LOOKING after critters in your back yard is the focus of a new website that is providing scientific information on how to keep the wildlife you meet in your garden healthy.
The Healthy Wildlife Healthy Lives website was launched by the Eastern Metropolitan Regional Council in conjunction with Kanyana Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre, Murdoch University and Native Wildlife Rescue on March 3 to coincide with World Wildlife Day.
EMRC chief executive Peter Schneider said Australia’s unique native wildlife was being put at risk by unintentionally harmful human behaviour such as feeding inappropriate food to wildlife.
“There is an increasing interaction between humans, domestic animals and wildlife in urban areas due to habitat loss and urban encroachment on native bushland,” he said.
“Hand-feeding bandicoots, scattering bread for birds and releasing non-native fish into waterways are all activities that are done with good intentions but threaten the long term health of native species.
“This website provides an easy source of information for the community on appropriate ways they can protect wildlife without unintentional harm.”
Mr Schneider said the website would also educate the public on parasitic and other diseases in urban wildlife.
“We know that we can catch diseases from wildlife but humans and their pets can also give parasitic diseases to wildlife too,” he said.
“This project provides science-based information on how to keep the wildlife you may meet in your back yard healthy.
“Through education and behaviour change, the community’s impact on wildlife will be reduced and the ability for the community to interact safely with wildlife will |increase.
Mr Schneider said data on the extent of disease spread to wildlife from people and domestic animals would be collected during the project to improve the existing level of knowledge on this problem.
“As part of the site those |involved with wildlife rehabilitation are able to report wildlife with suspected disease to assist researchers in improving their level of knowledge about disease in wildlife,” he said.
“The data will be used to improve wildlife health, conserve the environment and encourage healthy interaction between people and wildlife”
For more information head to www.healthywildlife.com.au.