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Animals have to move - within the Scenic Rim and beyond

Why? Where When How What problems can they face? How can we help them

Why?

To move from sleeping to feeding/drinking spots

  1. Some, like the fruitbats, may move many kilometres each day (or night). Some, like the red-necked pademelon may move a short distance from the rain forest where they sleep to the grass they often feed on.
  2. To find new feeding places as resources diminish.
    After a fire or prolonged drought, food may be sparse.
    Fruits and insects are not as plentiful in the mountains during winter as they are in summer, so many birds migrate to the valleys.
    Lakes and creeks dry up, forcing waterbirds to move elsewhere.
    As koalas finish all the tender young eucalypt leaves on their trees they need to find new ones.
  3. To find a new territory,
    e.g. A young animal moving out of home for the first time, or an animal whose home has been destroyed, by fire, clearing or whatever, or is no longer safe where it has been living.
  4. To move between breeding areas to over-wintering areas,
    This may sometimes mean travelling many kilometres
  5. To find a mate.
ALSO very important (although the individual animal isnít aware of this).

INSURANCE AGAINST TOTAL LOSS

   If animals are eliminated from a particular area, if some of their relatives have been able to move elsewhere
   they may still survive and their offspring return, or at least persist in another place.

GENETIC DIVERSITY

   If animals populations are confined to small areas, they can become inbred, losing genetic diversity and becoming
   less fit from one generation to the next. If they can move around more they can mate with Ďoutsidersí and
   maintain genetic diversity, which may help the population survive long-term.

Where?

WITHIN A HABITAT TYPE
Some animals need to stay within the same habitat type.

Wompoo fruitdoves for instance donít often move out of rainforests. Mountain brushtails (bobucks) are not as versatile as the common brushtails and need to stay within tall dense forests.

Such animals need continuous habitat or close Ďstepping stonesí.

BETWEEN HABITATS

Some animals move between habitat types Ė for instance the Lewinís honeyeater forages deep within the rainforest for fruits, but comes into eucalypt forests in search of nectar-rich flowers.

Conserving just one kind of habitat wont be enough for these species.

ALTITUDINAL within the region

Grey fantails, golden whistlers, and others use dense mountain forests for breeding in spring and summer but forage in more open areas at lower altitudes during winter.

Even the bowerbirds will come a little way out of the rainforests during winter, but the wompoo fruitdoves and catbirds, although moving lower down the slopes, generally donít like to leave the cover of the rainforest.

Coxenís figparrot, now almost extinct, no longer has enough lowland rainforest to support itself during winter.

LONG DISTANCE

Some fly long distances - usually north-south Ė every year.

Some have to fly long distances to find something \ fruiting or flowering - e.g. flying foxes have flown 200km or more in one night, then return the following night after not finding it

Waterbirds may have to fly many kilometres in a drought to find water.

When?

Moments may be -
DAILY
Between resting and eating/drinking areas.

AT MATURITY

To seek a new territory

EVERY YEAR

Between over-wintering and breeding areas

AS NEEDED

   Nomadically, to seek new food or water sources.

How?

Some fly strongly across cleared areas.

Some donít like to fly out of the forest, but may go short distances between habitat patches.

Some canít fly but will cross cleared land between forests.

Some canít fly (and donít like to leave the forest, so may not be able to reach another habitat patch).

What problems can they face?

Too far between habitat patches.

Nowhere to go.

Not enough food along the way.

Roads.

Dogs, cats, foxes etc.

Native predators: escape from native predators can become harder if there is less shelter.

Natural or human-induced damage to corridors.

Edge effects on corridors.
E.g. Noisy miners tend to live at the edge of forest, and may attack forest interior birds in narrow corridors.

How can we help them?

Habitat conservation and restoration.

Corridors that a variety of animals can use.

Corridors wide enough to avoid edge efects and buffer against disasters.

Food plants.

Control dogs and cats, especially at night. They need plenty of exercise, but not by themselves at night.

Shelters for gliding gliders. Poles can be provided across open areas, and gliders can glide from one to the other to reach the forest, but owls soon find it easy to predict their movements and catch them.

Shelters are needed to protect them while using the poles.

Careful driving, especially at dusk and dawn.


With care and intelligent planning, maybe we CAN still enjoy our wildlife for decades or even centuries to come!


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