Wildlife Friendly Neighbourhoods

Wildlife Friendly Neighbourhoods

With the influx of so many new people to Kuranda, this month we're revisiting wildlife friendly ways of living.

Responsible Dog and Cat Ownership.
Dogs and cats are hunters. They love chasing and sometimes killing things. Council regulations state that dog and cats need to be contained and not allowed to roam freely. This is to protect both wildlife- and in the case of dogs- humans.
So it's responsible and required to :
fence dogs in securely and when outside keep them on leads- and poop and scoop.
contain cats so they cannot roam freely.

Some people think their dogs chasing a pademelon or wallaby is tremendous fun for everyone. However macropods, when stressed, can develop a condition called capture/ stress myopathy. The animal's muscles, including the heart, break down. This can cause kidney failure and even death. The amount of exertion can be minimal with the level of stress being more important. Dogs also maim and kill cassowaries. So please, keep your dog on a lead and under your control for everyone's sake.

Chemicals and wildlife
Fleas and ticks are issues for dogs and cats. Deborah Pergolotti of Frog Safe warns however: "The vet treatments for these problems often use a group of chemicals known as the neonicotinoids which are involved in bee die – offs. They also cause problems for many other animals by disabling their immune systems. This is very likely why frogs are disappearing due to disease and cancers that emerged after 1996." A recent report in the National Geographic suggested these chemicals can also cause cancer in mammals – including cats, dogs and humans. Neonicotinoids are used in so many domestic applications: termiticides, seed coatings, lawn treatments, backyard fruit trees, and indoor bug sprays. Herbicides such as glyphosate have also been linked to cancers (see www.sprayfreefnq.com.au). Why not go chemical free for the sake of the wildlife, insects, and your own health?

Wildlife friendly fencing
To allow for free movement of wildlife through the landscape, minimise fencing. Barbed wire fencing catches bats and they die a slow and painful death. Fruit tree netting needs to have a mesh that you can't poke your finger through to prevent small animals being caught in it (less than 5 mm).

Native trees and plants
Planting native trees and plants rather than exotics -and not removing the existing ones - saves having a weed problem with invasive species later on. It also provides food and habitat for the beautiful animals of our region. Then we can sit in our gardens, relax and enjoy the wildlife display!

This article was first published in The Kuranda Paper February 2022 #339.