Happy Australia Day!

Every year, the 26th of January is undoubtedly a day when Aussie egos are inflamed across the nation as we sit and marvel at how great and lucky we are.

I often find myself awash with the warm fuzzies in gratitude of the amazingly diverse array of nature in our Great Southern Land. The bush, the beaches, the rainforests, the deserts and rivers - spectacular - and home to an intriguing cast of uniquely Australian animals.

It's the Furry Friends I want to pay tribute to today.  Australian natives are the land and they deserve our loving gratitude.

Sadly, several factors have contributed to the extinction and endangerment of our native species. Settlement, hunting, land-clearing for agricultural and housing purposes, as well as introduced species have contributed to these devastating losses.

It's estimated that 17 Australian mammal and 50 bird species have become extinct in the past 200 years. The endangered list includes 19 species of fish, 16 frogs, 16 reptiles, 47 birds, 39 mammals and 612 plants. There are many more listed as vulnerable.

As population and growth increases we must be ever more mindful to preserve and protect our native wildlife that we often take for granted so that we do not lose that which makes us so unique.

Protecting our wildlife can be as simple as the following:

Don't litter - many animals can become entangled and drown in the rubbish that ends up in our waterways.

Don't dump plants (or lawn clippings) in the bush or over the fence. Weeds are classified as any plant that is not native to the area. Weeds tend to grow faster than our slow-growing natives; they overgrow the natives, removing a source of food & shelter for certain species.

Plant natives species in your yard, keep large trees as well as logs and rocks to provide shelter for natives.

Keep your pets inside so that cats and dogs can't attack smaller more vulnerable species such as lizards, birds and tiny mammals, like this divine little bush rat.

Don't feed native animals and birds - you may think you are doing them a favour - in actual fact you're disturbing natural habits that have been in place for hundreds of years. Seeds, grains, fruit and bread are not suitable foods for most species and feeding natives upsets breeding patterns and young do not learn how to fend for themselves.

Pick up after your pets with biodegradable bags such as these stylish numbers from Olive at Lovely Package (also comes in 'Super Poop Bag' variety for the boys). Phosphates from their waste washes  into waterways which contributes to algal blooms which trap oxygen out of the water and wipe out micro-invertebrates and fish species.

Help to preserve and protect our uniqueness that we're celebrating today!

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