tim Low with Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews (Photo: Matt Deller)