Echidna love trains on move in Byron Shire

Council and local wildlife carers are encouraging everyone to do their bit to help protect our native wildlife as we come into the cooler winter months.

“While some native animals, including snakes, lizards and microbats, start to slow down at this time of year, Autumn is a time of activity for our Shire’s charismatic Echidnas, as these unique, egg-laying mammals are coming into mating season. Now is the time you will see them out and about, crossing our roads, sometimes in long Echidna ‘love’ trains,” Council’s Biodiversity Officer Liz Caddick said.

“Their very unusual mating ritual, which can involve several males following a single female, nose to tail, in a process known as ‘trailing’, is what leads to a female echidna choosing its mate before reproducing.

“Echidnas are generally quite secretive, so this is one of the few times of year we get to see them in the wild. But touching and handling native animals stresses them, so please just stand back and look, and let the Echidnas move away of their own accord. And of course keep dogs on leads at all times when outside the home,” Ms Caddick said.

Solé Herrera, from Northern Rivers Wildlife Carers, is urging all drivers to look out for echidnas on our roads, especially between dusk and dawn.

“Unfortunately echidnas are quite slow moving and they are particularly at risk of being hit by cars at this time of year.

“If you see one that is by the side of the road and it’s not moving, and it is safe for you to pull over, please check if the echidna is still alive and if so call for help. All echidnas that are hit by a car need vet assessment to determine if they are injured. Often injuries are only found with x-rays and ultrasounds,” Ms Herrera said.

“If you do come across an injured echidna, please call Northern Rivers Wildlife Carers or WIRES,” she said.

Wildlife conservation and protection is an important part of Council’s role and is underpinned by a long-term Biodiversity Conservation Strategy, which is currently on exhibition.

“We’ve extended the exhibition period until Friday 20 May, to give people additional time to have a read of the Strategy and to give us their feedback.” Ms Caddick said.

“This is an important document that will guide how Council and the community can work together over the next ten years to protect and enhance the unique natural environment of Byron Shire.”

“If you’re interested in our Shire’s incredible wildlife and fauna and about conserving the precious biodiversity we are fortunate to have here, then please take the time to review the document and have a say,” she said.

To read and comment on the Strategy, and find out some simple things you can do to protect our natural environment, go to Council’s Your Say webpage:

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