Q 1. Who are you?
A. The Wildlife Protection Association incorporated in 1998. Now with thousands of members and supporters worldwide, we argue to governments for increased protection for our diminishing wildlife. We have an executive committee of 6 members, all of whom have many years of experience in wildlife care and in education. We receive no government funding, and our resources come from our sponsors and from donations. Our eNewsletter “Wildlife Bytes Australia” has been published weekly since 1998.
Q 2. Why does it cost $10 for WPAA membership. I know its not much, but what do I get for my 10 bucks?
A. Well, firstly you get a really good feeling inside, because you are helping us to protect our wildlife. Secondly, each week you get an eNewsletter detailing all the issues that our wildlife face. We dont pull any punches, Wildlife Bytes Australia was never meant to be a “soft” read. Your $10 helps to produce and distribute the eNewsletter, so our readers know whats happening to wildlife, and if there’s any funds left over, it goes towards our Wildlife Education in Schools Programs.
Q 3. What if I make a donation? How does that get spent?
A. You can make a tax-deductable donation for any amount over $20. Any donations we get, hit the ground running. We take nothing out for administration or wages etc, all the donated funds are directly spent on campaigns and awareness programs to protect our wildlife. Make your cheque out to “WPAA Fund Account”, and mail it to The Treasurer, WPAA, PO Box 309, Beerwah, Qld. 4519, or make a donation from this website.
Q 4. What if I want to leave some of my estate to WPAA to help wildlife?
A. Thanks very much! All the details for making a bequest of money, property, or whatever, to WPAA are featured in Wildlife Bytes each week.
Q 5.What do I do if I find an injured or orphaned bird or animal?
A. This is fairly complicated depending on the species, but initially keep the animal warm and quiet, don’t try to give anything to eat or drink, then contact your local wildlife carers immediately. When checking fresh roadkill for an orphaned joey, don’t become roadkill yourself! Be careful. More information about helping injured or orphaned wildlife can be found here. Many people in rural areas carry a wildlife road rescue kit in their car at all times.
Q 6. Why should I worry about whether wildife becomes extinct?
A. Because we can’t survive ourselves without wildlife. Birds, bats and tree living mammals such as possums keep insect levels down, polinate plants in the forests, and have symbiotic relationships with other plant and animal species. Kangaroos and wallabies fertilise the soil, their footprints leave a mark in the soil so seeds can blow in, be protected, and polinate in the rain. It’s like a chain when you remove a link….everything unravels….and we humans are at the end of the chain.
Q 7. I can understand why people are concerned about endangered species, but why worry about common species?
A. We believe we need to keep the so-called common species off the endangered species list. It seems pointless to allow so-called common species to become endangered, to go on a list, and then throw a few dollars towards saving them. The IUCN believes that many more Australian species should be listed as endangered, but there is not enough data. We do know that populations of almost all wildlife species have crashed over the last 50 years.
Q 8. So what is the Government doing to save the endangered species, except having an Endangered Species Day?
A. Not much. Some threat abatement plans have been developed, but none recognise human impacts, and only a few have actually been implemented. As far as we are aware, no species has ever been taken of the Endangered Species list because it’s been saved. If a species goes on the Endangered Species list, it’s eventual extinction is almost assured.
Q 9. But what are the threats to wildlife, I thought the government was looking after it?
A. Not so. Shooting, both legal and illegal; habitat loss; Government Permits are still issued to kill otherwise protected wildlife; roadkill; creeping urbanisation; poisoning, both deliberate and accidental; pollution; land clearing; and more. Read more about this in Wildlife Bytes Australia each week.
Q 10. I found a turtle on the road, can I keep him as a pet?
A. No, you cannot. Pet turtles (or any other wildlife) can only be purchased from a pet shop, and you will need a special State Permit. All States have different Legislation, some allow the keeping of reptiles only, some allow a few mammals such as possums or wallabies. There are heavy fines for taking any wildlife from the wild, and you could go to jail for wildlife trafficking or wildlife poaching. There are also unresolved compliance and animal welfare issues with keeping pet wildlife. If your backyard is wildlife friendly, the wildlife will come to you, and you wont have to buy it, or cage it.
Q 11. If a flying fox comes into my backyard, will I get sick from it.
A. No, possibly only if you handle it and get scratched. If the flying fox seems to be in trouble, phone your local wildlife carer group. Don’t touch the flying fox yourself.
Q 12. Okay, I’ve got lot’s of plants on my balcony, I’ve got a couple of geckos, a tiny frog that I think came in with one of the plants, and I’m getting a visit now and again from a small butterfly thingo. How do I attract birds to my balcony?
A. Birds will come if you have flowers and refuge for them…..and if you don’t have a cat. You can find out more at: http://www.australian-backyard-wildlife.com
Q 13. Should I have a bat house in my yard?
A. Absolutely. Microbats are one of the best friends that we human animals have. They consume huge amounts of insects every night. Without the microbats we would be overrun with pest insects.
Q 14. I have a possum in my roof, and its driving me crazy! How do I get rid of it.
A.Its a waste of time trying to relocate it, and it will only come back. It’s also illegal to relocate it in most States. First thing to do is give possum a name, (a nice name) and that creates a relationship. Make sure the possum is out, then make sure that your roof entrance spots are sealed off so he cant get back in, and that will keep possum out of your roof. Make sure he has a possum box outside and he will live in that. For more info on how to do this visit http://possuminroof.blogspot.com/
Q 15. I’ve got children and I’m worried about snakes coming into my yard? If a snake comes into my yard can I kill it?
A. No you cannot kill it. Most poisonous snakes are not territorial, if they come into your yard they are usually just passing through. That is, unless you have chooks. If you’ve got chooks, you’ve also got rats, and the rats will attract snakes anyway. Some pythons such as carpet snakes may hang around for a while if food is available. Something like 97% of people bitten by a snake have been bitten while trying to kill or capture it. If a snake takes up residence in an area of your yard, you can contact your local snake catcher who will capture it, and release it somewhere else. Otherwise leave snakes alone!
Q 16. Okay, I’d like to do more to help wildlife, but where do I start?
A. You can start right here. Subscribe to Wildlife Bytes Australia, so you can be informed about wildlife issues. When there is an issue that needs to be taken to the politicians, we will give you their contact details, so you can write to them. For many decades politicians have deliberately been in denial over wildlife protection issues. The Internet has made it possible for wildlife groups to network with each other, and with the community, and collectively express our concerns about wildlife directly to those that make decisions relating to wildlife issues. This is a unique historic situation that has never happened before. Generally politicians only care about one thing… getting re-elected. Now we can put the wildlife issues in front of them that may help them to be re-elected…or not! Get involved, when there is a wildlife issue that concerns you, write to a politician…. or several politicians. If you get a waffly reply, write back and tell them their response wasn’t good enough. If we are to save our diminishing wildlife, it has to come from the community…. thats all of us.