Bushfire grant funding critical Scenic Rim wildlife corridors

The Scenic Rim branch of the Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland (WPSQ) was awarded a $49,000 Landcare Led Bushfire Recovery Grant to establish wildlife corridors between habitat refuges burnt by the 2019 bushfires.

WPSQ is a not-for-profit that engages with the community and protects wildlife, and who are using the grant to provide shelters corridors for wildlife in the area’s higher country. Dr Ronda Green from the WPSQ said the Scenic Rim had wildlife that was considered threatened or endangered.

“Some of the wildlife we are targeting are already registered as threatened or endangered, but there are others that could soon head that way if we don’t provide for them now. It is less costly in time and financially to enhance their survival now than to wait until it’s critical” Dr Green said.

Dr Green explained the wildlife corridors were needed, because wildlife doesn’t stick with existing habitat reserves.  

Wildlife conservation doesn’t automatically follow when you declare a patch of habitat as a reserve. Animals don’t understand our boundaries and they often need to move beyond them to find resources, mates or to escape from an event such as severe bushfires. While some can easily head out across cleared land to other habitat remnants, many others can’t unless they have at least a few trees or some sheltering shrubs along the way.  

Several meetings of land-owners and educational workshops have taken place in various parts of the Scenic Rim region of South-east Queensland. Some landowners joining the project may choose to plant just a few tall trees for gliders and food. Others can plant a couple of hundred trees and fleshy-fruited understorey plants to facilitate movements by small ground-frequenting mammals, birds and lizards as well as providing food plants for butterfly larvae and nectar for adult butterflies and bees.

Plants for the project are selected for their value to wildlife, especially during drier seasons, but also for being indigenous to the local area, and, where possible, relatively fire resistant.

The Scenic Rim is home to a diverse range of wildlife including the Coxen’s Fig-Parrot, Eastern Bristlebird, Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby, Greater Glider, Grey-headed Flying-fox, Koala, Long-nosed Potoroo, Spotted-tail Quoll and Three-toed Snake-tooth Skink, as well as many species that are not currently listed as threatened, including multi-coloured fruit doves, the gorgeous Regent Bowerbird and the world’s only bird of paradise outside of the tropics – the Paradise Riflebird.

This project has been funded by the Australian Government’s Bushfire Recovery Program for Wildlife and their Habitat, as part of the $14 million Landcare Led Bushfire Recovery Grants supporting 111 diverse projects in regions affected by the Black Summer bushfires of 2019-20. 

The Landcare Led Bushfire Recovery Grant is jointly managed by Landcare Australia, the National Landcare Network and the Landcare Peak bodies.