Wild Futures

Bindook Highlands: Recovery for landholders and local wildlife

Jess, one of our CVA Project Officers in NSW, spent last weekend in the Bindook Highlands as a part of our nest box installation project. 30 nest boxes were installed across private landholder properties to act as new homes for displaced wildlife. Jess recounts the success of the weekend, and the resilience of the amazing landholders after the devastating 2020 bushfires tore through their properties. 

“John one of the local landholders, has been on his 763 acre property in the Bindook Plateau (a part of the Great Western Divide) for 20 years and has always been a big advocate for wildlife and the natural world around him. Since getting involved with the property he has spent extensive time himself trying to control the feral animal populations, in particular feral pigs which do significant damage to the environment.  

John and other landholders in the area, such as Gavin and Amanda who runs the dingo sanctuary nearby are always trying to control the feral populations to help native wildlife thrive. It has always been a special place with only 13 landholders spread across the immense area of the Bindook Highlands.  

As an example of the amount of wildlife present, before the bushfires John had a mob of 300 kangaroos on his property that sadly has now reduced to 3 kangaroos, after most of them perished in the fires. Liz who runs a property nearby describes the bushfires as an emotional time, as it was absolutely traumatising not knowing what would happen and if there would be anything left. John himself was airlifted away from his property by police due to the catastrophic nature of the bushfires tearing through the land. The properties survived the bushfires, but landholders estimate that 90% of the local wildlife was lost. Everyone during the nest box event was so keen to help and try to encourage the wildlife back to the area, one nest box at a time! 

It was a great weekend (despite the cold weather being -1 degree at night!) and everyone was so inspired to come together and do something positive for both the wildlife and each other, whilst supporting and sharing stories during this challenging time. The landholders all said it will still be many years of recovery ahead, and despite having so much ongoing work and recovery on their own land, they were more than happy to give their time over the weekend and were amazing hosts.  

The landholders remembered the areas where they had seen gliders before, and almost ran up the ladders to put the nest boxes up. It was hard to keep up, myself and Xuela from Landcare were running around taking records as nest boxes went up everywhere! We installed 30 nest boxes over 3 properties and there were several other landholders nearby keen to put nest boxes up on theirs too. One landholder enthusiastically shared the story of seeing a koala on his property 2 weeks prior! 

While regrowth of the native flora was everywhere, all we’re looking for is signs of wildlife. The landholders discussed getting together possibly in 6 months’ time to go for a spotlight walk and monitor any signs of the nest boxes in use. Everyone said they’ll keep an eye on the nest boxes and any sign of wildlife inhabiting their new homes!”

Words by Jess Styan