Threats to Wildlife

Clearing native vegetation for agriculture, urban development or other purposes has greatly reduced the amount of habitat available for native wildlife.  Many patches of remaining vegetation are small or degraded and unable to provide the food and shelter that wildlife need.   Habitat is also often situated in ‘islands’ that are separated by towns, farms and roads that prevent wildlife from safely traveling between patches of vegetation.  The loss of understorey including small tees, shrubs and groundcovers, weed invasion, excessive burning, livestock grazing, and ‘tidying up’ to create lawn and parkland style gardens all contribute to this problem.

Native Plants and Attracting Wildlife

Attracting wildlife to your property requires habitat that provides food and shelter and allows breeding and migration to other areas.  Tree hollows that take decades to form, provide native animals such as small mammals, bats and birds, with refuge from weather and predators, and provide safe sites for roosting and breeding.  Removing living or dead hollow-bearing trees displaces wildlife that depend on them for survival.  If you have no mature trees on your property, breeding and nesting sites can be created by installing nestboxes for wildlife.  These are cheap and easy to make, or are also available commercially.

While tree hollows or nest boxes may provide shelter and an area for breeding and raising young, native wildlife also need a diverse natural environment where all forms of native vegetation including trees, shrubs, and groundcovers are represented.  Creating vegetation layers and maintaining fallen trees, dead wood, and leaf litter also provides habitat for ground dwelling animals including small mammals, reptiles and insects.  It is important that vegetation also provides food such as nectar and seeds, and that it is representative of species found in the local area as local wildlife are adapted to these conditions.  Introduced species such as willows, pines and conifers do not produce hollows suitable for native wildlife and along with other non-local plant species may become environmental weeds that have little benefit to wildlife.

Wildlife Corridors and Waterways

When creating wildlife corridors on your property try to link them with other areas of wildlife habitat, such as hollow bearing trees or remnant vegetation.  Working with your neighbours and local community may permit the connection of remnant vegetation and creation of corridors on a larger scale, which will be of benefit to native wildlife movement and breeding.

Fencing and protection of vegetation along waterways, drains, wetlands, and farm dams, not only protects wildlife habitat, but maintains water quality and bank stability, and will encourage the regeneration of native vegetation.  If you do not have these types of water sources on your property, a pond planted with wetland vegetation such as sedges and rushes will create wildlife habitat and attract frogs and birds.

Feeding Wildlife

By planting or maintaining a variety of local native vegetation which provide food such as nectar and seeds year round, there is no need to feed native wildlife.  Feeding wildlife can create dependence on non-natural foods that do not meet healthy dietary requirements.  Such practices may also create higher that usual population numbers which can result in damage both to your property and the environment.  Feeding stations may also be a focus for predators and the spread of disease.  Other sources of disease for native wildlife are domestic animals; so ensure your cat is inside at night, and be aware of your dog’s activities if you have koalas or other wildlife on or near your property.

Wildlife and Pest Control

Aside from the pleasure of having native wildlife on your property, additional benefits include their ability to aid in natural pest control. Nectar loving small mammals, birds, and insects such as native ants, bees and wasps may also aid in pollination of your garden,  vegetable garden or orchard.

Conservation on Private Land

There are a range of measures and assistance available to landowners to protect wildlife, and habitat on their property.  These include Land for Wildlife, Wildlife Refuges, and Voluntary Conservation Agreements.  These conservation programs range from non-binding pledges (Land for Wildlife) to conservation of the property in perpetuity (Voluntary Conservation Agreement).  Contact NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service if you would like to find out more information about these conservation programs.

  

  
NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (within OEH)
Hunter-Central Rivers Catchment Management Authority
Local Wildlife Rescue Group
 
 
 

 

 

Copyright 2011 HCCREMS