Billabong Sanctuary is proud to be accredited as an Advanced Ecotourism attraction by Ecotourism Australia, recognising that we “are committed to achieving best practice when using resources wisely, contributing to the conservation of the environment and helping local communities.”
Among the many ways that we have met key criteria for this accreditation are:
- Billabong Sanctuary is a member of ZAAQ (Zoo and Aquarium Association, Queensland branch) and adheres to national criteria for enclosures, feeding and handling of native animals
- We trade native animals with other wildlife parks, to source new animals or to pass on animals not needed in our park.
- Eucalyptus trees to feed our koalas are grown on our own plantation at nearby Stuart Corrective Services Farm. Uneaten browse is recycled in aviaries, and then used for mulch on garden beds.
- Insects, rats, mice and chickens are raised on the premises for feeding our animals.
- Landscaping uses native plants with minimal water requirements, and garden beds are mulched.
- Waste from the amenities block is treated in Biosystem tanks and grey water is used for irrigation.
- The reception building and Melaleuca Function Centre are designed to take advantage of natural ventilation
- Walking tracks are designed to control erosion
- Wastewater from croc ponds is contained in settling ponds
INTERPRETATION AND EDUCATION
- All our Rangers are passionate about conservation of native wildlife and ecosystems.
- Daily talks are fun and interactive, but also draw attention to current issues such as loss of habitat and introduced predators.
- All schools in the surrounding area are invited to bring students to our ‘living classroom’.
- Lesson plans are targeted to each grade level, and follow the Australian Curriculum for Science. Worksheets and other resources are freely available on our website.
CONTRIBUTION TO CONSERVATION
- During the 2013 Easter school holidays, we hosted two bilbies on loan from DreamWorld, to heighten awareness of endangered species and to raise funds for conservation. As a result, we were able to donate $5000 to the Save the Bilby fund and $2000 to the Koala Foundation.
- Billabong welcomes GreenCorps volunteers working towards qualification in conservation and land management.
- Billabong welcomes students from James Cook University who conduct ongoing research programmes within the park.
All the eucalyptus leaves for our koalas are grown on our local plantation
WORKING WITH LOCAL COMMUNITIES
- Whenever possible, we employ local residents, and purchase goods and services locally.
- We welcome veterinary students from James Cook University on 10-day placements.
- We were active in a local community group which successfully lobbied against a proposed quarry within 3 km of the Sanctuary.
- Our eucalyptus plantation at Stuart Corrective Services Farm plays a role in the rehabilitation of low-risk prisoners who tend the trees.
CULTURAL RESPECT AND SENSITIVITY
- With the help of the Indigenous Cultural Centre we created signs displaying the local dialect names for our animals.