New to the area what you should know

The first step is to learn whose traditional land you are on and contact them and pay your respect as a friendly neighbour to the area. You can find more information on whose land you’re moving to on Terrains Natural Resource Plan for People and Country along with a lot more interesting information to help you get familiar and feel more at home.

We consider it a privilege to live in the Wet Tropics World Heritage and all World Heritage sites are considered globally significant, meaning World Heritage Areas belong to everyone. Their conservation and protection are considered important for current and future generations.

In 1988, Australian and international experts assessed the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area as being of outstanding universal value, meeting all four natural heritage criteria for World Heritage Listing.


“A fed bird is a dead bird”

This cassowary became domesticated by neighbourhood feeding. Now grown into a teenager was becoming increasingly aggressive. This bird required relocation for public safety.

While seeing a cassowary is a treat, it is illegal to feed or attract cassowaries. Cassowaries attracted into urban areas can become sick from eating a diet not suited to their biology and are more exposed to car strike and dog attacks. Fed cassowaries have the potential to become dangerous when expecting food that isn’t delivered, when mating or with chicks. Cassowaries have a very important ecological role in rainforest seed dispersal keeping the ecosystem healthy and diverse. They are known as the “Gardeners of the rainforest”.

Many Traditional Owners have strong connections to cassowaries and have stories, dance, song, art and for many it is their totem.

After two recent cyclones, Qld Parks and Wildlife Service arranged food stations to support cassowaries through the short-term food shortage. Unfortunately, some cassowaries and people have continued feeding which does not result in a good outcome for the cassowary.

Some important points for living with cassowaries

Cassowaries can be very dangerous and unpredictable.
Cassowaries are much like a chook.

  • They sleep on the ground at night.
  • They have no night vision and will not move around once dark.
  • They have fast twitch muscle fibres meaning the can run very fast for a short time before they become exhausted.
  • They can protect themselves from dog attack in the day with dogs sometimes coming off second best, however the odds change at night.
  • Dogs can run for hours, have great hearing, smell, and night vision, and can harass a bird to the point of death.

“If you own a dog, you are 100% responsible”

  • Always keep dogs under control in a fenced yard or on a lead. Dogs have chased cassowaries to the point of exhaustion and death. Sub –adults and chicks are easy prey and can easily become separated. It is a serious offence if your dog interferes with a cassowary with possible goal term.
  • Avoid building boundary fences that restricts cassowaries moving across the landscape.
  • Drive carefully and obey speed limits and slow down particularly in marked cassowary crossing locations cassowaries can be unpredictable and never stop and allow cassowaries to linger longer on or around the road.

Please note: wildlife carers, vets and the RSPCA are not able to respond to any cassowary incidences under Federal Law.

It is an offence under the Act to interfere with this dangerous animal and Department of Environment and Science staff have had extensive training to be able to respond.

Only call the Department of Environment & Science (DES) to avoid delay to report all sick, injured or cassowary or crocodile incidences.

Keep the Hotline in your phone 1300 130 372

Domestic Predatory Animals (dogs & cats)

If you own a dog, you are 100% responsible

Domestic predatory animals (dogs & cats) provide us with hours of pleasure and companionship, but sadly dogs and cats have also become one of the largest threats to our local iconic wildlife if allowed to roam or not managed responsibly.

There are strict State Animal management Laws enforced by local councils about keeping pets.

Many across The Wet Tropics community would like to see the gradual decline in domestic predatory animal (dog or cat) ownership particularly in areas neighbouring rainforest. Many people experience immense joy becoming a backyard buddy to wildlife as a sustainable alternative.

Roaming dogs are becoming an increasing problem across the Wet Tropics and is not culturally accepted by the community. Many pig hunting dogs have become lost or even abandoned in the rainforest by their owners whilst on the hunt. They can and do quickly adapt to become feral dogs and can cross breed with dingoes creating a very dangerous feral predator with the size of a pig dog and the brains of a dingo. These dogs can behave in a very dangerous manner, threaten public safety, particularly children and are a great hazard to people’s pets, farm animals, wildlife, and livestock.

Build and keep dogs inside a strong fenced yard and keep the gate closed when out a competent person can walk on a lead.

We live in a hot humid climate so please ensure your pets have ample fresh clean drinking water and a cool dry place to shelter from the extreme heat and or rain. Dogs need to be regularly checked for ticks and fleas. When taking your dog from the property, onto a road or public place it must be restrained by means of a leash or under effect control of someone capable of controlling the dog. Dogs love the stimulation of a walk and obedience training, and games like fetch the stick will prevent barking. Persistent barking is a sign your dog is bored and is sure way to upset your neighbours and create problems for you with Council. Reports of dogs chasing, menacing, or killing endangered cassowaries at particular risk are the sub-adults or chicks who can also be separated and later perish.

This is an offence under the Commonwealth Government to interfere with cassowaries having serious consequences with large fines large fines or even goal terms enforced by the Department of Environment and Science. You will be held 100% responsible for your dog’s actions and will be dealt with in accordance with the provisions of State Law by Council as well. Instances of cassowaries being menaced or killed by dogs causes public outrage.

All roaming dog or cat sightings, menacing or attacks should be reported immediately to your local Council, QPWS or if a feral dog Biosecurity for immediate capture.

It is well documented that cats that escape or are allowed to roam can cause immense problems for native wildlife, birds, and reptiles. Keep your cat contained if you live in the Wet tropics bioregion and once your cat has died think twice before purchasing another one you might find the wildlife returns to your yard. We recommend you keep your cat indoors at night and wear a collar with a bell to reduce any impacts on wildlife.

The Council rigidly enforces the State Animal Management Act:

  • All dogs and cats to be registered
  • All dogs and cats to be micro-chipped
  • All dogs and cats to be fenced restraining them to your property.
  • All dogs must be walked on a lead unless in a Council off leash area.
  • Dogs are not permitted in many CBD, town areas or public spaces, including markets.

State Government Law introduced mandatory desexing on 26th May 2017

  • Unless you apply for a breeder’s permit, de-sexing has the benefit of not adding to the large number of pets that are euthanized each year, it reduces roaming, scent marking or spraying and fighting, leading to injuries and possible vet bills.

Other Pets

Aquarium pets and plants can become a huge problem in our water ways
Never release unwanted fish, snails or crayfish into creeks, ponds, or rivers they can quickly become feral species out competing our unique natives. Choking waterways causes immense damage to our native aquatic plants and causes imbalances with native fish becoming extinct in that area.

Caged birds or other pets or livestock should never be released into the environment. Animals released into the environment can become a major pest, wipe out other species, or introduce diseases and parasites. They may also struggle to find food and look after themself in the wild and die.

If you no longer wish to care for an animal please talk to the Council, Vet, or RSPCA who may find a new loving home.

More information:

Don’t feed wildlife
Even though it is tempting, close contact and feeding domestic food can threaten wildlife. Native animals are capable of feeding themselves and need to teach their young to do the same. Domestic fruits, processed food that is very high in sugars, can change the palate of native animal just like us, where we no longer want to eat what is good for us.

Feeding interferes with an animal’s naturally balanced diet and can entice them out of the rainforest and leads to into danger from traffic strike, or dog/cat attack.

Feeding builds dependency on people (catastrophic when your away on holidays) and creates an imbalance by artificially increasing some species that are favoured.

Never leave food scraps lying around it can encourage rats, mice, insects or unwelcome visitors. We recommend buying a worm farm or compost bin.

Your Garden

A native garden will bring in more wildlife whist being easier to care. Native gardens require less or no watering or fertilizing or much maintenance. This gives you more time to get out and enjoy your weekends or relax with family or friends. We don’t encourage European gardens as they can escape becoming weeds and some can poison wildlife.

Herbicides and Pesticides
Unfortunately poisons are having a devastating impact on our wildlife and endangered frogs’ species, butterflies’ birds and of insects that are an essential part of the web of life. Please think twice before you spray and look for more friendly alternatives.