Our Latest News

Celebrating the achievements of landcarers

04/12/2017

The Tamar Island Wetland Cares Volunteer Group has been recognised in the 2017 Landcare Tasmania Awards.More

Horsetail Falls walk now open

15/11/2017

Visitors to the West Coast are in for some spectacular views on the new Horsetail Falls walk near Queenstown.More

Bruny Island Neck lookout re-opens

10/11/2017

The walkways and lookout at the Bruny Island Neck will re-open to the public today, following the completion of a new, larger car park that will provide improved access to the popular lookout.More

Caring for Wildlife

Keeping Wildlife Wild

One of the great joys of visiting Tasmania's national parks and reserves is the opportunity to see wildlife in its natural habitat. Seeing a wild native animal is something special - unexpected and unpredictable.

National parks and reserves are among the few places where natural ecosystems can operate largely free from the influence of people. They offer the opportunity to see wildlife in the wild, behaving naturally. Feeding wildlife not only disrupts the natural processes that occur within national parks, but can also have negative impacts upon both wildlife and the people who come to see them.

The following information will help give you a better understanding of these impacts and what you can do to "keep wildlife wild".

Let them breed themselves

The Parks and Wildlife Service and Birds Australia encourage you not to impact upon birds by using devices that imitate or replicate the calls of birds, such as bird callers, mp3 players or our iOS app, Bird in the Hand. Using headphones when playing calls outside will help you identify a bird without disrupting normal social behaviour and potentially impacting on breeding success.

Let them feed themselves

Feeding wildlife does them no favours. There are many reasons why it is not a good idea:

  • Animals such as wallabies, possums and currawongs which are used to being fed can become quite bold and injure you in their attempts to get food.
  • Often, possums, devils and quolls which have been fed around campgrounds become nuisances, stealing food and damaging camping equipment in the process.
  • Eating processed foods can cause bony growths to form in wallabies' jaws ("lumpy jaw"). This can lead to a slow and painful death.
  • Animals which have become tame as a result of being fed are more likely to be hit by cars in carparks.
  • Feeding wildlife disrupts their normal social behaviour. Wallabies for example, are largely solitary and do not by nature form herds, as they often do around campgrounds.
  • For animals such as brushtail possums, there are only a limited number of hollows in which to live. Any extra possums usually die or move into "artificial hollows" such as the roofs of houses.
  • Feeding waterfowl, such as ducks, can result in feral domestic species displacing native species.

Who will feed them during the winter?

In Tasmania, national parks and reserves are mostly visited in the warmer months of the year. During this time, wildlife populations can increase and animals can become dependent upon hand-feeding.

During winter, the increased populations of animals have to return to their natural diet at a time when food is usually scarce. This can deplete their limited food supply and increase the risk of starvation. The increase in the local population also means diseases can spread more easily through the population. If wildlife are left to their own natural food in the summer, problems like this are unlikely to occur during the rest of the year.

There are appropriate places in Tasmania where you can have close contact with our native animals. A number of wildlife parks around the state offer the opportunity to pat or hold, and feed, our native animals safely.