Some tips on how you can assist wildlife conservation at home and in your neighbourhood
Plant natives in your backyard. Native trees provide food and shelter for birds and other animals, especially native wildlife. They are adapted to the Australian environment and require less water and fertiliser than non-native plants. You may even be providing an essential home for a threatened species!
Do not dump weeds in the bush. Weeds compete with, and can suffocate, native plants.
Build nest boxes in areas that have no old trees. Many animals live in the hollows of old trees. If there are no old trees in your area, then animals such as birds and mammals have nowhere to live and breed. Build nest boxes in your backyard and provide a home for a family.
Build a frog pond in your backyard. Many frog species are disappearing without suitable places to live. You can provide a home – but watch out for cane toads! They are an introduced species that compete with our native frogs for food and homes. Remove them and their eggs from your pond to ensure that our frogs can live happily.
Take care of national parks or nature reserves. Areas like national parks and nature reserves protect plants and animals from major human disturbance and development. Treat these areas must be treated with care and respect, as some animals have no other place to live.
Put rubbish in the bin or take it home with you. Innocent animals may eat, choke and die on our rubbish.
Leave pets at home. Pets may chase or kill native animals and dig up their burrows.
Take nothing out of Parks. Taking flowers, seeds and plants may be depleting an animal’s food supply.
Encourage friends and relatives to keep bush as wildlife habitats and to leave old trees standing. Wildlife needs places to live. Leave old trees standing,bespecially those with hollows and provide a suitable home for a nesting animal.
Join a community group and do voluntary work. Maybe you can help with answering phones at your local RSPCA office or help remove weeds in nearby bushland, be involved in caring for sick and injured wildlife or attend meetings at your local land or water management offices. There are many ways to help conservation in Australia.
Find out about conservation activities in your local area. Get involved! In some areas there are groups that are designated to look after special areas of local bushland, nature reserves or parks. See your local community group, parks authority, library or council for more details.
Participate in local clean-up, tree planting and weed control activities. By removing weeds and rubbish and replanting native trees and shrubs, the natives will be able to regenerate and thrive. This will also encourage native animals, birds and insects to return to the area.
Find out about threatened plants and animals in Australia. Australia is estimated to have over one million species, but possibly only as few as 15% have been identified. We have to know what we have before we can save it!
Go to your library or browse the internet. Learn about threatened species live in your area. The more you know, the more you can do to help. Consider donating money to well-known organisations that help save threatened species.
Go bushwalking, take binoculars and a field guide. Make a sightings list and tick off as many species as you can find. This information also may be helpful to researchers, scientists, conservation officers or wildlife groups such as Birds Australia or the Australian Mammal Society. Call your local parks and wildlife service to find out whether you can assist with any data collection or research projects for threatened species in your area.
Support promotions for the conservation of wildlife. Wear a ‘save the koala’ tattoo, proceeds go towards conservation projects for the koala and its special habitat, the eucalypt forest. Buy chocolate bilbies at Easter, some of the money helps fund special programs to save the bilby. Buy ‘dolphin-free’ tuna and ‘save the whale’ products, knowing that you are supporting companies that do not kill dolphins and whales in the process of catching their product.
Refuse to buy any rare or endangered plant or animal product. International trade of wildlife is illegal and should be reported to the authorities immediately. Hunting and killing by poachers has driven many species to extinction. Refuse to support trade in furs, skins, oils, meat and other products that allows this to continue.
Be alert and drive slowly at dawn and dusk. Cars kill thousands of native animals each year. Drive mindfully, especially in rural areas where animals may be active. If you see a native animal on the side of the road, please stop and try and coax them away from the road to safety.
Act if you have an accident involving wildlife. Pull over at a safe place and remove any dead animal from the road. Check for young in the pouch. If the animal is still alive, carefully wrap it in a blanket and take it to the nearest vet, ranger or wildlife rescue organisation.
Take care when fishing. Throw back fish that are too small and be careful not to lose your lines, hooks, sinkers and nets in the water. Unwanted fishing line, hooks and nets can entangle or choke many animals. Once they are tangled, they cannot breathe, eat or even move and may eventually die.
Control and desex your pets. Attach a bell to a cat’s collar and keep indoors at night. By controlling pets, you are protecting the native fauna in your area.
Do not dump pets in the bush. If you have a pet that you no longer want, sell them or take them to the local RSPCA or animal refuge centre. Domestic animals left in the bush can survive and breed.
Restrain pets near wildlife. Keep pets indoors or restrained, particularly at night. If you live near bush consider how you can make your backyard safe for any local native wildlife. Think about ways native animals will be able to escape, should they unwittingly wander in.
Take your own bag when you go shopping. Supermarkets use millions of plastic bags each year and many can end up in the oceans and waterways, polluting and choking animals.
Sort rubbish to reuse and recycle. Many things can be recycled, including steel and aluminium cans, glass jars and bottles, milk bottles, some plastics, cardboard and paper. Place these recyclable items in your recycle rubbish bin at home. Old clothes, books, toys, kitchenware or furniture in good condition can be given to a charity. Reuse glass jars and bottles for storage in the kitchen and the garage. Reuse newspapers in your garden before applying mulch. Use both sides of paper in the office or at home.
Make compost and use it on your garden. About one-third of your household rubbish is food scraps that will rot away naturally in the garden. This rubbish is called organic or biodegradable waste because it can break down or decompose naturally with time. If it is tied up in plastic in landfill it is as polluting as any other waste.
Pick up litter that could harm wildlife. Every year thousands of mammals, birds and fish die because they have become entangled or choked by our rubbish. Always pick up any pieces of litter that you see, no matter how small.