Thursday, 18 March, 2021

Flood warning for Queensland; Czech chimps do Zoom; Kiwis win America’s Cup; and the bird that forgot its love song.




Regent honeyeater:

Close The Gap:


Q+A Tiger Keeper Call-Out

Tiger Cubs: 

Facts about Sumatran tigers: 

Taronga Tiger Cam 1:

Taronga Tiger Cam 2:


Squiz Kids Instagram:

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Squiz Kids is proudly supported by the Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas.




There’s an expression that goes: if it doesn’t rain, it pours. And that’s a sentiment the good folk of central Queensland know something about after a flood emergency was declared yesterday in the Central Highlands after a month’s worth of rain fell in the space of two days.

Further north, the coastal region of Capricornia – on the Barrier Reef – is bracing for more torrential rain today and the threat of widespread flooding – with towns Yeppoon, Rockhampton and Gladstone in the firing line.

The big wet is expected to intensify up and down the east coast of Australia today and into the weekend, as rains move from the inland parts of NSW and Queensland towards the coast. The bureau of meteorology – whose job it is to predict the weather – says there’s a second wave of moisture heading the way of NSW and Queensland next week – which could make matters worse. Or at the very least, soggier. And as for you lot down in Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth with all that sunshine – stop looking so smug.

Remember yesterday we spoke about Papua New Guinea and its battle to control a COVID outbreak? And how it was the job of a good neighbour like Australia to do what we could to help out? Well – we started to show our neighbourly credentials yesterday by making plans to send 8,000 doses of vaccine to PNG as early as next week – and promising to pay for another 1 million doses to help them out. 




Each day we give the world globe a spin and find a news story from wherever it stops .. and today we’ve landed in the Czech Republic – which is a country in Europe … where two zoos 150 kilometres apart have come up with a clever way of keeping their chimpanzee residents entertained.

The zookeepers at both zoos have set up a big TV screen in their chimp enclosure, and each day they do a Zoom call from one chimp enclosure to the other.

It’s called Chimpanzoom … 

It means the troop of chimps in one zoo can interact with the troop of chimps in the other zoo. 

At first, the chimps were apparently a bit freaked out to see other apes they didn’t know – but now, they treat the daily Zoom session like a trip to the movies – or how you might spend an afternoon in front of the telly – kicking back with a handful of nuts and enjoying the show. 

And yes: of course there’s a link in today’s episode notes ..




Who said kiwis can’t fly? Certainly not anyone who watched New Zealand claim its fourth America’s Cup title yesterday.

The America’s Cup is the most famous yacht race in the world. And for the past couple of weeks, the competition has been playing out on Auckland harbour – with home team and defending champs, Team New Zealand battling it out with Italy’s Luna Rossa.

Now when I say yacht: you might imagine a traditional looking sail boat that cuts through the water. Nah-uh. These super maxi yachts are space age creations, with blades that cut through the water and make the boats fly across the surface – sometimes barely touching it at all. 

And because it’s a sight to behold: i’ve stuck a link to a recent race video in today’s episode notes. 




It’s called the regent honeyeater. It’s a glorious looking bird with black and yelllow feathers that lives in south-eastern Australia. But it’s forgotten the words to its love songs – and that’s a problem as conservationists race to save it from becoming an endangered species.

Let me explain. Male birds often use their birdsong to attract a female. Every species of bird has a different song. But with the number of regent honeyeaters slowly declining, the young males are not being taught the honeyeater birdsong from their older male counterparts – and instead are mimicking the bird cry of other species. And that means, female regent honeyeaters are not responding – which in turn means they are less likely to meet a male and make baby honeyeaters – which brings us to the whole endangered species thing.

Regent honeyeaters used to be a common sight in suburban gardens and trees and bushland up and down the east coast of Australia. Now it’s estimated there are only 300 left in the wild. 

Luckily conservationists have started a breeding programme – and are studying ways of re-teaching the birds their all important love song. 

It reminds me of the film Happy Feet – which you should watch if you haven’t seen it. And yes, there’s a link in today’s episode notes to the regent honeyeater including audio of its birdsong. 




Think you’re funny? Think you’ve got the side-splitting-est joke in all of Australia up your sleeve? Then you need to send it on to us, so we can run it by kids author extraordinaire Andy Griffiths in an upcoming Squiz Kids Q+A. Andy’s about to release a Treehouse Joke Book – and to mark the occasion, he wants to hear YOUR best joke. And whichever joke sent in is funny enough to knock him out of his treehouse – wins a prize.

Speaking of Q+As – the clock is ticking on you getting your questions in to our next special guest in the Q+A hotseat – Taronga Zoo tiger keeper, Louise Ginman. Did you know that there are only about 400 Sumatran tigers left on the planet? And that tiger habitat in Sumatra, in Indonesia is shrinking by the day as farmers there produce palm oil – a product that’s in everything from shampoo to ice cream? How does a supermarket shop impact a tiger thousands of kilometres away? Louise can answer that.

Send your questions quicksticks to [email protected]. And if you need inspiration, we’ve got links in the episode notes to some video footage of Taronga’s tigers, as well as the live stream cameras from inside the tigers’ enclosure!




This is the part of the podcast where you get to test how well you’ve been listening …

  1. In which country have zookeepers set up a Chimpanzoom to keep their primates entertained?
  2. Which country won this year’s America’s Cup yacht race?
  3. Name the Aussie native bird who appears to have forgotten its love song.




It’s March 18   … National Close The Gap day … what gap, I hear you ask? There’s a big difference between the average number of years an Indigenous Australian lives compared to a non-Indigenous Aussie – and working to close that gap so we are all as healthy and happy as each other is a really important goal. There’s a link in today’s episode notes if you want to know more. 

It’s also a special day for these Squiz Kids celebrating a birthday today… Jayla from Goomalling, Dylan from Frenchs Forest, Inara from Kensington, Jaxon from Dubbo, Dom from Oran Park, Katherine from North Strathfield, Lucas from Fadden, Inara from Kensington, Hayden from Elanora Heights, Bowen and Peter from Sydney, Astrid from Queensland, Reagan from Ingham, Soffia from Lake Munmorah and Oscar from Eastwood. 

Happy birthday one and all.

Today’s classroom shoutouts… 5R with Miss Redwin at Dobroyd Point Public School, the Year Five Frill Necked Lizards at Darlington Public School, class 6B from Berwick Lodge Primary, and class 6P from Springfield Anglican College.

And a special shoutout to my new friends, Mrs Harvey and class 3/4A at Rangebank Primary School in Melbourne. Louis The Wonder Dog sends his regards too. 


The S’Quiz Answers:

  1. Czech Republic
  2. New Zealand
  3. Regent honeyeater