Protection of native mammals, birds and reptiles
22 December 2015
Natural Resources Kangaroo Island (NRKI) has issued a community reminder about the protection of native animals after the death of a heath goanna that was intentionally injured.
The Rosenberg’s (Heath) goanna had an injured leg and was found by the roadside near the Lloyd Collins Reserve, Penneshaw. It was taken into care by Dr Peggy Rismiller, senior researcher at the Pelican Lagoon Research Centre.
An examination confirmed that its wounds were the result of cuts from a sharp implement.
“It sustained injuries from an intentional act of harm and not from a road casualty as originally thought,” Dr Rismiller said.
“Sadly, the goanna has since passed away due to the severity of its injuries.”
Rosenberg’s goannas are monitor lizards and date back to the time of the dinosaurs. They are also the island’s largest land-based predator and can live for up to 30 years or more.
They were once common over a large portion of Southern Australia, but their drastic decline saw them declared a threatened species in 2008. Kangaroo Island is their last stronghold and the only place where long-term research has been conducted to better understand them.
Dr Rismiller, who is a member of the NKRI NRM Board, said the Rosenberg’s goanna and most native mammals, birds and reptiles are protected by law. Rosenberg’s goannas are classified as vulnerable in South Australia and endangered in certain parts of the state.
“The Kangaroo Island community is extremely fortunate to have a relatively healthy population of this charismatic animal that visitors and locals enjoy observing in its natural habitat,” she said.
It is an offence under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972 to intentionally harm or kill any native mammal, bird or reptile. It is also an offence under the Animal Welfare Act 1985 to intentionally, unreasonably or recklessly cause unnecessary harm to an animal.
If you encounter a native animal that has serious injuries do not attempt to handle it yourself. Please refer to the NRKI website for guidance: http://www.landscape.sa.gov.au/ki/plants-and-animals/native-animals/injured-wildlife.