In amongst the doom and gloom that pervades the wildlife spectrum there is sometimes a little optimism. Lately our WILVOS 5441 6200 Hotline has been so busy and our volunteers all do a wonderful job, whether answering the phone, going off to the rescues, or rehabilitating the injured and orphaned wildlife.
This week it was encouraging to see that our local wildlife is receiving consideration and that the impact of development on them was noticed. Sometimes, sadly, it seems they are forgotten in the rush of development in this beautiful area. WILVOS were invited to attend a workshop with Council and GHD representatives to contribute to a data collection session. This was part of the Sunshine Coast Council’s “Planning for Improved Fauna Movement Project”.
Development of an area means more roads and motorways and with these constructions come severe consequences for our wildlife. Their habitat is depleted and fragmented often leading to extirpation of species. Their usual paths of travel are interrupted and this makes them more vulnerable to vehicle impact.
The solutions to these problems have to be handled correctly – they can’t be done just to placate the nature lovers! There have been successful ventures, such as the one featured on ABC’s Gardening Australia which showed the ‘green bridge’ built at Karawatha Forest. The bridge over the four lanes was planted with vegetation naturally growing in the bushland either side. Glider poles were erected, along with rope ladders, wide culverts, fencing and escape poles. Infra-red cameras have recorded the benefits and undoubtedly some methods are more successful than others. The trees have grown to such a height that the glider species are now using the trees instead of just glider poles. It is no doubt an ever-learning experience but we have to learn fast.
It is hoped that all new roads will incorporate solutions to allow safe fauna movement. Such aspects as exclusion fencing need to be done with advice from knowledgeable consultants, or the end result can mean even more wildlife deaths on the highways. Collection of data on impacted wildlife numbers also means that existing motorways may have fauna movement improved by initiatives such as widening of existing culverts and landscaping these culverts with logs and rocks to encourage use by the different wildlife.
Donna Brennan Wildlife Volunteers Assoc Inc (WILVOS)
PO Box 4805 Sunshine Coast Mail Centre Q 4560 PH 5441 6200 www.wilvos.org.au