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WOW! Wildlife watering group makes a splash

Ian Bushnell 13 January 2020 58
Water our wildlife

‘Customers’ (as they’re sometimes called) hoping in for a drink. Photos: Supplied.

A simple idea to place containers of water in Canberra neighbourhoods or reserves to aid thirsty wildlife during the drought has received a flood of support.

In just three weeks, Water Our Wildlife, started by Anna Reimondos of Weston and her friends Claire Stewart, Michele Woods and Alexandra Craig, has swollen to more than 4000 members via their Facebook page, with more than 500 watering stations established across the ACT.

The group has been inundated with offers of containers, big and small, from theatre nurses at Calvary Public Hospital, the Salvos at Fyshwick and the Green Shed at Mitchell.

But there’s no central donation or collection point. Offers on the Facebook page are taken up by any interested member, who then takes responsibility for their own stations.

Grace Standish

Grace Standish fills her clamshell station.

It’s more organised chaos than a movement and Ms Reimondos, a demographer at the ANU, says the response has been very surprising. She is not a wildlife expert but loves animals and has established various rescue groups and charities, including the Lost Pet Database.

“Maybe it’s because a lot of people feel quite helpless with everything that’s going on and this is a small thing they can do to help,” she said.

The idea sprung from Ms Reimondos putting water out in the yard for the local magpies.

“It got me and my friends thinking about all the animals in the reserve, how they don’t have anywhere to have a drink of water,” she said. “We started putting a few tubs out and thought we’d have a map so people could plot where the tubs are and help each other, and it’s just taken off.”

Water station map

Where the stations are in the ACT.

The map has been key, and there are even micro-communities such as the chat group established for people who live around Mount Stromlo so they can help coordinate filling each others’ tubs.

She has started visiting stations to verify them and members are asked to check on their stations to ensure they are still working as some larger animals like kangaroos can break them.

Container sizes range from small bowls for tiny creatures, including insects, to kitty litter containers for birds to clamshells for the bigger animals.

People are encouraged to place sticks in them so if any creature falls in they can get out.

Reginald Diego and Sandra Ampoloquio

Reginald Diego and Sandra Ampoloquio at their station.

For those with stations in more isolated locations, motion sensor video cameras are available on loan so they can see what animals turn up to drink.

But the brief is just for water, says Ms Reimondos, not food, which can be a complex and controversial matter.

She says that until there is ”good, proper rain”, people will keep putting out their tubs, and will likely return next summer the way the climate is changing.

While people power is obviously working, something less anarchic would also be welcome.

“It would be great to see more permanent water stations put out by the government as well,” she said.

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58 Responses to WOW! Wildlife watering group makes a splash
Lou Gleeson Lou Gleeson 6:45 am 13 Jan 20

A bucket of water will help sustain life.

Christine Collins Christine Collins 3:26 am 13 Jan 20

Matthew Lamb-this is the group I was telling you about 💚

Rebecca Kaye Rebecca Kaye 12:04 am 13 Jan 20

Lisa Kaye Helen Kaye - fill them all up!! ❤️

Elise Aquilina Elise Aquilina 10:17 pm 12 Jan 20

For our visitors Matthew Aquilina 🦘

Rhonda Haggar Rhonda Haggar 10:12 pm 12 Jan 20

Live in Theadore kangaroos visiting me every night.

I put out water and they still have a little grass.

Imagine yourselves out there with no water or food.

Help our beautiful wildlife people of Theadore

    Paprika Smith Paprika Smith 9:21 am 13 Jan 20

    Rhonda Haggar there are a few watering stations on the trails behind the suburb and some big sandpit watering stations at the Theodore entrance to the Tuggeranong hill reserve. That being said, the more water stations the better!

    Kelly Michelle Kelly Michelle 9:26 am 13 Jan 20

    Rhonda Haggar sweet potatoe is also good for them. Such a good and kind thing to do Rhonda.

Lizzie Christiansen Young Lizzie Christiansen Young 10:00 pm 12 Jan 20

Some feral people stole my front garden wildlife feeder I put out for Roos and Possums and the wild bird feeder.... So disappointed. 😥😥😥

    Teesah Shearer Teesah Shearer 1:37 pm 13 Jan 20

    Lizzie Christiansen Young what the....seriously?!? So annoyed how all the twats are coming out now and doing all this stealing around Canberra. It's very disappointing!

    Sorry your wildlife feeder hun :(

Rod Holesgrove Rod Holesgrove 9:58 pm 12 Jan 20

Good on you Lin!

Snez Dimitrovska Snez Dimitrovska 9:49 pm 12 Jan 20

Few containers and a buckett at the front of my yard for the birds. Seeds and chopped apples too.

Steve Smith Steve Smith 9:17 pm 12 Jan 20

I find it’s always important to give people a Facebook page so they can tell others how fantastic they are.

    Milly DePaw Milly DePaw 5:49 am 13 Jan 20

    Lol. No one "gives" anyone a Facebook page. It was started as a way of co-ordinating this initiative.

    Neme Blanco Neme Blanco 9:49 am 13 Jan 20

    Steve Smith yes very true then ACT govt will undertake a culling program in due course

    Milly DePaw Milly DePaw 11:10 am 13 Jan 20

    Neme Blanco What does that even mean? Do you seriously think that roos are the only creatures out there looking for water right now?

    Steve Smith Steve Smith 1:38 pm 13 Jan 20

    Milly DePaw replace ‘give’ with ‘make available to’ then. 😬😬

    Milly DePaw Milly DePaw 3:45 pm 13 Jan 20

    It IS fantastic, which I believe is why RiotACT chose to run the story. I fail to comprehend why anyone would go out of their way to be critical of a project like this but if you're really keen to pour cold water on something, maybe suss the location map of the watering stations, find one nearby and do it there? At least that way there will be some usefulness to your criticism.

Steph Urosevic Steph Urosevic 9:17 pm 12 Jan 20

Rainer don’t forget to keep it topped up brother!!! 👊🏼

Samia Goudie Samia Goudie 8:54 pm 12 Jan 20

Yes and as it gets hot the water evaporates and gets hit so if u can refill and freshen it often

Samia Goudie Samia Goudie 8:52 pm 12 Jan 20

My place is a little haven more and more birds as I have bought big bird baths under shade and put out water bowls and through out fruit and mince carrots it’s suburbia but it’s all eaten

Lisa Couacaud Lisa Couacaud 7:57 pm 12 Jan 20

Lindsay Burrows what a great idea

KJ Enaj KJ Enaj 7:55 pm 12 Jan 20

Except some people just do this for the social media mileage and then forget about. I've seen one site in particular (complete with a 'hashtag' sign) that was a big plastic storage box and was left empty and rotting for the last 2 weeks on a major road. So if your going to do it, great, but do it properly and commit. Don't just do it and forget about it because it's the trending thing atm. It's just littering otherwise!

    Katie Saarikko Katie Saarikko 8:10 pm 12 Jan 20

    Take a photo and post it with their hashtag 👌

    KJ Enaj KJ Enaj 6:11 am 13 Jan 20

    Katie Saarikko the hashtag said water for wildlife, but the council have since cleaned it up because it was on the road.

Linda Leavitt Linda Leavitt 7:42 pm 12 Jan 20

Rachel Leavitt. You could put a container in the park at the back of your place for the birds and possums.

Linda Leavitt Linda Leavitt 7:40 pm 12 Jan 20

This is a great idea. When we lived in Calwell we often had Kangaroos and Joeys visiting from Tuggeranong Hill. We always filled an old wheelbarrow under the trees. It was often used (they left their calling cards).

Aarti Singh Aarti Singh 6:51 pm 12 Jan 20

Been a beautiful experience and phenomenal idea. 😊

Greg Pearce Greg Pearce 6:35 pm 12 Jan 20

We take a 2l container of water with us when walking our dog and fill up the first empty container we come across. It’s a simple idea that helps.

Frank Trapani Frank Trapani 6:31 pm 12 Jan 20

God bless the people that cares!!

Lin Van Oevelen Lin Van Oevelen 6:20 pm 12 Jan 20

I put out a 5l container in a local park a few weeks ago. Mainly for the birds, roos rarely visit it. I was pleased to see that someone added a clam shell at the other side of the park recently.

It does take some effort to keep these topped up, which is why I opted for a container than can be filled up in one trip up the hill with a reasonable weight of water.

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