Living With Wildlife: Alternatives to Lethal Control
We couldn't squeeze everything into our Living With Wildlife fact sheet. Here is some additional important information.
How Wildlife Can Help on Farms
Wild creatures can assist in the productivity of a farm. For example, birds and gliders pollinate many plants, and help to control insect pests. Over a year on average 81% of invertebrates are consumed by vertebrate predators such as birds and small mammals. Frogs help to control a range of insects. Birds such as Magpies, Forest Ravens, the Masked Lapwing (Plover), Cattle Egret, Australian Wood Duck, Sulphur Crested Cockatoo, as well as Bandicoots, consume large numbers of the pasture damaging scarab beetle or larve, or the cockchafer beetle and help to control other invertebrates such as worms, millipedes, spiders, beetles, molluscs, caterpillars and grasshoppers – all of which have the potential to become pests in farming areas. Owls and snakes keep mice and rats under control . Native-hens, regulate the growth and distribution of native grasslands through their grazing
Wildlife habitat, appropriately incorporated into a property, can provide a range of benefits both for the farm and for the wildlife. Shelter is beneficial for farm animals and decreases lamb mortality, deaths after shearing, and protects against heat stress which is a problem for all unsheltered animals, regardless of species. Trees also help retain moisture in the soil.
In some cases, putting artificial nest boxes in trees will help to encourage wildlife, in others planting appropriate native vegetation will encourage species to return. Bushcare Toolkits are available from the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment and provide advice on how to maintain and restore habitat.
It is not just people engaged in farming activities that come into conflict with wildlife. People in suburbia experience possums in the roof or eating their roses, fruit off their trees, or breaking into the veggie patch, and birds getting dining on their home orchards.
Attitude is the key, and exclusion is the answer. If there is a possum in the roof, it may be that there are no suitable tree hollows nearby. Build or buy it a nesting box and fix it to a tree, then when the possum is out of your roof, exclude it so that it cannot get back into your roof. Detailed information on how to go about this is available at: www.dpipwe.tas.gov.au
Possums can be excluded from particular trees by placing a strong plastic or metal guard around the trunk so that their claws can not get a grip. They can be excluded from vegetable patches with good quality fencing that uses steel pickets and strong mesh wire, or by putting floppy chicken wire on top of an existing fence.
Birds can be excluded from accessing fruit trees with individual nets. Monofilament netting, a fine nylon netting, must not be used as it entangles birds and other wildlife and can be invisible to them. Loose netting also can trap birds and cause their death.
Use only white knitted bird netting to protect backyard fruit trees from wildlife. Netting must be tensioned over a frame (see below) so that wildlife 'bounce' off it rather than getting entangled. It must be white for better visibility day and night, and checked daily.
Enjoy watching the wildlife in your backyard, and encourage it with native plantings. Go to: www.gardensforwildlife.dpiw.tas.gov.au for information on how to go about it.
For more information see a range of links about living with wldlife
Against Animal Cruelty Tasmania, Tasmanian Conservation Trust & Voiceless © 2012