Protecting Wonyip’s wonderful wildlife
Published: 12 February 2024

Landcarers protecting Wonyip’s wonderful wildlife

Wildlife like the Strzelecki koalas are set to benefit from the planting of 500 native trees thanks to funding from the Victorian Landcare Grants.  

Wonyip Landcare Group was awarded a grant in the 2023 Victorian Landcare Grants for their planting project at Dingo Creek, a tributary of the Agnes River high up in South Gippsland’s Strzelecki Ranges.  

“This funding will go towards purchasing 500 seedlings, grown at the Yarram Yarram Landcare nursery, that our volunteers will plant along the creek. Importantly, it will also help pay for the sturdy wire tree guards we use to protect the young plants from deer, which are a problem around here,” said group member Russell Botton, who lives on Dingo Creek and has been involved in Wonyip Landcare Group for five years. 

The goal is to create a safe passage for native fauna to move through while also improving the overall health of the local ecosystem. 

“We hope to attract a range of native species from insects, reptiles, small mammals, birds and even owls – the whole food chain.  We’ll also be planting mountain grey gums to attract Strzelecki koalas, which have been seen around here.”  

It’s another step forward in the group’s ongoing efforts to restore native habitat and connect disparate areas of remnant old growth forest along Dingo Creek and the Agnes River.  

“This project is an extension of previous work and will join up with planting we did downstream at Dingo Creek campground a few years ago,” said Russell.  

It’s the next stage in a long-term project to extend the corridor 5.8km upstream, where it will eventually border Bratuaulung Forest Park. 

With planning for the wildlife corridor well underway, the group aims to begin planting by early Spring. In the meantime, they’re busy undertaking a major biodiversity survey to establish baseline data of the species in the region and understand the health of their populations. In a series of events run by volunteers and experts, the group is observing and documenting information about the local flora and fauna of the region, taking surveys of fungi, birds, insects, frogs, reptiles and collecting platypus DNA.  

“This valuable data will help us assess how projects like the wildlife corridor are contributing to Wonyip’s biodiversity and the protection of local species like the Strzelecki koalas.” said Russell.  “It will give us ideas for future projects, too.”

The annual Victorian Landcare Grants provide funding to help Landcare and environmental volunteers protect and restore landscapes.  West Gippsland Landcare groups received $365,118 for 24 projects and 37 support grants under the last funding round.  The funding is underpinned by the Andrews Labor Government’s Biodiversity 2037 strategy, a record investment of $582 million since 2014 – the biggest investment into protecting biodiversity and environment in our state’s history.  

The next round of Victorian Landcare Grants is expected to open in early 2024.