A range of healthy wildlife including echidnas, ringtails and a variety of reptiles have been seen foraging in the fire affected areas, indicating food supplies are available. Long-nosed bandicoots have also been spotted in both burnt and unburnt areas and many female bandicoots have pouch young.
NPWS has been working closely with AWC at North Head and Taronga Zoo to provide bandicoots and other small mammals with supplementary food, and will continue to provide water points and install refuge shelters such as nest boxes, ‘bandicoot bungalows’, refuge tunnels, and ‘habitat pods’. With assistance from AWC, around 200 ‘habitat pod’ refuge shelters will be installed across different national parks, including at North Head.
Broad scale habitat monitoring work will continue to be carried out to monitor native plant and weed regrowth and germination, and pest animal incursions. In May 2021, NPWS undertook a headland-wide survey to monitor the long-nosed bandicoot population. There were approximately 325 captures of long-nosed bandicoots in total, and new bandicoots were microchipped for monitoring. This number of captures compares favourably to surveys from previous years. Data analysis from this survey will provide an estimate of the long-nosed bandicoot’s total population size at North Head and help inform any additional management practices needed to assist with wildlife recovery.
Members of the community can assist animal conservation by keeping cats inside and not bringing dogs into Sydney Harbour National Park. Predation by pets is a threat to wildlife and is a key issue for the endangered populations at North Head. NPWS encourages responsible pet ownership from both visitors in the Sydney Harbour National Park and residents of neighbouring areas.
It can take 12 to 18 months for most plant species to regenerate following a fire. The vegetation on North Head has evolved with fire and it is expected to regenerate well. While this process takes place, the main threats to plant regeneration are:
- seedlings being trampled
- weed invasion
The Sydney North team at NPWS will be controlling rabbit numbers and weeds throughout the year to help provide the best possible environment as the bush returns.
Members of the community can help the bush regenerate by staying out of closed areas of North Head and staying on walking tracks.