Biosecurity and bushfires
The recent bushfires on Kangaroo Island have been devastating to the environment and to animals, both livestock and wildlife. In the out-pouring of support the island has received since much of the island burnt the level of help and support offered has been huge but now is the time when we have to remain vigilant. The island is vulnerable and we must ensure that now more than ever that its biosecurity remains intact.
To help further protect Kangaroo Island while it recovers from the devastating fires – please be aware of some of the biosecurity requirements.
With thousands of wildlife impacted by the fires the level of response to help has been phenomenal but in the rush to help some wildlife rescued has been taken off island to be treated. Unfortunately, any wildlife removed from KI to be treated on the mainland cannot be returned as the disease status is different and risks introducing new disease to Kangaroo Island. For example, koalas found on KI are one of the only places in the world where the population is free from Chlamydia. Once rescued koalas have been taken to the mainland we cannot allow them back onto the island for risk of infecting the remaining population. If you encounter injured wildlife please contact the South Australian Veterinary Emergency Management (SAVEM) on 0477 055 233 or go to www.savem.org.au/ for more info.
We have prepared biosecurity advice for you to be aware of should you intend to feed wildlife following the recent bushfires, this can be downloaded here
Both native and introduced bees on KI have been impacted by the bushfires. The honey bees industry on Kangaroo Island has a unique place in the honey market with the ligurian bees found on the island being disease free. No bee products, including honey, bees wax, live bees or bee-keeping equipment is permitted to be brought to KI to ensure that we do not damage the status of the island’s ligurian bees. If honey is needed to treat burns it must be sourced from Kangaroo Island producers.
Fodder / feed for animals
With much of the landscape damaged by the bushfires the island and its animals are in need of feed / fodder. Once more there has been many offers of help to donate fodder to farmers or feed for wildlife. There are many concerns with bringing feed / fodder to the island as it is easy for weeds, pests and other biosecurity concerns to be brought to the island with it.
Looking to donate or sources fodder for livestock on KI? Fodder, seed and hay brought to the island as animal feed should be weed free or sourced from properties with the equivalent weed status as Kangaroo Island. Those in need should contact Livestock SA on 8297 2299, visit the PIRSA website or download our Fodder Management Guidelines here.
Looking to bring feed to the island for the wildlife? Please contact our biosecurity Liaison officer for advice. Call 8553 4444 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Any machinery brought to KI should arrive as clean as possible – that is - free of soil and plant contamination. The reverse should apply to machinery leaving KI – it should be clean before arriving there. This is to minimise the risk of spreading pest plants (weeds) as well as soil-borne diseases such as phytophthora.
A lot of animal habitat has been lost in the bushfires. Recovering habitat on the island is a huge priority for us but this is something that cannot be rushed and needs to be done right. Natural Resources Kangaroo Island are aware of several attempts to bring plants to the island (in an attempt to help regrow habitat) that is not suitable for the island or its wildlife and in some cases even detrimental to the island’s long-term ecology. If you are offering to help the island’s habitat recover or hoping to purchase some plants for the island please consider these points:
- Don’t bring plants to the island that are not in certified potting soil
- Don’t plant anything in a revegetation project, even “natives” that do not have their provenance on the island.
- Do not plant any weedy garden species – a large majority of the island’s weeds began life as garden plants
- Recovery of KI native plants should not be rushed, let’s wait and see what autumn/winter/spring brings. Many of the native plant species on the island will recover, some even thrive, after the fires as some species need fire to stimulate regrowth or germinate seeds.
- Anything planted must be protected from predation by native browsers/stock. There are a lot of hungry animals out there so if you hope to plant future habitat you will need to protect it with something like tree guards – contact the native plant nursery for advice.
- Too late now for propagation of KI natives, needs to wait for 9 months
- Some plants can be purchased from the KI Native Nursery in Telegraph Road to be planted out this winter
For those affected or wanting to help, contact nursery for advice regarding regeneration, revegetation and suitable natives for garden plants. Call 8553 4444, 0437 322 692 or email email@example.com
You can also help with habitat restoration by donating to the new fund we have established which can be found here: (to be inserted).
(Please note donations to this fund are not tax deductible)
Other biosecurity risks
Other biosecurity risks to be aware of are:
- Potatoes can be brought for consumption only and must be washed or brushed (no soil on the potato)
- No live rabbits or ferrets can be brought to KI. We are currently free of many pest animals found on the mainland, let’s keep it that way
- Birdseed – We are aware of several offers of birdseed to help bird life / animals affected by the bushfires – please ring our biosecurity liaison officer for advice. Birdseed can spread weeds.
- When moving around the Island, it is good practice to ensure your vehicle and footwear are cleaned before you leave (so that you leave clean and arrive clean). In this way you can reduce the spread of unwanted weeds, plant and animal disease.
Biosecurity Liaison Officer, 8553 4444 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
KI Native Plant Nursery, 22b Telegraph Road, Kingscote 0437 322 692, (08) 8553 4444 or email email@example.com