Do the right thing; Making the most of KI’s parks
Natural Resources Kangaroo Island’s (NRKI) compliance series seeks to provide information and clarity on doing the right thing.
This week, we look at how you can get the most from our parks and reserves while respecting what they protect and provide.
Kangaroo Island is lucky to have so many wonderful parks and reserves that the community can enjoy and that bring thousands of visitors to our shores every year.
There are a few guidelines that will help make it more enjoyable and beneficial for everyone involved, as well as protecting the things that we value.
Best way to view wildlife
Paul Jennings, Ranger in Charge KI Parks, says that the viewing of wildlife is a major draw-card for Kangaroo Island although there are some basic guidelines to follow when viewing them in their natural habitat which also maximise your chances of viewing them. This will help to ensure wild animals remain wild and value add to the experience.
“ Try to move slowly and quietly, keep a safe distance and always put the welfare of the animal ahead of your desire to view them and you will find that the animals will be much more likely to stay put and continue doing their own thing.” said Mr Jennings.
“Most importantly, do not try to touch, chase or surround wildlife, this could change the animal’s behaviour, frighten it and cause it stress, and will also increase the chance of injury to the animal or to yourself.”
Getting the best pics
Quentin Chester, interpretive Officer at Cape Willoughby and avid photographer, says that by ensuring you keep at least five metres between you and the wildlife you can get some good photos of the animals in their natural environment.
“Always consider the safety of yourself and the animal, there are many picturesque clifftops around the island where you can find an abundance of wildlife but don’t get too close as a gust of wind could easily sweep you off your feet.” said Mr Chester.
“Avoid using flash photography, particularly at night as this can temporarily blind animals. Try to get the sun, or a light source behind or to the side of your shot to light up whatever you are taking a photo of. “
The use of drones
The use of drones are regulated in Kangaroo Island National Parks and a Permit must be applied for their use. This is to minimise the disturbance to visitors and wildlife whilst also protecting other animals such as nesting coastal birds; during some sensitive nesting times, this may not be available.
Please get in contact with Brett Dalzell, Parks district manager, who can talk you through your permit application, he is here to help you and can be contacted through the Natural Resources Centre on Dauncey Street in Kingscote or telephone 08 8553 4444.
“Kangaroo Island is home to several endangered coastal raptors like the white-bellied sea-eagle and ospreys, these nest on rugged cliff-lines, like those found around Flinders Chase and Cape Gantheaume.
“Often pairing for life, these coastal raptors are very sensitive to disturbance when breeding, particularly from above.” said Mr Dalzell.
“Talk to us about the best time of the year to apply for a permit or to know which areas to avoid at key times.”
Help keep our parks strong and healthy
The pristine environments found in most of our parks and reserves is susceptible to pests and diseases.
Some of these pest plants, animals or funguses can have a devastating effect on our native plants and threatens the survival of animals that depend on them for food and shelter.
Andrew Triggs, Biosecurity Liaison Officer at Natural Resources Kangaroo Island says that Phytophthora cinnamomi, also known as Pc or root-rot fungus, is one such disease.
“Phytophthora is a fungus that is spread in soil and water, easily transported on footwear, equipment and vehicles that have been in contaminated areas.” said Mr Triggs.
“There are steps we can all take to minimise its spread and the spread of some pest plants.
“Only parking in designated areas, sticking to marked footpaths and doing our best to remove soil from footwear and vehicle tyres before leaving an area you can make a difference – you can clean your footwear at hygiene boot cleaning areas commonly found at the start and end of walking trails.”
Ultimately, we all have a part to play in ensuring our parks continue to be a safe haven for our native species and somewhere we can all escape to.