Animals come out to play as parks close to humans

WE humans may be lamenting the closure of Tasmania's national parks, but our furry friends appear to be enjoying the serenity.

The Parks and Wildlife Service (PWS) is pushing ahead with maintenance work on tracks, heritage buildings and infrastructure while parks are closed to the public due to coronavirus restrictions.

The wombats of Maria Island have always been a laid-back bunch and PWS Historic Heritage Officer Peter Rigozzi said their ability to relax had reached new heights in the absence of human visitors.

 

"When I drove up the island there was a wombat in the middle of the road having a snooze. He decided he had no intention of moving," Mr Rigozzi said.

Friendly wombat at Maria Island greets rangers conducting maintenance and upgrade works. Picture: DARRACH DONALD, PWS.
Friendly wombat at Maria Island greets rangers conducting maintenance and upgrade works. Picture: DARRACH DONALD, PWS.

Even the island's Tasmanian devils, normally shy, nocturnal creatures, were revelling in the relative quiet, clearly not bothered by the small crew of carpenters and plasterers staying on the island during the week.

"One of the plasterers was telling me he's finding the Tassie devils to be very inquisitive," Mr Rigozzi said.

"One of them came into a building the other day while he was working and watched him for ages until he [the plasterer] was quite unnerved."

Two historic buildings on the island, the Senior Superintendent's Cottage and the Assistant Senior Superintendent's Cottage, are undergoing conservation and repair work.

That will allow them to be adapted as a visitor check-in space and PWS administration office.

"It's working quite well for everybody because it keeps the tradespeople in business as well as giving us the opportunity to work with a slightly freer hand," Mr Rigozzi said.

"They mostly love it, it's a great place to stay and we've got plenty of space so we don't have a problem with social distancing."

Parks and Wildlife Service rangers conducting upgrade works on Maria Island last week. Picture: DARRACH DONALD, PWS
Parks and Wildlife Service rangers conducting upgrade works on Maria Island last week. Picture: DARRACH DONALD, PWS

Mr Rigozzi said similar heritage work would soon start on Sarah Island.

Meanwhile, other building and maintenance work is happening in parks across the state including new toilets and wastewater systems on Maria Island, an upgrade of the stairway at Remarkable Cave, repairs to tracks destroyed in last summer's bushfires, the completion of carparking at Cradle Mountain, replacement of the Water Valley Hut on the Overland Track, track maintenance in the Freycinet National Park, road upgrades in the Narawntapu National Park and improvements to viewing areas and seating at the Mt Nelson Signal Station.

The PWS is also advertising for tenders to build a new visitor shelter and amenities at the entrance to the Southwest National Park at Cockle Creek and for the replacement of the day shelter in the Ben Lomond National Park.

Originally published as Wildlife loving days in the parks



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