Anonymous - It's all about the animals you don't see

July 18th, 2019
Anonymous - It's all about the animals you don't see
By Rebecca Chave

Adrian Sherriff owner of Animal Anonymous might entice you with his cuddly wombats and snugly marsupials but his message delivers a harrowing truth of the crisis our native species face in the Mount Lofty Ranges.

Adrian will be bringing some of the threatened species found only in the Mount Lofty Ranges along with some other familiar faces to the National Tree Day planting event at Laratinga Wetlands on Sunday, July 28.

“A lot of people have blue tongued lizards, possums and birds in their backyard and don't see any reduction in those animal numbers because they have the ability to adapt to urbanised areas,” Adrian said.

“What people don't see are the 'anonymous' animals found in bushland so we bring them along to paint a picture of the biodiversity in our region and to warn people of the damage they're doing to the animals they're not even aware of.

“With every extra mouth to feed, extra paddock and extra herd of livestock we lose native vegetation and that means we're losing the animals.”

Adrian said the Mount Lofty Ranges is one of 15 biodiversity rich areas in Australia meaning we have a huge range of birds, plants, reptiles, mammals and amphibians and they're all getting crammed into the tiny percentage of remnant native vegetation.

“The loss of habitat and introduced predators means there's literally less cover for animals,” Adrian said.

“They can't move through their corridors to mating grounds any more which means they're not breeding and when they do they are at huge risk.

“We're chopping down river gums and burning all the hollow logs we find which leaves them no habitat.

“People need to start appreciating and protecting the bushland, and planting more locally indigenous plants in their garden or creating good habitats with logs, sticks, shrubs and ponds.”

Adrian's ensemble of animals on the planting day will include an 11 month old, rescued baby wombat, pythons, legless lizards, fat-tailed dunnarts which are already extinct locally, owls and more.

“I'll bring the world's longest limbless gecko – the southern scaly-foot gecko which is tragically mistaken for a snake and often killed before people realise it's endangered,” Adrian said.

“Sadly their backfiring genetic make up gave them the defence mechanism to put on a threat posture like a snake and try to mimic the hissing of a snake even though they don't have a forked tongue.

“People these days think the only good snake is a dead snake.”

Adrian will be joined on the day by Sophie Thompson who will be giving demonstrations on building native bee hotels from 12.30-3pm to raise awareness of the important role they play and how they can be supported.

“These hotels provide the three main types of habitat used by native bees (borer holes in wood, pithy stems and clay rich soil) and allow the public to observe native bee activity and even identify bee types based on the type of hole closure,” Sophie said.

“There are 300 species of native bees on the Adelaide Plains and they are vital pollinators of native plants and also beneficial in the home garden.

“One local native bee, the blue banded bee helps to make our tomatoes fruit better, and makes the fruit larger and tastier.”

Those interested in taking part in the planting and learning about how to regenerate native vegetation are asked to bring gloves and a hat and get stuck in on the day.

The event will be held at the Laratinga Wetlands from 10am with a free barbecue lunch.

To find out more contact the Mount Barker Council on 8391 7200.

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