WALK ON WILD SIDE

IT’S NO SE­CRET THAT MAG­NETIC IS­LAND IS HOME TO ALL KINDS OF CRIT­TERS — YOU JUST NEED TO KNOW WHERE TO LOOK. A NEW WILDLIFE AND TRAILS GUIDE IS GIV­ING VIS­I­TORS THE KEY TO DIS­COV­ER­ING THE IS­LAND’S CUTEST IN­HAB­I­TANTS, AND THEN JOIN THE FIGHT TO PRO­TECT THEM

Townsville Bulletin - Townsville Eye - - Feature -

Ly­ing on the beach at Horse­shoe Bay, hav­ing a cold beer at Pic­nic Bay, tak­ing a re­fresh­ing dip at Ar­ca­dia.

There’s so much to love about Mag­netic Is­land: our very own slice of par­adise.

But aside from the usual re­lax­ation-fo­cused ac­tiv­i­ties, Mag­gie is also the per­fect place to get up close with some pretty amaz­ing wildlife. The prob­lem is know­ing where to look.

That’s why the Foun­da­tion for Na­tional Parks & Wildlife (FNPW) has teamed up with SeaLink to cre­ate the is­land’s new Wildlife and Trails Guide.

They reckon giv­ing peo­ple more in­for­ma­tion about what wildlife can be found on the is­land and where they can be found means good things for tourism and con­ser­va­tion.

“This is all re­ally im­por­tant be­cause we have to get peo­ple all around Aus­tralia to un­der­stand that we as a coun­try ac­tu­ally have the worst mam­malian ex­tinc­tion record of any­one and we need to take ac­tion quickly in Aus­tralia to start look­ing af­ter our own wildlife and our wilder­ness,” FNPW CEO Ian Dar­byshire says.

“What you’ve got in Mag­netic Is­land is a great piece of Aus­tralian wilder­ness with some re­ally unique Aus­tralian wildlife, and you can come over and ex­pe­ri­ence it.”

The FNPW is a not-for-profit or­gan­i­sa­tion set up to cre­ate na­tional parks and pro­tect the crea­tures that live there. They work with com­mer­cial part­ners to come up with ideas to get more peo­ple to en­joy na­tional parks and help look af­ter them.

With around 200,000 peo­ple vis­it­ing Mag­netic Is­land every year, Dar­byshire says there’s a huge op­por­tu­nity to get peo­ple out and en­joy­ing the walk­ing trails which pro­vide ac­cess to a huge ar­ray of wildlife with­out hav­ing to go too far off the beaten track.

“What’s in­ter­est­ing about Mag­gie is there aren’t many other places where you can eas­ily see marine an­i­mals — so you can go snorkelling and see tur­tles and clams — and then go on shore and see koalas, have ea­gles soar­ing ma­jes­ti­cally over­head, go and see some rock wal­la­bies,” he said.

“The beauty of an is­land like that is that you can get there eas­ily, and by tak­ing th­ese walks and un­der­stand­ing the wildlife on the is­land you can ac­tu­ally see more in a very small time.”

Mag­gie lo­cals are no strangers to look­ing af­ter their is­land home, as Dar­byshire and his team dis­cov­ered when they were putting the trails guide to­gether.

“We met some fan­tas­tic peo­ple do­ing amaz­ing things,” he said.

“There’s the koala hospi­tal there which is do­ing a lot of work to look af­ter in­jured koalas. There’s some real passion for reveg­e­ta­tion of ar­eas with koala feed trees.

“There’s also some quite unique work go­ing on with clam re­lo­ca­tion and the scuba trail. The tur­tles came to our at­ten­tion as well, and there are some peo­ple work­ing with tur­tles on the is­land.

“They’re all re­ally pow­er­ful con­tri­bu­tions to get­ting peo­ple to un­der­stand the pres­sure that our wildlife is un­der and how you can con­trib­ute.”

Dar­byshire says that pro­jects like the Wildlife and Trails Guide will give the is­land an eco­nomic boost, by cap­i­tal­is­ing on the grow­ing trend of trav­ellers look­ing to ex­pe­ri­ence na­ture.

“A guide like this pro­motes na­ture-based tourism which helps the an­i­mals and helps lo­cal busi­ness. So it’s quite an idyl­lic loop I think,” he said.

“Na­ture-based tourism is grow­ing very strongly in Aus­tralia. I used to run a tourism op­er­a­tion, and to me Mag­netic Is­land is like a beau­ti­ful jewel be­cause it’s largely un­touched. It’s a great part of the world and a great spot to see what Aus­tralian wildlife is all about.”

Mag­netic Is­land Wildlife and Trails Guide is now avail­able at the Sea Link Ter­mi­nal.

WO R D S : C H R I S S I LV I N I

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.