Updated: Jan 31
The area around Little Oak Sanctuary has been affected by severe drought for a number of years.
The creek that runs through the property has stopped flowing months ago, and now the Shoalhaven river, water source for much of Braidwood and the surrounding area, has stopped flowing as well. Large swathes of gum trees are turning brown and dropping their leaves as they struggle to survive.
And then came the fires. Sadly our area (and so many others) have been impacted by immense fires. The Tallaganda State fire (North Black Range) came within 2km of Little Oak (3.8km from our house) before it was brought under control.
What this means for wildlife is not only are they struggling to find water, and food due to the drought, now those animals who were lucky enough to escape the blaze itself are moving farther afield to find food and water to keep themselves alive.
Mama wombat is a frequent visitor to our hay shed each night - along with her joey who is still hanging out in the pouch.
At the sanctuary, we have a healthy population of Kangaroos, Wallabies, Possums, Wombats, Bird life and lizards (Goannas and water dragons in particular). Since the fires the number of these animals we are seeing has increased, and in order to help them survive these conditions we organised and held a workshop to build several water stations placed around the property.
We got in touch with the fabulous team at Bunnings Warehouse Gungahlin and Bunnings Warehouse Canberra Airport stores, who helped us out by donating all the pipes and materials to create up to 20 of these water stations. On Sunday January 26, a team of 6 volunteers got together to assemble the water stations at Little Oak.
It was a hot one, with temps nearly reaching 40 degrees - but all the more reason to be ensuring the wildlife have easy access to water! For the assembly, we used the great, easy to follow directions on the Instructables website.
We also collected a large amount of fruit and vegetables, donated by our volunteers but also used a large component of our regular fruit and vegetable supply, sourced from Aldi Supermarkets, these veggies are spared from becoming land fill and in this case will now support local wildlife after the fires.
After making the water station devices we loaded them onto the car, along with our cut up fruit and veg, a couple of bales of top quality meadow hay and headed out around the more remote bush areas of the property.
If you are putting out water for wildlife using the pipe stations or any other container, it is VITAL that you do not leave the container once the drought subsides. Unmaintained water stations can harbor mosquitoes and we do not want to create litter in our beautiful, fragile bush areas. Make sure you collect your containers and if you can, store them somewhere ready for next time - sadly droughts are a given in Australia and the wildlife will need our support through the next dry spell too.
As you can see from the pics, it is incredibly dry, and the trees are also struggling along with the wildlife to survive this drought.
Feed stations were left along side each water station. We will be monitoring these closely. Any that don't seem that popular will be moved until we find the best locations for each station.
If you'd like to leave food out for local wildlife, here are some tips on what food you can put out for wildlife and what food to avoid:
beans and peas,
watermelon, AVOID: Brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, romanesco, broccoli, bok choi, collard greens.
A resident juvenile wombat at Little Oak.
If you'd like to help support the wild life of and surrounding Little Oak, you can donate to our drought and fire fundraiser to help us continue to buy hay, pellets and feed to supply these stations through the drought.