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Our local fauna
Cessnock has a diverse range of animal (fauna) species across the different habitats and ecosystems in the local government area (LGA). We also have a large number of threatened species and endangered ecological communities which are essential to protect for many animal species that use the area as a home, refuge and pit-stop on migration routes.
Cessnock has a great connection of woodlands through the LGA, particularly through presence significant amounts of National Parks and state forests including Yengo, Wollemi, Watagan and Werakata National Parks in the LGA. These form key highways (or corridors) for animal species to use in moving between habitats for food, breeding or seasonal changes. If you wish to search for species recorded in the Cessnock LGA, data is stored on the BioNet where you can do a search of the NSW Atlas of Wildlife.
Cessnock - A major hotspot for woodland birds!
The Hunter Bird Observers Club have recorded over 350 bird species in the Lower Hunter, including an exceptionally high diversity (number of species) of birds in the Cessnock area, in comparison to the rest of Australia.
The woodlands of the Cessnock LGA provide an important ‘cross-over point’ between coastal species and more inland species such as the Regent Honeyeater (critically endangered), Black-chinned Honeyeater (vulnerable) and Brown Treecreeper (vulnerable), and are also important ‘wintering grounds’ for the Swift Parrot (critically endangered) during its migration from breeding grounds in Tasmania to spend autumn and winter in south-eastern Australia. In fact, the Cessnock forests are one of the most regularly used wintering areas by Swift Parrots anywhere on mainland Australia.
The Critically Endangered Regent Honeyeater has been recorded breeding east of the Great Dividing Range in bushland near Kurri Kurri. It is possible that the slowly drying conditions brought about by climate change are causing the Regent Honeyeater, which is in danger of extinction, to select new breeding grounds. However, it is likely that the Cessnock forests were always used by Regent Honeyeaters but because of the loss of habitat in other parts of the Hunter Valley they are even more important nowadays. The fact that the most successful breeding event for many years occurred in the Cessnock LGA should be a source of pride to all locals. This places a great importance on conserving good quality woodland habitat on the valley floor to protect the Regent Honeyeater and other woodland birds, against the effects of climate change in our LGA. For more information on the Regent Honeyeater got to Birdlife Australia’s Woodland Birds for Biodiversity project website.
Thanks to Mick Roderick and Dean Ingwersen (photo credit) of Birdlife Australia for their assistance with this section.
Threatened fauna species listed in Cessnock LGA
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) defines threatened species as ‘any species (including animals, plants, fungi, etc.) which are vulnerable to endangerment in the near future.’ That is, that they may become rare or extinct within all or much of their normal habitat range in the near future. Threatened species which are at risk or vulnerable to extinction are affected by pressures such as:
- Human activity, including loss of habitat due to development and land use change.
- Invasive species (e.g. wild dogs, feral cats, foxes and weeds
- Inappropriate fire regimes, and;
- Climate change – change in normal habitat ranges due to changes in their climate characteristics such as temperature ranges and extremes, rainfall, risk of natural disasters (fire, flood and drought) frequency.
All native birds, reptiles, amphibians and mammals (except the dingo) are protected in NSW by the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974. Hundreds of these species are listed as threatened, giving them additional protection under the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 (TSC Act) in NSW, and through the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) under Commonwealth legislation. Categories of listing include:
- Critically Endangered
- Presumed Extinct.
Just some of the species listed as threatened fauna in NSW that are known to occur in the Cessnock LGA (and their listing status) are:
|Class||Common Name||Scientific Name||NSW Status|
|Frogs||Green and Golden Bell Frog||Litoria aurea||Endangered|
|Stuttering Frog|| Mixophyes iterates
|Wallum Froglet|| Crinia tinnula
|Giant Burrowing Frog||Heleioporis australiacus||Vulnerable|
|Reptiles||Broad-headed Snake|| Varanus rosenbergi
|Rosenberg's Goanna||Varanus rosenbergi||Vulnerable|
|Birds||Regent Honeyeater||Anthochaera phrygia||Critically Endangered|
|Swift Parrot||Lathamus discolour||Endangered|
|Brown Treecreeper||Climacteris picumnus victoriae||Vulnerable|
|Black-chinned Honeyeater||Melithreptus gularis||Vulnerable|
|Grey-crowned Babbler||Pomatostomus temporalis||Vulnerable|
|Powerful Owl||Ninox strenua||Vulnerable|
|Mammals||Brush-tailed Rock Wallaby||Petrogale penicillata||Endangered|
|Grey-headed Flying-fox||Pteropus poliocephalus||Vulnerable|
|Squirrel Glider||Petaurus norfolcensis||Vulnerable|
|Little Bent-wing Bat||Miniopterus australis||Vulnerable|
Find out more about threatened species by:
- Searching the profiles available on the Office of Environment & Heritage Threatened Species page for NSW and Australian Government’s Department of the Environment & Energy website.
- Poster of Threatened Species of the Lower Hunter Valley through the Cessnock Biodiversity Management Plan from Office of Environment & Heritage.
Helping our native fauna through managing weeds & pest animals
Managing weeds and invasive vertebrate pests are a key way in improving the connectivity and quality of habitat for native fauna locally, and across the Hunter region.
To assist in the management of invasive pests such as wild dogs, foxes, rabbits to reduce competition and predation on our native fauna, the Local Land Services Act 2013 states that:
‘all land managers in NSW, whether on public or private land, have an obligation to control declared pest species on their land.’
Species currently declared pests in NSW are:
- wild rabbits
- wild dogs
- feral pigs
- foxes (European Red)
- feral camels (Western Division of NSW only
- a number of locust species (the Australian Plague, Spur-Throated and Migratory).
Vertebrate pests can not only affect our native fauna populations, but have serious and fatal impacts on local livestock affecting our local agricultural industry with stock damage and losses. Advice and support on managing these pests is available through Hunter Local Land Services Biosecurity Rangers. Go to the ‘How to help our local biodiversity’ page for more information and contacts
For sick or injured wildlife
The Native Animal Trust Fund Wildlife Rescue Service are a community-based organisation in the Hunter Region that provides a 24 hour rescue service to sick and injured native fauna. Please contact them on their 24 Hour Emergency Rescue Hotline on 0418 628 483 or go to their website at www.hunterwildlife.org.au