PASSIONATE environmentalist and fauna carer Allison Dixon is Mandurah’s Citizen of the Year.
Ms Dixon has been doing what she describes as “catching stuff” for 30 years since she sat in front of a bulldozer to protest the clearing of bushland.
She felt then, as she feels now, that there must be a better solution.
“We can’t just destroy wildlife like that,’’ she said.
As a fauna handler she is in high demand by residents who want an injured or unwanted animal removed or relocated.
Among the many projects she has been involved in that protect and conserve native wildlife have been the installation of osprey nesting poles, ringtail possum dreys and hollow logs for nesting.
Ms Dixon spent hours recently freeing a 213cm boomer trapped in fencing wire at Osprey Waters, helped by City of Mandurah rangers who she describes as “bloody marvellous”.
When it took eight years for snake warning signs to be installed in the Florida-Melros area, Dixon ordered and paid for signage herself and said the snake sighting rate dropped by about 50 per cent.
As well as rescuing flora and fauna, she collects seeds before areas are cleared and relocates hollow logs.
She recently spent four days trapping possums at a local campus where the possums were “playing” in the metal and wood workshops.
Two of her biggest concerns are Mandurah’s mosquito-borne disease rate, which she claims is among the highest in WA second only to the Kimberley, and prescribed burns in which many fauna die from smoke inhalation.
A favourite story is the two drunks under the old traffic bridge who carried a western brown snake between them to the ranger’s office.
“The poor thing was very cold and terrified,’’ she said.
And then there was the bloke who drove from Cockburn to Mandurah with what he believed was a dugite in his ute, but which turned out to be three python skins and probably a prank.
Ms Dixon said she might write a snake handbook for people who panic when they see what frequently turns out not to be a snake.