Voice of Regional Australia: Long live the wonders of the wild

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Goannas can be cute too, kind of. Picture: Shutterstock

Goannas can be cute too, kind of. Picture: Shutterstock

As a kid who grew up in the mountain scrub, I was pretty fortunate to live alongside a great variety of our native animals.

Often watching from a distance as curious wild critters went about their business, my siblings and I were always left in awe of our encounters.

No matter how often we came across them, whether it was just outside the house, on a bushwalk adventure or a trek across the family farm for a sweet treat at Nanna's, the excitement of seeing an animal in the wild was never wasted on us.

Wide-eyed wallabies and busy bush turkeys were probably the most common to come across, along with waddling wonga pigeons, who used to wait at the wood shed in hopes of getting a handful of chook feed.

Then there were the wedgies (wedge-tailed eagles, of course) who always made a striking display as they circled above, eyeing off the potential meal of chickens below.

The green tree frogs, as big as your hand, would spread out across the kitchen window in the evenings waiting to make a meal of the moths, before settling into the down-pipes and striking up the full orchestra of happy croakers.

There were plenty of animals you could hear in the bush, but rarely saw, like the whip bird, the cat bird and even the lyre bird... though, the last one was always tricky to know for sure.

And then there were the animals that always made you a little nervous to see; like the many, many snakes; any kind of creepy-crawly; or of course the goanna - we were always told never to stand still if you came across a goanna in the bush ... because they might think you're a tree and climb up you? I'll be honest, I don't know how true this is - but, of course, I followed the advice.

A multi-million dollar injection of donations will be used to build a new breeding facility at Port Macquarie Koala Hospital.

A multi-million dollar injection of donations will be used to build a new breeding facility at Port Macquarie Koala Hospital.

However, one particularly famous Aussie animal I'm yet to see in the bush is the koala.

Then after last summer's bushfires, I wasn't sure I would ever get the chance to see one out in the wild ever.

As the government continues to tussle over koala habitat legislation, the conversation around koalas remains in the spotlight - so perhaps it's fitting that September is Save the Koala Month.

The campaign has prompted many Aussies and businesses to get behind the plight in all kinds of delicious ways.

In Nelson Bay on the NSW east coast, local businesses Two Bobs Bakery and Pie Lab, are baking up a storm and donating funds throughout September to the Port Stephens Koala sanctuary as a tribute to the invaluable work of volunteer staff.

A little further north at the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital, and hope for the koala's future is rising from the ashes of last summer's bushfires as the hospital plans for future developments.

Following a breathtaking $7.9m online fundraising effort, the koala hospital has been able to fast-track plans to build a state-of-the-art wild koala breeding facility.

The news certainly brings hope for the future of our koala populations after the bushfire crisis revealed the raw and shocking reality of just how close we are to losing vulnerable species such as koalas.

More stuff happening around Australia ...

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