Gympie’s wildlife can’t catch a break with weather

THE region’s wildlife continues to be hit hard by the drought with fish and turtles dying in drying water holes.

Lake Alford’s eastern side was littered with more than two dead dozen fish at the weekend thanks to dwindling water levels at the park.

Out west at Tansey, members of the Mary River Catchment Co-ordinating Committee and Australian Native Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation Association were called out to the now near-empty lagoon.

The groups were alerted to the problem by a social media post that a turtle had already been relocated.

MRCCC administrator and ANARRA treasurer Deb Seal said it was impossible to ignore the impact of the drought.

Turtle in drying Tansey lagoon
Turtle in drying Tansey lagoon

“There’s absolutely no water out there,” she said.

Nor was there much sign of wildlife.

She said a small Krefft’s turtle shell, signs of a dingo or fox and large feather likely from a bird of prey were the only signs of life.

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“It would have had a healthy population of turtles and eels, and freshwater prawns,” she said.

And turtles looking for water were at risk too. Several had become trapped and killed at Woondum when they tried to cross the Bruce Highway. Only one survived.

“It’s happening all over Queensland, turtles are being displaced,” she said.

Dead fish at lake Alford
Dead fish at lake Alford

She said those who hoped to help distressed wildlife should contact ANARRA because a permit was needed to relocate the animals.

The fish at Lake Alford most likely died of a low level of dissolved oxygen in the stagnant water.

A council spokesman said work was ongoing to deepen the eastern side of Lake Alford.

“The aim is to increase the health and water quality … and increase the free surface area (uncluttered by lily overgrowth) of the lake,” he said.

It would also minimise heat stress for aquatic life during periods of hot weather and low water.

Dead fish at Lake Alford.
Dead fish at Lake Alford.

“If this work is not carried out, a significant loss of aquatic life could occur,” he said.

“By increasing the depth of the water and managing the vegetation, we are working to ensure sufficient oxygen levels in the lake to sustain the aquatic ecosystems.

“We proactively manage our water bodies to maximise and ensure wildlife health.

“This includes practices such as weed harvesting, edge planting and roost management.”

Gympie Times


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