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Rangers working with high school students to fence out pigs

by South Cape York Catchments Photos supplied.

South Cape York Catchments and the Balnggarrawarra Rangers have teamed up with Cooktown Holy Spirit College students to build pig exclusion fences around Curly and Lily Lagoons on Normanby Station.

Every Wednesday the students visit Balnggarrawarra Country and work with the Rangers. First they set up wildlife cameras to learn which animals were using the lagoons. They found that a number of wild horses were regularly bathing in the lagoons and eating the wetland plants, and then as the water level dropped the pigs moved in and dug up the edges. The students were excited to find a number of wetland birds visiting the lagoon as well.

Prior to fencing, the Rangers measured the health of the lagoons using the Cape York Wetland Assessment methodology. The results showed the lagoons were in poor health, with damage to the banks and low water quality being the main contributors. The team decided that fencing out the pigs and horses was the best solution to conserve the lagoons and help bring them back to a healthy condition.

The students have been working hard every week with the Rangers and have completed fencing Curly Lagoon. Recently the team were lucky enough to get help from Cairns Holy Spirit College students - with over 30 people on board, Lily Lagoon was fenced in no time.

The Rangers and students are excited to see what the results of their hard work will be, with some predictions being: the resident Brolgas will nest, the water will stay clear all year round, and perhaps, even a turtle for lunch! We shall see after the next wet.

Thanks for making the project possible: This project is supported by Cape York NRM with funding from Queensland NRM / National Landcare Program, Indigenous Land and Sea Program – Balnggarrawarra Rangers, and Holy Spirit College - teachers and students.

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