WHAT CAN I DO?
This is the question we all get faced with when confronted with the insurmountable task of SAVING THE ENVIRONMENT. Luckily, you don’t have to save the world all on your own. But you can do a little. At Bonorong, we bring people together to ensure their little bit joins with other little bits, to make a big difference.
Whether you are a Tasmanian, or a visitor to our shores, here are some things most of you can do today!
Become a wildlife rescuer
Do you know what to do when you come across an injured animal? Or when you hit one on the road? Bonorong run FREE courses for people who wish to learn the basics of wildlife first aid and rescue. These are important life skills that everybody can and should learn; we teach many of the skills to children during our school talks. Find out more about our FREE wildlife rescue training here.
Take it easy on the roads – drive below 80 km/hr at night
According to our friends at Roadkill Tasmania, 50% of roadkill happens where vehicles travel over 80 km/hr. The vast majority of animals are hit between dusk and dawn – we ask everyone to please slow down at night. If you drive below 80 km/hr you will be HALF AS LIKELY TO HIT AN ANIMAL. Plus it’s safer for you and yours.
Be a wildlife guardian
Tasmania’s island status makes our environment and wildlife unique and something to celebrate. But it also means we have a delicate balance to maintain, which can be easily upset. Invasive species such as foxes, cats, dogs, ferrets and some parrots pose the number one threat to our native species. You can educate yourself on which animals are not meant to be here by reading this brochure from the Tasmanian Government. If you see animals in Tasmania that you don’t think belong here, contact Biosecurity Tasmania immediately on 03 6777 2200.
Be a responsible pet owner
This applies to people everywhere, not just Tasmania. Our dogs and cats are our best friends, but they are no friends to the environment. They spread disease, prey on native animals and can escape and become feral pests (see above). Desexing, microchipping and vaccinations are all easy steps towards responsible pet ownership. Hobart City Council has a great website which outlines the best approaches to having happy, harmonious pets and safe wildlife.
Marine Debris and Litter
Worldwide, it is thought that about 7 billion tonnes of debris enters the oceans each year. The majority of this marine debris is plastic, due to its versatility and use in a wide range of products. Plastic items can last in the marine environment for decades, meaning that remote corners of the world that were once pristine are now being touched by our litter.
Plastics are becoming stronger, cheaper, more buoyant and more durable, leading to an increasing amount of plastics in the marine environment worldwide. These properties also increase the likelihood that they will be discarded, and mean that they take longer to break down once in the water. Further, the invention of ‘biodegradable’ plastics has not assisted the problem, with plastics now simply breaking down into smaller particles which can better infiltrate the food chain. Similarly, a range of personal care products can have plastic microbeads in them that can be mistakenly eaten by a range of small marine species.
Australia is not immune to this problem, as a recent study by the CSIRO showed. Major results of their study found that:
- In Australia, approximately three-quarters of the rubbish along the coast is plastic.
- Most is from Australian sources, not from overseas, with debris concentrated near urban centres.
- Litter impacts wildlife directly through entanglement and ingestion and indirectly through chemical affects.
- Globally, approximately one third of marine turtles and nearly half of all seabird species have likely ingested debris.
What can you do to help?
- Never throw litter in the street as it will wash into storm water drains and end up at sea.
- Do not leave litter behind at the beach as rain, waves and tides can wash it out to sea.
- Try to use products that do not contain ‘microbeads’ as these last a long time in the environment.
If you find an animal injured or entangled by marine debris call the Nature Conservation Branch on (03) 6233 6556 or Bonorong (24 hours a day) on (03) 6268 1184.