With an area of 7,120km, Southern Downs is home to great variety of native animals with a variety of natural habitats for birds, mammals, marsupials and reptiles.
Queensland's native wildlife is protected by legislation that aims to conserve biodiversity by protecting wildlife and its habitat. All native birds, reptiles, mammals and amphibians are protected, along with some invertebrates (certain butterflies, spiders and scorpions) and freshwater fish. All taking, keeping, using or moving of wildlife for commercial, recreational or other purposes is regulated to ensure we maintain viable wild populations of plants and animals.
Protecting our Wildlife
With the ongoing expansion of our towns and road networks people are coming into contact with our unique native fauna more often. You can protect our wildlife by:
- Keep dogs and cats under control at night—most attacks on native wildlife happen at night.
- Keep dogs away from koalas—if a dog is disturbing a koala in a tree, remove the dog from the area so that the koala can come down from the tree and leave unharmed.
- Train your dog to stop chasing other animals—if you are concerned that your dog may chase a koala, consider obedience training.
- Follow recommended speed limits when driving through areas known for active wildlife—these speed limits are set to give you time to react if an animal is crossing the road.
Sick or Injured Wildlife
A wild animal that is unwell may require special treatment and rehabilitation from a trained wildlife carer or a vet. If you find a wild animal in trouble, there are things you can do to help, but first:
- Make sure you are safe.
- Only handle an injured animal if you know how to (see below).
- Do not handle any bat (flying foxes or microbats) unless you have been trained and you have a current vaccination against Australian bat lyssavirus (ABL).
Handling injured wild animals
Injured wild animals won't want to be handled. They are likely to defend themselves and may try to escape. Handle them so that they won't struggle and worsen their injury. If possible:
- Remove the animal from the threat (e.g. take it off a road or out of a swimming pool).Wear gloves or use a thick towel (or jumper) to restrain the animal. This will protect you from scratches or bites.
- Put the animal in a warm, quiet, enclosed space as quickly as possible (e.g. wrap it in a towel and place it in a secure cardboard box). Make sure the container has adequate ventilation.
- Avoid opening the container to look at the animal or to show it to others - the animal’s survival may depend on being kept warm and quiet. If you are unsure about handling an animal just keep it safe until help arrives.
Transporting injured animals
When transporting an injured animal, restrain the container inside a vehicle and cover it so that the animal can't escape.
Make sure the wildlife carer or vet receiving the animal is prepared to care for it when you arrive. Tell them where you found the animal, so it can be released back to the same area when it has recovered. This information helps to identify and manage 'black spots'—where significant numbers of sick or injured wild animals are being found.
Caring for injured wildlife
A rehabilitation permit is required to care for injured wildlife (apply to the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection for a Rescue and Rehabilitation permit).
The Granite Belt Wildlife Carers Incorporated (GBWC Inc) is a group of trained volunteers dedicated to the rescue, care and rehabilitation of orphaned, injured and sick native wildlife. GBWC Inc is based in Stanthorpe, but their work covers the geographical area bordered by the NSW/Qld Border, Texas, Allora, Killarney, Warwick, Liston and everywhere on the Granite Belt Plateau.