Tom Melville 00:00
Hello, I'm Tom Melville. Welcome to Voice of Real Australia. Each episode we bring you people, places, and perspectives from beyond the big cities. This week we're going to Tasmania, to find out more about the largest recorded stranding of pilot whales ever.
Luke Emmett 00:15
When I first got there, I didn't realise it was all the whales out there until you seen the water splashing where the big whales were stuck. It kind of looked like a dead trees in a forest.
Tom Melville 00:27
But first, did you know that In the Hunter Valley, on the edge of the Barrington Tops National Park - in an area of alpine and sub-alpine wilderness a few hours north of Newcastle, Tasmanian devils are making a home for themselves? It's the first population wild on the mainland since dingoes wiped them out three thousand years ago. The Tassie Devil is under serious threat in its home ranges. Devil Facial Tumor Disease has killed thousands of them, reducing populations by up to 90% since it was discovered in the late 90s. The animal could soon be extinct on the island, but a number of insurance colonies are being maintained in Tasmania should the worst happen. And last year, AussieArk - a group dedicated to ensuring the ma rsupial's survival - released 26 devils back into the wild at their sanctuary in the Barrington tops. To find out more, producer Laura Corrigan and I visited the devils at their home, what Aussie Ark calls a little slice of Tasmania on the Australian mainland.
Tom Melville 01:23
So it's about half the size of the soccer ball. Slightly more cuddly than soccer balls typically are.
Laura Corrigan 01:31
Can you tell them apart?
Kelly Davis 01:33
Yes. So this one here is Phyllis. And this is little Dwight.
Laura Corrigan 01:41
And I understand Dwight lives with you you.
Kelly Davis 01:43
Are yeah they both do yeah, it'scertainly an interesting little household we've got up there the moment
Tom Melville 01:50
Within moments of our arrival, two adorable devil joeys are thrust into my arms. Kelly Davis has been raising them by hand at her home, she lives full-time up here on the mountain.
Kelly Davis 02:00
You learn to be really organised with your shopping and things because you forget a bottle of milk then you're not going on the three hour round trip to get some. So you definitely have to be a little bit more organised. But yeah, I love it up here. It's it's an amazing place to be.
Tom Melville 02:13
The Devil joeys are cute, and playful. They nuzzle into my arms, one nibbles on my finger, my sleeve. But don't make great pets.
Kelly Davis 02:21
They're very sweet when they're little. When they grow up no I wouldn't call them a good, good pet I don't think. They very much decide during that sexual maturity time that they're devils in and they act as such. So they're not tame or domesticated or anything like that. They just have an association with people that does fade over time. And then I go back to devilish life
Tom Melville 02:45
Kelly has raised 8 devils by hand so far -- joeys that can't be taken care of by their mothers for one reason or another -- and says it's always sad when it's time to release them into the larger enclosures and say goodbye.
Kelly Davis 02:56
It's sort of like sending your kid to school or having them move out of home. It's an inevitable part of it. Yeah, it's just sort of something that that we do need to live with, I suppose. But yeah, it pulls the heartstrings. Certainly.
Tom Melville 03:08
She takes us on a drive in a dusty ATV - well, actually I do the driving because Kelly unfortunately rolled her ankle.
Tom Melville 03:17
AussieArk owns about three thousand hectares of land here in the Barrington Tops. 400 hectares is dedicated to a wild sanctuary where Devils and Quolls live free. They live in a kind of harmony as Devils are predominantly scavengers and don't predate on the spotty mammals. A specialty fence keeps cats and foxes out. The next steps are securing areas, then ridding them of feral pests. We're standing just on the inside of the vast sanctuary. The scrub is thick, and eucalypts tower above us - it was a hot summer day when we left Newcastle, but not up here. Kelly tells us that this is about as close to home as the Devils will get in New South Wales.
Kelly Davis 04:05
We've had some people, locals from Tasmania come up and they say oh, it's just the same. So they think so and the devil seem to think so then, yeah, it's a lovely environment to be and the
Tom Melville 04:16
The Devils that are released into the sanctuary are selected for their genetic diversity.
Kelly Davis 04:20
So genetics is super important when it comes to Tasmanian devil. So they've already gone through a lot of genetic bottlenecks. You've got the breakaway of Tasmania from mainland Australia. You had European settlement when the persecution of devils that went along with that that dropped their numbers again, and of course devil facial tumor disease. So we have a really good genetic representation of Tasmanian devils here and we've had that for about a decade now. And we just chose ones that obviously genetically suitable to breed, as dissimilar as possible genetically. So they've got a really robust genetic diversity within the population inside here
Tom Melville 04:57
On the gate are photos of those 26 lucky devils and their quoll friends. They all have names, some are named after the handlers. You can tell there's a lot of love between the handlers and the marsupials.
Laura Corrigan 05:07
Are you responsible for any?
Kelly Davis 05:08
A lot of them to be fair. So, Jinny and Tonks and McGonigal from the Harry Potter year and then we've got Lisa and Miss Krabappel. They came from the Simpsons year, but I'm up there. Where am I? There I am, Kel. Near Tyler. Tyler actually came up with a lot of the quoll puns. Quoll-slaw, and Sausage-Quoll, Guacaquolle. There's not a lot to do on the mountain, quite isolated environment. This is what we do with our spare time.
Tom Melville 05:38
But the genetically diverse Barrington Devils aren't just an insurance policy. For Tim Faulkner, President of Aussie Ark and director of the Australian Reptile Park, it's an opportunity to reintroduce a native predator to the mainland.
Tim Faulkner 05:51
So what we've now got are environments where we have no top order predator, and the placental mammals like the fox and cat are annihilating our small mammals. That's why Australia has the worst mammal extinction rate on Earth. We've lost as many small mammals in the past 200 years as the rest of the world put together, and over 90% of those extinctions are directlyrelated to the foxing cat.
Tom Melville 06:16
There were Devils on the mainland, but dingos made short work of them and they went extinct about 3,000 years ago. Tim believes reintroducing the species could give some of our small mammals - the betongs, the potoroos, the bandicoots and wallabies whose populations are in freefall throughout the country - space to recover.
Tim Faulkner 06:33
Now, bring in the devil. So the Dingo is being forcibly removed by humans. The Fox and cat come in, you reintroduce the devil and the theory behind it is this. Devils aren't great predators they're opportunitiistic predators, they'll take down sick, injured or dying but they're realistically scavengers, but where you have devils they do two things. They can predate on the young of Fox and cat down in their burrows and dens because they're left there. Secondarily, in the presence of devils displaces, or changes the behavior of fox and cat and those too give our small natives a chance and out of all natives of live with devils for all of history. They get along.
Tom Melville 07:17
And there's growing evidence that Tim could be bang on here
Calum Cunningham 07:20
My name is Calum Cunningham, and I'm a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Tasmania, where I focus my research onthe effects of Tasmanian devils.
Tom Melville 07:29
Calum studies how the devil interacts with its environment, and found that they don't get along with cats to the benefit of small mammals.
Calum Cunningham 07:36
We found that there were fewer Southern brown bandicoots in areas where cat numbers had increased. And the Southern brown bandicoot was the species that we chose to look at. But it's probably representative of many of the small mammals that have been lost or decimated on the Australian mainland. So probably a good indicator of potentially some of the protective benefits that devils could confer to an ecosystem. And we found that feral cats were twice as abundant in the areas of Tasmania where devils had declined.
Tom Melville 08:11
This increasing cat abundance, in turn, had a negative effect on some of the small mammals. CCalum tells me about another case, similar to the Barrington tops, where Devils were introduced to an ecosystem where they hadn't previously been.
Calum Cunningham 08:24
Fifteen or 20 devils were introduced to Mariah Island back in about 2012. Since then, they've become very abundant and they've had quite a few profound effects on the ecosystem. On Mariah island, It's sort of a bit of a hodgepodge mix of species that weren't always there either. So there's been introductions of wombats and kangaroos and stuff like that. So it's, it's actually an environment that ends up quite well representing the foreigner of Tasmania.
Tom Melville 08:51
With abundant devils - there are now about 100 on the island - behaviour of smaller mammals changed. Calum's study focussed on the brushtail possum, which very quickly learnt to avoid devils.
Calum Cunningham 09:02
As possums do they spend a fair bit of time in trees, but when they become aware that there's little risk of being killed on the ground, they make widespread use of the ground. So you might notice this when you go camping in areas with possums they'll quite readily raid tents. So possums on Mariah Island before the devils were introduced, they were spending quite a lot of time foraging on the ground. After we saw the introduction of devils, possums became quite a bit more possumy. Quite a few of them got killed by devils in the early days, but the ones that survived quickly learned how to live alongside devils again,
Tom Melville 09:37
Calum is optimistic the devils will have some benefit to the ecology of the Barrington Tops. The big unknown is foxes - Tasmania fortunately doesn't have any foxes, so there's no telling how they might interact with the devils if they were to meet in Barrington.
Calum Cunningham 09:49
I think it's difficult to predict what their effects would be though, largely because there's this the unknown presence of foxes and it's not really clear how foxes might know mediate the ecological effects of devils. It's another complicating factor there. But I suspect that I suspect that devils would do just fine around foxes. And I suspect that they wouldn't compete with foxes for shared food, particularly through scavenging. So I think I would be surprised if introduction of devils to an area with foxes wouldn't provide some benefit. I don't think it would be the silver bullet, though. I don't think your arrival of devils would completely eradicate foxes.
Tom Melville 10:29
The truth is, it will take a good few years for whatever affect the devils have on the environment - if any - to become clear. But Tim Faulkner has grand ambitions for their future.
Tim Faulkner 10:38
We'll see what happens. We will see how devils work within that landscape. And so do the devils have scope for broader utilisation? Absolutely. You know, go camping in the mountains, and there's a devil there. What's wrong with that? You know, it's not gonna expose children. Right now all that's around your campsite is a fox. Let's replace it with the devil. So in that scope, you've got the entirety of East Coast, New South Wales, Victoria, and we're talking an area that's three to four times the size of Tasmania probably significantly larger.
Tom Melville 11:09
Tim says Tasmania is doing something right and he wants to bring that to the mainland.
Tim Faulkner 11:13
You go to Tassie, you know, and people talk about this roadkill it's horrific, right. But to see roadkill, the natives have to be there to be run over. I drive through the mountains, and there ain't no roadkill. Because the bandicoots and the potters and the bettongs and the Wallabies, they're gone, they're not there to do... And Tassie, you go for a walk through the bush and you'll hear these sounds of our small mammals, and something's gone very right down there. And you know, we want in on that.
Tom Melville 11:47
Back at the Tops, Kelly says all she's thinking about is giving the devils, and all the other endangered native species here at Aussie Ark, the best chance of survival.
Laura Corrigan 11:56
And what's the end goal?
Kelly Davis 11:58
To save the world! You know, Australia's really struggling in terms of its wildlife, they need all the help we can give them. So we have this property here and the species that we've bought on board so far with AussieArk, but there's more species need our help looking to expand into some other species, but also different sanctuaries, different properties that we're acquiring, and have acquired different elevations all of a sudden mean a different set of species that are naturally found there that can exist there that used to be found there need to have their numbers built up and reintroductions back into those spaces. So the more that we're able to get those areas of land and introduce as other species that the more good we can do.
Tom Melville 12:40
That's Kelly Davis, Devil Handler at Aussie Ark speaking with me in the Barrington Tops. Now - Australia's largest whale stranding in recorded history made international headlines in September. Hundreds of pilot whales beached in the shallow waters in and around Macquarie Harbour on Tasmania's rugged west coast. Producer Laura Corrigan takes us to the fishing village of Strahan at the centre of the tragedy.
Kiah Davey 13:04
The community was in shock when we first found out and a little bit of disbelief that it was so many whales that had been stranded so it's a very somber mood when we were out there on that Monday, watching the whales and waiting to see what was going to happen and whether or not there was going to be a rescue possible. My name is Kiah Davey, I am the manager and director of the Round Earth Company.
Laura Corrigan 13:29
Kiah runs and stars in Australia's longest running play "The Ship That Never Was". The play tells the true story of a group of convicts who stole a ship at Sarah Island and sailed to Chile. She has lived in Strahan for 27 years.
Kiah Davey 13:45
Strahan was established in the 1880s. And some families who are still here have been around since the 1880s in the 1890s, but then you also have blow ins like myself who come from elsewhere, and have fallen in love with the place
Laura Corrigan 13:59
Strahan has a permanent population of about 650 people. The former port town sits on Macquarie Harbour which is six times the size of Sydney harbour. It's a base camp for west coast wilderness tourism and boasts a rich convict history. Upriver is Sarah Island, a colonial penal settlement older than Port Arthur. Strahan is also an access point for the Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park part of Tasmania's World Heritage area. On September 21 2020, the fishing town was rocked by Australia's largest mass stranding. An estimated 470 pilot whales became beached across Macquarie Harbour, Betsie Bay and Ocean Beach. Over a week 111 whales were rescued. Hundreds perished.
Luke Emmett 14:48
Hi I'm Luke Emmett from the Devonport surf lifesaving club, vice president there.
Laura Corrigan 14:52
Luke is a lifesaver from Devonport, about 3 hours drive from Strahan. He was one of the volunteers called upon to help with the whale rescue operation.
Luke Emmett 15:01
When I first got there, I didn't realise that there was all the whales out there until you seen the water splashing where the big whales were stuck. kind of look like a heap of dead trees in the forest. But there was no forest. Yeah, there were a lot of whales, that's for sure. You see the tales sticking up. It wasn't a great sight, that's for sure. pictures probably don't do it justice.
Laura Corrigan 15:24
Luke and his two sons, 18-year-old Jack and 16-year-old Ethan, were initially brought to Strahan to help with water safety but ended up helping with the whales.
Luke Emmett 15:36
I was helping one lady keep one of the bigger whales upright. So the dorsal fins straight up and down so they're not sort of laying on their side, gently rock them from side to side is good, is what they are telling us. So they feel as though they're moving. We got the two mother whales strapped to the side of a vessel. And then we actually picked up a little calfs and stuck on top of the boat. That was pretty rewarding. There's a lot of people involved there. I think it was 12 people to to get each calf up onto the boat. You could feel that the whales were talking to themselves it was sad and rewarding all at the same time.
Laura Corrigan 16:14
And you mentioned that they were talking to each other, the whales, what did it sound like out there?
Luke Emmett 16:19
Oh you just hear like the little squeal. It's not lots. But yeah, you can definitely hear them. That's for sure. The biggest sound thing I suppose is is when they have a breath. So in the blowhole opens and they squirt water everywhere. That's probably the noise that sticks in your mind. But you can hear him talking to each other.
Dr Annie Philips 16:41
They're are toothed whale. So a large dolphin if you like the males can weigh a couple of tonnes and the females about half that they communicate by echolocation. So they talk by clicks and squeals and various other noises and they're very social animals. The pods are very strong and the family bonds are very strong. My name's Annie Phillips. I'm a wildlife vet. And I work for DPIPWE, the state government in Tasmania,
Laura Corrigan 17:16
Annie is a wildlife vet at the Department of Primary Industries Parks, Water and Environment, also known as DPIPWE. She's one of the experts who helped with the whales.
Dr Annie Philips 17:26
I've only been to small strandings before. So this was just on a different scale together. The number of animals that were involved was huge. Plus, the other aspect of this stranding, which was slightly different was that so many of the live animals were actually on a sandbar they weren't on a beach. And so that was submerged in around waist deep water. Depending on the tide, which was good and bad. It was helping to preserve their health. They were less exposed to the sun, and they were hydrated by the water. But it was bad or it was challenging in terms of the rescue operation itself because it meant that the whales had to be put onto a whale mat and essentially dragged across the sandbar to the channels where we were able to secure them to vessels to be taken to deep water.
Belinda Bauer 18:25
My name is Belinda Bauer. I work at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery and I'm the Collection Manager for vertebrate zoology.
Laura Corrigan 18:34
Belinda Bauer remembers a particular local resident relishing in the tragedy.
Belinda Bauer 18:39
The Tasmanian devil population there was making very good use of the carcasses there was a lot of footprints along the beach and a lot of the deceased animals had tooth marks in them so they had been their flukes and the parts that had been washed up on the beach had Tasmanian devil chew marks. There was one fetus that had aborted on the beach that had been pretty much completely eaten by devils. It was just like a head and spine and flukes and the rest of it was completely eaten that was even signs devils had walked out onto floating carcasses and were chewing at eyes and pictorial flippers and things so I think there's a lot of very well fed and probably glossy furredTasmanian devils around the harbor that have made good use of stranded animals.
Eddie Staier 19:36
I was on the incident management team as a planning officer
Laura Corrigan 19:40
Eddie saya from Tasmania's Parks and Wildlife Service was part of the team that coordinated the whale stranding response.
Eddie Staier 19:47
That first day there was only about 20 to 30 people involved until we started to build up what we needed to undertake the rescue and whatnot. After the first day, the second day, we had close to 80 people and then we had 80 to 100 people every day for about 10 days after that.
Laura Corrigan 20:05
DPIPWE, Parks and Wildlife, Surf Life Saving and Trained volunteers all helped with the rescue and recovery operation. The local fish farms provided people, nets, ropes as well as jet boats which are designed for the canals and shallows of the harbour. Kiah Davey says the Strahan community didn't hesitate to offer their support.
Kiah Davey 20:24
There were a lot of people who were brought in from elsewhere around Tasmania who had training, whale rescue training. But you know, the the local people were helping out in providing a lot of support for the volunteers that were coming in to help with the whale rescue. Every single business that ran a restaurant or cafe, or eatery provided meals for the volunteers and the rescuers, the local volunteer ambulance were out there throughout the days every day to make sure that the rescuers were safe and not getting hypothermia.
Laura Corrigan 21:02
Dr Annie Philips would check the health of the whales before they were taken out to sea.
Dr Annie Philips 21:07
I was just doing a general health check to see how, how robust and how strong how responsive the animals were. So it's quite difficult actually to do a health assessment of a live whale at a stranding event. I was looking at things like their heart rate, their respiratory rate, I was able to look at their sometimes at their mucous membrane colour, I was able to assess their reflexes. And if there was really any chance of the whale successfully surviving out at sea, then we would rescue that animal.
Laura Corrigan 21:45
Belinda Bauer and her team were tasked with collecting samples from the whales. They found the whale group was made up of a majority females and juveniles. She says that's typical as the females tend to stick around while adult males go in search for other pods. But Belinda was surprised to find there were more mothers than calves.
Belinda Bauer 22:03
So it might have been that some of the animals that we were recording that were slightly bigger were still feeding on their mothers. I thought that was quite interesting. And it's also known with animals like pilot whales and sperm whales that the babies will actually feed on several mothers. So they might feed on their auntie as well as their mother. Which means that some of the animals that we released who are juveniles, if their mother had perished, they likely have a good outcome because there's other females in that pod that will let them feed on them.
Laura Corrigan 22:42
Belinda says it wasn't an easy job collecting samples especially in the cold, wind and rain.
Belinda Bauer 22:48
And it was just really long days in a wetsuit, and each animal you really want to do. sounds ridiculous, but you want to do right by them. You want to get as much information and record the animal as accurately as possible. It was just exhausting.
Laura Corrigan 23:04
Was the water cold?
Belinda Bauer 23:06
Yeah, the water was cold. And my feet were just constantly wet for the length of time I was out there.
Laura Corrigan 23:14
Annie agrees it was exhausting.
Dr Annie Philips 23:16
You're in cold water that's waist deep for hours and hours and hours on end. It's incredibly hard, obviously dragging an animal that weighs a couple of tons over a sandbar and being very careful. They're large, strong animals with a very powerful tail or fluke. And you have to be alert all the time. Even though you know you're in very cold water, and you're getting very tired as the days go by. So it is exhausting work. And you're on a bit of an emotional roller coaster because whilst we were successfully rescuing a lot of whales, there's also a number of, you know, whales that died very early on that were obviously unable to rescue so it was quite a emotional roller coaster as well.
Laura Corrigan 24:10
But Annie says the feeling among the rescuers and volunteers was optimistic.
Dr Annie Philips 24:16
It was intense it was I guess the the general atmosphere or the vibe in the group was quite a positive one because although a lot of animals died in, in this training, we were actually able to rescue individual whales, which was quite, I think, at achievement by the large group involved. You know,
Laura Corrigan 24:42
Whale strandings are fairly common in Macquarie harbour. Not at the scale seen in September, but it's part of the natural mortality of whales. The mouth of Macquarie harbour is known as Hell's Gate because it's a notoriously shallow and dangerous channel. Belinda says the harbour's unique topography could be what makes it a stranding hotspot.
It's just a complex of tides it has a really narrow entry and then once inside it's it's a maze of channels and sloping sandbars. And the way the freshwater sort of gushes out of the harbor makes it a really confusing place for an animal using their echolocation, particularly if they're unfamiliar with the area.
Laura Corrigan 25:26
Pilot whales use echo-location to navigate. High-pitched clicks and chirps that give them a picture of their surroundings by bouncing back off hard surfaces. But it's thought, when these clicks hit sand, a soft porous surface, they are smothered... making it hard for the whales to essentially "see" a beach or sandbank.
Belinda Bauer 25:46
And then when an animal does make it out of the harbor, it has to contend with that shallow surf zone along Ocean Beach, which for an exhausted animal or a confused animal, it's really difficult to find its way out of so I think that's why we saw animals stranding on sandbars in the harbor and then along the beach adjacent to the harbor. And we've long been pilot whales, you know, they typically tend to forage in deep waters beyond the continental shelf. And I think this group probably came in close to shore chasing food and ended up in the harbor. And with their strong social bonds. If a few animals get in distress, then the whole group follows.
Laura Corrigan 26:30
Over the past 200 years there's been 700 single and mass strandings of whales in Tasmania. The last mass stranding was in 1935 when 294 pilot whales became beached at Stanley on the north west coast. This wasn't the first stranding Kiah Davey has seen in Strahan.
Kiah Davey 26:50
one of my very first visits to Strahan when I was 12 years old was when there was a whale stranding at Macquarie heads. And I remember going for a very long walk down the beach with my parents and my sister going to have a look at the whale carcasses and and the whales that were being rescued. And that's one of my very first earliest memories of coming to the west coast and coming to Strahan. And in the time that I've been living here, I've been living here on and off for the last nearly 27 years. And I think this would be my third whale stranding in that time that I've been aware of and been around for.
Laura Corrigan 27:28
Eddie Staier from Parks and Wildlife says they'll be better prepared next time.
Eddie Staier 27:32
Next time, probably one thing that we're going to do is review our procedures that we have in place for Australians in Tasmania, because one thing we did learn out of the straining is probably the procedure wasn't as forward looking as it should have been, and didn't anticipate such a large training. So we had to adjust things as we went to make them fit the scenario, because we're used to dealing with sort of strandings of 30, or 40 animals at a time, up to 60 is, I think one of the biggest pilot wild strandings we've had in the past two down here. So all of a sudden have a straining 10 times that size sort of throws a curveball of it.
Laura Corrigan 28:17
Belinda says the silver lining of such a tragic event is what new data can be discovered.
Belinda Bauer 28:22
Whales inhabit the open ocean, and they have massive distributions. And so they're really difficult actually to study in the wild. And much of what we know about a lot of different species, including pilot whales comes from what we can gather at straining events, you tend to get a better picture of the diversity of species from the stranding records compared with live surveys. And in fact, there's some species of whales that we only know from stranded whales that we haven't actually ever seen alive like the spade-toothed whales. And while pilot whales are the most commonly stranded animals, especially like in these massive events, it's still really important to be able to collect as much data as we can at these events, because it all adds to our broader understanding of not just of a stranding event itself, but of the ecology of that particular species.
Laura Corrigan 29:19
The stranding drew international attention to the small town of Strahan and it's clear it's had an impact on the small fishing village. Kiah Davey again.
Kiah Davey 29:27
The effect initially was very, very emotional, what can we do? How can we help? Why did it happen? And then, in the weeks following on from that, the effect on the community has been more about how is this going to affect tourists coming to Strahan? In some cases, you have people who are curious and want to come and see the site and be in the place that had happened. There are other people to whom it's too distressing and they don't want to come for the community themselves. It's not a complete unusual event we don't like it when it happens. But we do always band together.
Tom Melville 30:05
Kiah Davey ending that report by Laura Corrigan.
Tom Melville 30:15
That's it for this episode of Voice of Real Australia. Thank you so much for listening. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you listen. I'll be back in two weeks. If you like the podcast please share it with friends and give us a five star rating on Apple Podcasts. Everyone has a story to tell, If you'd like to share yours, email voice at aust community media dot com dot a-u... that's voice at aust "a-u-s-t" community media dot com dot a-u. Our Facebook page is Facebook dot com slash voice of real Australia. Voice of Real Australia is recorded in the studios of the Newcastle Herald. It's produced by Laura Corrigan and me, your host, Tom Melville. Our editors are Gayle Tomlinson and Chad Watson. Special thanks this week go to Cristiano Caldeira, Claudia Williams, Megan Powell, Brodie Weeding and Simon McCarthy. This is an ACM podcast.