Remember our wildlife this Christmas
SANTA has been making his list and checking it twice and now he's worked out which animal buddies have been extra nice.
You can help Santa out by giving some meaningful gifts to the native wildlife in Gympie this Christmas.
Backyard Buddies is a free program run by Australia's Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife.
Each month, receive a Backyard Buddies email (B-mail) with tips to make your backyard inviting and safe for native animals.
Creating Habitat Havens featured in the December B-mail. Sign up for B-mail and download a free factsheet about wildlife friendly gardens at www.backyardbuddies.net.au.
"Native animals do a lot of amazing things for our gardens and neighbourhoods so it is hard to believe that our wildlife has suffered a staggering 70% loss of habitat since European settlement," Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife CEO Susanna Bradshaw said.
"It is one of the reasons that the Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife is asking people in Gympie to consider helping out our native wildlife during this hot summer."
There are many easy ways you can help local wildlife this festive season.
Tips for making your garden a habitat haven:
- Plant some local natives in your garden. These are the plants that local animals have adapted to over thousands of years. They are also naturally well suited to the local climate and soil.
- To help combat the loss of natural nest hollows in our suburbs, you could buy or make a nest box to help keep native animals in Gympie. If you have possums in your roof, placing a nest box in a nearby tree will help entice them out.
- During the hot summer we're expecting, leave a birdbath or shallow dish out for lizards, birds and lots more animals so they can stay hydrated and cool down in the heat.
- Aussie frogs are doing it tough, with drought and land clearing reducing their watery habitats. Installing a pond can be a very simple way to offer them a refuge in your garden. If you don't have much space or time, a simple child's paddling pool or large pot with some aquatic plants will be perfect.
- Domestic cats sadly kill millions of native animals each year so keep your cats indoors or at least inside at night when they do most of their hunting.
- Reduce chemical use in your backyard. What is bad for the rats, cockroaches and weeds is also often bad for native animals. Many native animals will take care of pest problems for you if you encourage them. Such as ladybirds who eat aphids, huntsman spiders who love to eat cockroaches, and Blue-tongue Lizards who eat up snails.
"Our environmental educational program Backyard Buddies offers more useful, simple tips on how to create and maintain a habitat haven in your own backyard and what animals you can expect to find in your area," Ms Bradshaw said.
"Incorporating just a few of these ideas into your garden will have a wonderful effect of your local wildlife.
"Talk to your neighbours about it too, as the more people who get on board, the more stepping stone habitats our suburbs will have.
"These act as wildlife corridors for our buddies to move around more easily and stay safe within our urban areas.
"Be a part of something special and spread some of the Christmas cheer around to your native neighbours this year and see for yourself how easy and rewarding it can be."
Interesting facts about Australian wildlife:
- Australia is one of just 17 'megadiverse' countries. Over 70% of the world's biological diversity is found in these 17 countries.
- Australia is home to over 600,000 species, many live nowhere else in the world. These include 93% of our frog species, 84% of our plant species, and 83% of our mammals.
- Sadly, we also have one of the highest loss of species anywhere in the world.
If you want to contribute to improving our wildlife's habitat beyond your garden, the Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife has just launched a new program called Plant A Tree For Me! to help protect and regrow habitat across Australia. Visit: www.plantatreeforme.org.au
For local information, please contact the Wildlife Officer or Bushcare Coordinator at your local council, or speak to a ranger at your nearest national park office.