As residents of one of the most biodiverse regions in Australia, it's up to everyone to support our local environment. You can encourage local biodiversity by simply incorporating some of these wildlife friendly features and practices.
In the Garden
- Plant Natives: Dense areas of flowering native trees, shrubs, climbers and ground covers, planted at different heights can form a variety of habitats in a relatively small area. While one garden makes a difference, many can form important corridors through urban landscapes and attract wildlife to your home. For more information, download the Gardening with Natives ( PDF, 2.18 MB ) fact sheet.
- Avoid Pesticides and Herbicides: Some chemical applications can harm non-target species such as birds and frogs. Use organic gardening principles for a garden that nurtures biodiversity, uses less water and is safer for wildlife and the family. Find out how from Organic Gardener.
- Wash the Car on the Grass: Polluted storm water run off from homes can impact aquatic life in local waterways. Washing your car on grass or dirt, instead of sealed driveways can help absorb and neutralise any harmful chemicals.
- Responsibly Manage Garden Waste: Dumping garden waste in the bush or over the fence can harm our local environment and agricultural industry. Because exotic plant species are the biggest source of invasive weeds, all garden waste should be disposed of through home composting or at one of Council’s transfer stations. The best way to control the spread of weeds is to avoid and remove harmful species in the first place, such as those in the Dirty Dozen factsheet ( PDF, 2.74 MB ).
- Control Pests: For tips to control common pests like cane toads or indian myna birds in your garden, check out the Backyard Biodiversity fact sheet ( PDF, 3.67 MB ). Always be on the look out for tramp ants and if you think you have found fire ants, electric ants or yellow crazy ants, report it immediately to Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23.
- Do not Feed Wildlife: When wild animals visit, refrain from feeding them as this creates a dietary imbalance and encourages dependency in areas where they could be vulnerable to predators and vehicles.
- Care for Wildlife: If you spot injured, sick or orphaned wildlife, contact FNQ Wildlife Rescue on 4053 4467 immediately at anytime. It's a good idea to save the number on your phone.
Responsible Pet Ownership
- Cats: Many native animals feed at night, making them easy prey for cats. Keeping your cat inside and putting bells on their collar can reduce their ability to sneak up on unsuspecting prey. Regularly worming your cat and training them to only use a kitty litter box is also vital to reduce the risk that a parasite (spirometra) poses to local frog populations.
- Dogs: When out in nature, keep your dog on a leash (unless in a designated dog off-leash area) and only enter designated Queensland parks and forests. Wildlife should not become accustomed to their scent as it may make them easy prey to roaming wild dogs.
Legally, cats and dogs must be contained on your property. For information on responsible pet ownership, wandering pets and strays, head to Council's Animal Management webpage.
- Cane Toads: Go on a toad hunt. Collect all of the toads in your yard, freeze and then dispose of in your waste bin. Keep watch for toad eggs in fishponds etc. It’s easy to identify toad eggs, they are the only ones laid in long clear strands like spaghetti. The eggs look like a row of little black dots. Destroy the cane toad eggs by taking them out of the water and leaving them to dry.
- Indian Myna Birds: The Common Indian Myna is extremely aggressive, outcompeting native birds and small tree dwelling marsupials for food and nests. To help control their spread, you can:
- Restrict access to food: Indian Myna birds are particularly fond of dog biscuits and will come to your yard to feed if dog food is easily accessible. Restrict access to your dog’s food by placing it undercover or by bringing the bowl indoors during the day.
- Reduce nesting options: Block holes in roof and eaves and remove dead fronds from palms to reduce nesting options in your yard.
- Join a trapping program: Cairns Rotary Club coordinates a community trapping program that includes resources and advice on effective trapping and humane disposal of pest birds.
- Invasive Ants: Fire ants, electric ants and yellow crazy ants have all been detected in the Cairns region. These three invasive pests have the potential to severely impact the natural environment, our outdoor lifestyle and local agriculture. Report any potential ant sightings in your backyard or neighbourhood to Biosecurity Queensland www.daff.qld.gov.au