For some time, animal control on the Island has been an issue relating to feral and domestic animals. In 2021, many dead rock wallabies (approximately 23) were discovered over a short period of time at the back of urban Nelly Bay adjacent to the national park.
Three of these dead wallabies were sent to James Cook University (JCU) for examination and testing. All three cases had evidence of toxoplasmosis, a serious disease caused by a parasite which can only complete its lifecycle in cats, both domestic and feral. The JCU researchers are currently preparing their findings for submission to the academic peer reviewed literature.
The spate of wallaby deaths led to the formation of a community organisation action group, of which MICDA representatives participated along with other community members. This Community group engaged with Townsville City Council (TCC) and Queensland National Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) to explore options for better animal control on the Island.
Simultaneously (and coincidentally), TCC were in the process of reviewing their current animal control regulations across Townsville including on the Island.
Later in 2021, TCC released new draft regulations on this with specific regulations for our World Heritage island. A public consultation process followed, and MICDA encouraged members to participate in the consultation process after factually informing themselves about the proposed new draft regulations and the issues they addressed.
The community consultation process and consultation report can be found here. https://haveyoursay.townsville.qld.gov.au/public-consultation-local-law-2-animal-management-amendment. We now await TCC’s release of new regulations relating to animal control.
TCC have advised that they have now appointed a part-time Compliance Officer for the Island. Compliance with animal control regulations will form part of this person’s duties. Discussion are ongoing with QPWS about a feral animal control program.
Libby Evans-Illidge (MICDA Secretary)