Sunday, April 12, 2009

time out for birdsland

As a result of the terrible fires that went through Birdsland I’m asking pet owners to abide by the temporary regulations banning dogs from the reserve. This will give injured wildlife in the reserve a chance to recover from the bushfire.

Birdsland was closed for five weeks after a large part of it was engulfed by fire, however it was re-opened in time for the Oxfam Trailwalker event.

A lot of wildlife was injured and staff from Parks Victoria, Department of Sustainability and Environment and
Wildlife Victoria have rescued many animals and removed them to Healesville Sanctuary where they are receiving veterinary care.

Many other animals that either couldn’t be caught or whose injuries were less severe, were left in the reserve where they will recover in time. Wildlife from the fire-affected areas of Lysterfield Park and neighbouring areas are also seeking food, water and shelter in the Birdsland Reserve.

The reserve is usually designated as a lead-only zone for dogs but since the bushfire, that has been temporarily changed to no dogs in the reserve at all.

Wildlife Victoria have said that recovering animals will be stressed at the moment with people being in the park, and even more so by the presence of dogs and other animals. Even the scent of dogs being walked on leads in the reserve is distressing to them.

There is signage all over the reserve asking people to consider the wildlife and for a short while, not bring dogs into the reserve. Unfortunately, some people are ignoring the signs and several people have allowed their dogs to roam off leads.

Birdsland is a very popular reserve due to its natural beauty, and if we want to see it returned in all its glory, we need to give the reserve and the wildlife time to recover. I hope the community understands and shows some compassion for our injured creatures.

The last thing I want is to see Birdsland closed again or to have to take further measures to ensure people do the right thing. We do want the reserve to be of benefit to all – for those who enjoy visiting Birdsland and the creatures who call it home.

Don’t forget to keep off burnt areas too, as plant seeds are starting to germinate and it is important to give vegetation the best chance to recover whilst it is in this fragile state.

If you need to source an alternative reserve to take your dog to for a bit of exercise whilst Birdsland is closed to dogs follow this
link, which details on and off lead sites throughout the Shire.

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