Our Latest News

Wielangta Road bridges complete

31/07/2017

The replacement of four bridges on Wielangta Road is now complete, signaling a major step forward in the overall upgrade of the road.More

Celebrating World Ranger Day

31/07/2017

The Hodgman Liberal Government recognises the hard-working people working in Tasmania's national parks as part of World Ranger Day today.
More

Hastings Cave temporary closure for maintenance

31/07/2017

Hastings Cave and Thermal Springs will be closed for one week for essential maintenance.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.