Herbert - Sugar Glider - J. Chew
How Can You Help?
Times for our wildlife can be difficult. There are many things that they have to contend with now that their habitat is being encroached on more and more by human habitation. Building a house for one human family may destroy the houses of many native creatures - birds, possums, bandicoots, native rodents, lizards, and frogs; in fact all the little creatures.
There are many ways that you can help our native wildlife. Put up wooden boxes for birds and possums. Try to ensure that they are at a suitable height for the intended occupant. Make the hole the correct size. Birds do not want possums to come visiting when they have young ones in the nest. Possums do not want ducks in their boxes (yes, ducks will lay eggs up off the ground!) Ensure the opening in the box faces away from the weather; a box that gets rained in will not get used. Check that the tree you are putting a possum box in is a food source tree. Make sure that the animals have easy access - putting a box half way up a bare trunk with no access means the box will not be used. Try to sit the box in a fork or on branch and secure it to the tree.
Dreys are also very useful. A drey can be made by using two hanging wire baskets, connecting them to make a ball shape, then stretching or removing the wire to allow for an entrance and exit, just in case unwanted visitors come calling. Line it with the coconut fibre inserts that hanging baskets come with. Hang the drey in a sheltered position in a tree.
Encourage birds and other creatures to your garden by the way in which you design it. Remember that native Australian trees thrive here!! They are also a great food source. The more flowering trees you plant, the greater the bird life you will have. Bird baths are also a great source of water for our natives. But don't forget that little animals need water too, and place a bowl or small bird bath on the ground for easy access. Plant ground covers, and native grasses to encourage and protect frogs and lizards. Old fallen logs make great houses too. Large branches that fall from trees can look decorative and be useful. Sugar cane mulch or any sort of mulch around your trees helps to drought protect them, and also supply cover for the little creatures.
There are other ways to help our native animals too. You can join a wildlife group as a carer (if you are over 18) or perhaps you would just prefer to be a support member. Support members pay their membership fees, and receive the newsletters and mail outs, but do not do the caring of the native animals. Sometimes people join as support members while they are working, and then when they retire from paid work, become caring members.
Wildlife groups are always appreciative of donations, which are used for the benefit of the animals. Aviaries that are no longer in use, cages that are cockatoo size cages, are also more than welcome when they are donated.
If you like to sew, perhaps you could make possum and kangaroo pouches. These are always in demand. Fabric used must be suitable to breathe i.e. flannelette is great, and clean old nappies are wonderful! The animals must not be able to chew and ingest the fabric. Fleecy fabric like that used in windcheaters, is also suitable for pouches for possums. Kangaroos need something a little stronger to take their weight. A possum pouch is usually sewn on three sides, all seams neatened to prevent fraying and approximately just a little larger than an A4 size piece of paper folded in half. However, we need pouches in many sizes, as critters tend to start off small and grow larger!!
Contact a group near you to ask what you can do to help.