One of the best responses to biodiversity is to make places more attractive to native animals. This not only has the psychological and lifestyle benefits that come from having wildlife about but it helps support diversity. We need people to be active managers of their local environment to support biodiversity. It is not enough to simply “leave it to nature”, especially when most of the issues you have to deal with are ferals, whether they be plant or animal.
Most native species, unlike dogs and cats which generally fit into our lifestyles, do not show a great deal of devotion or affection toward their 'owners'. All animals can become friendly and will respond to kindness, but native animals usually have a strong call to their natural habitat, either for diet, breeding or other social reasons. Caging native animals requires a good understanding of ecology, so it is more often successful if people can fit in with their lifestyles.
Sharing your living space with the local fauna. This is a particularly interesting possibility in the rural parts of the Darwin region where people own patches of natural bushland, but it also works in an urban situation. We are lucky enough to have populations of many species of native wildlife living in close proximity to Darwin. Northern Brushtail Possums, Black-footed tree rats,Sugar Gliders, Agile Wallabies and Antilopine Kangaroos to name but a few kinds of mammals. We also have a host of reptiles, with lizards like Gilberts dragons and frillnecks as well as Monitors like the Spotted tree monitor and the possibility of Monitors like the Yellow-spotted monitor if your cane toad control is effective enough.
The presence of dogs and cats on your property can severely limit the variety of wildlife that will venture there. Many native animals are terrified of dogs and cats unless they have been reared together. By not having dogs and cats, many possibilities are created.
Everyone can improve the wildlife potential of their properties by observing the following points:
• restock unused cleared areas with groves of suitable native trees - some as food trees - some as shelter, etc.
• leave corridors of natural vegetation as animal 'pathways' and recreate links between natural areas.
• burn early in the dry season to limit the intensity of fire and only burn very small areas at one time.
• restrict the movement of feral animals in the area.
• provide watering points for birds and animals.
• establish supplementary feeding stations for native animals. Oats and other grains are ideal supplementary foods for a wide range of animals. This will improve the carrying capacity and variety on your land.
• do not remove old trees as they provide hollows and general shelter for animals.
By protecting wildlife on your property you can enjoy the animals without the added responsibility of looking after them. Additional information can be obtained from organisations such as Wildcare and the Parks & Wildlife Commission of the NT.
If you wish to keep orphaned or injured native animals, or simply learn about a native animal by keeping it as a pet, contact the Parks & Wildlife Commission at Palmerston for information about the kinds of animals you can keep, the availability of permits and the conditions that need to be followed.
Parks & Wildlife Commission of the NT.
PO Box 496,
PALMERSTON, NT. 0831