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Living with urban wildlife

Queanbeyan Wildcare President Greg Tarlinton is happy to compare the state of the grasslands with and without kangaroos.

“Unfortunately in the ACT, kangaroos seem to be the easily eliminated variable in the experiment that is the management of native habitats. The ACT reserve has also recently been mowed. Before, it looked like a thistle reserve.

“On the Queanbeyan side where there has been no lethal management of kangaroos the population is clearly visible, there is still good grass in the area at the end of winter, not a large amount of visible weeds and there are still many species of native flora and fauna living in the area.”

Queanbeyan’s ‘live and let live’ attitude to urban wildlife allows these Eastern Grey Kangaroos a relaxed existence at the Nature Reserve border-ing Lanyon Drive.
Queanbeyan’s ‘live and let live’ attitude to urban wildlife allows these Eastern Grey Kangaroos a relaxed existence at the Nature Reserve border-ing Lanyon Drive.

“In and around the Queanbeyan area, Eastern Grey Kangaroos are the most visible native animals and have the most encounters with residents and unfortunately often their cars.

“After nine years of doing this work, I’d say the attitude of people in this area towards wildlife is normally quite positive. Most calls we receive are because a person is concerned for the welfare of the animal involved.

“Sometimes people who have moved from the city to some of our rural residential areas are shocked that they need to share the property with animals that aren’t paying a part of the mortgage.

“Often a chat about the benefits of having these animals around is all that is needed to change people’s views and we often end up with residents taking ‘guardianship’ of the natives that inhabit their properties. Some of our most passionate members have joined as a result of this.”

Encounters with snakes, possums in the roof or wombats taking up residence under houses near the river, are other urban wildlife experiences that often involve Wildcare. Queanbeyan also has a popular platypus support program led by Council. Tarlinton thinks the tourist potential of wildlife so close to both Canberra and Queanbeyan is worth more thought. “The paddocks on the sides of Lanyon Drive would make a great half-day trip for overseas visitors with a guided walk through the area pointing out the local native flora and fauna. It could also generate income to enable some weed control and restoration of degenerated areas.”

Queanbeyan Wildcare now has 200 members in the region that includes western Palerang. Wildcare is always looking for more volunteers as native animal rescuers and carers.

Call 02 6299 1966 or email membership@wildcare.com.au.

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