How to make your wildlife sightings impactful in NSW
Since becoming interested and involved in wildlife ecology 4 years ago I immediately realised that there is a distinct lack of reporting done by everyday people, Naturalists and all interested in Wildlife Watching and Wildlife Photography. Whilst this might seem like an insignificant issue compared to Climate Change, Habitat Loss, Threatened Species and Feral Species however the lack of reporting in fact influences the decisions we make regarding the aforementioned issues.
The issues with a lack of records
- Threatened species can get destroyed by urban development
- It can result in local extinctions going un-noticed
- It alters land management strategies in a potentially inappropriate manner
The fundamental issue with not reporting your sightings is that if a Threatened species lives in an area but has not been detected or recorded by humans it can become locally extinct. However, If you report this sighting it is more difficult for the land to be developed and your sighting could save that species and all others within the area. Additionally, reported sightings of any animal influence land management decisions, no matter how common the species is.
The final (and purely selfish) benefit of current and regular records is that it allows everyone to know where to find their “target species”. Whilst this isn’t the key benefit, it is great as when people are actively out looking for animals that they are targeting, other species are inevitably detected further enhancing our knowledge of wildlife.
How to make your sightings count
The most powerful way to make your sightings worthwhile is to report them to NSW Bionet (http://www.bionet.nsw.gov.au/). BioNet is a portal for accessing and submitting government-held information about plants and animals in NSW. Before a large-scale development occurs developers are legally required to access Bionet NSW data to determine whether Threatened Species are present on the land and if they are there are further actions required to be taken. Anyone can do it so to get started visit http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/atlaspublicapp/Registration.aspx, it is super easy and definitely worth doing!!
The Glossy Black Cockatoo is a Threatened Species which can be saved from development by the upload of sightings into the Bionet database. I found this one (and 4 more) feeding recently in Ku-ring-gai Chase NP.
Ultimately, across NSW wildlife enthusiasts of all kinds are engaged, formally or informally, in spotting wildlife, however most of this valuable data is lost, as it is not translated into records, thus I encourage you to give back to the environment and make your sightings count by submitting your sightings to Bionet NSW.
If you have any questions or comment email me at firstname.lastname@example.org