No matter where one travels, habitat destruction is ever-present. I find it incomprehensible that bushland, in fact any habitat, can continue to be demolished with no thought of consequences. It is just so ludicrous to clear large tracts of land and then give the suburbs ridiculous names such as ‘something forest’ or ‘something sanctuary’. Do land developers not see the incongruity of it, or do they have warped senses of humour?
Though there is less habitat for our wildlife, the number of animals coming to wildlife rehabilitators and Wildlife Hospitals is escalating. The end result can only be extinction of species. Just one mature tree will house and feed so many different birds, marsupials and reptiles.
I often refer back to a beautiful eucalypt tree that had to be removed many years ago at Ninderry. Just in the outer branches of this tree there were brushtail possums, a family of squirrel gliders, a native beehive, a colony of feathertail gliders and an owlet nightjar in a hollow. Work had to stop after lunch on the first day because of high winds. It was sad to see the birds circling as they saw the imminent destruction of their nests and roosting places. In this case the animals were brought down in their hollows and re-installed in nearby trees after nightfall, but this is a very rare occurrence. More often the wildlife will be injured as the tree is brought down in one fell swoop. I don’t even like to think or hear about the wildlife that are hiding in their hollows and disappear into the huge chippers. Yes, it is a ghastly, depressing thought but it is reality.
What can we do to help? Besides making our voices heard on the subject of habitat destruction we can do what we can in our own back yards. Planting native trees indigenous to the area gives immediate and long-term benefits. There are so many beautiful flowering and fruiting native plants. To me they are so much more beautiful than exotics, probably because I see the different species providing delicious food throughout the whole year for our native wildlife. A few clumps of native grasses soon bring in birds such as tiny finches that seem to appear from nowhere to feast on the seeds.
Of course, because our gardens provide sanctuary and sustenance for our wildlife, we need to contain our pets. This is for their safety as well, with the ever increasing amount of traffic on the roads. The intelligence of domestic pets is often underrated. They can be taught not to harm other animals, and they can be happy in enclosures if given a stimulating environment. Our domestic pets trust us and want to please us. Giving them a safe place to live is an owner’s responsibility.
Donna Brennan Wildlife Volunteers Assoc Inc (WILVOS)
PO Box 4805 Sunshine Coast Mail Centre Q 4560 PH 5441 6200 www.wilvos.org.au