In fact, the Department of Environment & Heritage Protection have stated that there are 450 native animals on Straddie; most of which are intrantional and 43 of which are either rare or a threatened species. This makes it all the more important for us all to protect our wildlife and allow visitors to Straddie to experience seeing a koala in a tree, or a kangaroo nibbling some grass on the headland in their natural environment. The 4 main threats to our amazing, beautiful wildlife are:
- Car strikes
- Dog/cat/fox (predator) attacks
- Habitat destruction and fragmentation
How can we all help?
Car Strikes: SLOW DOWN – observe speed limits and look out for wildlife on the sides of the road. At dawn and dusk when animals are more active (and it’s difficult to see) go slower than the speed limit.
Cat owners – keep cats indoors day and night. Build an outdoor enclosure or train your cat to use a harness and lead.
Dog owners – Keep dogs secured in your yard and on a lead when walking (except for designated off-lead areas). Lock dogs up at night (crate, inside, tethered), no matter what size your yard is.
Habitat destruction and fragmentation: Do not remove large native trees from your land. Plant native trees and plants in your garden. These plants will provide food and shelter for our suburban wildlife.
Fire: This is especially important during the hot dry summer months! Observe fire bans on the island. If camping, make sure you put your fires out with water, not sand.
Straddie is a truly unique and special place. It has been isolated from the mainland since the last sea level rise 8,000 years ago. Compared to surrounding areas on the mainland it has relatively little development, with large tracts of continuous wildlife habitat encompassing some rare and precious ecosystems. There are many iconic wildlife species that call Straddie home and they can be found throughout the island, including your backyard. You will see kangaroos grazing peacefully on the footpaths and verges in Point Lookout. When you walk through Amity or Dunwich, look up, you are guaranteed to see a koala resting in the fork of a gum tree. Look and listen for the whistling kites, brahminy kites, osprey and sea eagles soaring high above you on Flinders and Main beach, not to mention the many other bird species you are likely to see. Marine wildlife is abundant too, female turtles come here to lay their eggs on our beaches over the summer months, sea birds frequent our shores and we occasionally have seals haul out to rest.
Our local wildlife rescue volunteer group, Wildlife Rescue Minjerribah, see more than 240 injured wildlife cases every year that are the direct result of car strikes or domestic pet attacks. Most of these animals sustain horrendous injuries and do not survive. Unfortunately, there is always a spike in the number of these cases seen during holiday times. Please contact Wildlife Rescue Minjerribah if you injure an animal or see an injured animal during your stay on our beautiful island – 0448 466 556.
Image courtesy of Bill Lowe.