Margot Law, NPA Citizen Science Officer

Imagine a city where native animals flourish, helping to control feral vermin and even looking after your garden! Well, perhaps Sydney isn’t that far away from making this a reality. In recent years, we’ve seen native species like long-nosed bandicoots (Perameles nasuta), powerful owls (Ninox strenua) and native pollinators starting to reclaim their city.

Rewilding is a hot new topic in the ecological world. The core motivation behind rewilding is to reinstate ecological function back into systems where processes have been lost due to species extinction or human modification of ecosystems. For instance, bringing back a top-order predator to regulate prey populations, a pollinator to facilitate plant reproduction or a ground-dwelling forager to disperse seeds.

Resources like habitat, food and refuge are necessary for animal survival, but human decisions and behaviours are key to their success in an urban context. Even something as simple as whether or not a household has a pet dog can have a big influence on bandicoot distribution. Given the lack of remnant vegetation in the inner west, recreational greenspace and residents’ gardens can provide vital habitat for native species to not only survive, but potentially thrive. Consequently, residents can make small changes in these spaces leading to significant conservation outcomes.

The ‘Wild Wild Inner West’ project will promote rewilding and environmental stewardship to our newest generation of decision makers, 18-35 year olds. We will be running a series of creative and engaging events next year specifically targeted at this age group, including: pub talks with experts, bushwalks, twilight bushcare, spotlighting nd working bees. We aim to change habits and improve habitats to give our wildlife a fighting chance in Sydney’s concrete jungle.

The ’Wild Wild Inner West’ project will start July 2018 – contact Margot Law if you would like to know more or be involved (margotl@npansw.org.au).

Wild Wild Inner West is managed by the National Parks Association of NSW in partnership with The University of Sydney, Inner West Council and City of Sydney with support from Greater Sydney Local Land Services and funding from the National Landcare Program