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Dog Rocks Sanctuary – biodiversity in your backyard.

The future of our native flora and fauna is dependent on what we do in the cities and on farms, as well as on the few remaining areas of land such as the Sanctuary, where the remains of our native flora and fauna survive and retain the complex biodiversity that is so important for our survival as a planet.

To quote the astrophysicist and television star Professor Brian Cox, ‘ Life on Earth forms a tangled web. It is a great genetic database distributed across hundreds of thousands of extant species of life. The more species there are the more data there is in the database, and the more chance the whole biosphere has of responding to challenges, be they from disease, natural or human-induced climate change, loss of natural habitat, overpopulation, and the like.’ So when we lose genes we lose options.

Beneath the ground to the tops of the tallest trees The Dog Rocks Flora and Fauna Sanctuary’s open eucalyptus woodland nurtures a rich variety of flora and fauna. Here the remains of rare local native vegetation can be found. Plants such as the Chocolate Lily, the Rock Correa and the Yellow Gum, as well as introduced non-local native plants. The Sanctuary is recognised for its concentration of bird life and provides a protected haven and habitat for them. Recorded sightings include a variety of resident, occasional, migrant and rare species. Birds such as the Tawny Frogmouth, the Sacred Kingfisher and the Nankeen Kestrel have been sighted regularly in the Sanctuary. Historically the Geelong Field Naturalists Club has extensively documented the flora and fauna in the Sanctuary and this is currently being updated. 

The Sanctuary also protects a variety of mammals and reptiles of both the cute and scary variety, which are all part of the complex ecology of the area and make it so valuable. These include echidnas, and small families of koalas and kangaroos, as well as lizards such as the Tree Dragon and the Blue -Tongue, and a number of snakes including the Tiger and Brown. 

The Custodians of the Sanctuary and the local BFS Landcare group work to nurture this precious habitat for flora and fauna and  try to ensure that they are protected from predators outside its borders, not least of which are dogs and cats both domestic and feral,  rabbits and garden weed escapees. There are vigorous and invasive weed species such as bone seed and blanket weed which also must be contained so as not to smother the native vegetation which supports the bird and animal life.

Unlike city dwellers, Batesford residents in the nearby rural-residential settlement adjacent to the Sanctuary, are blessed with an abundance of bird life in their backyards. Now the Sanctuary is covenanted with Trust for Nature this woodland and its treasures have been preserved in the quest to retain the values of biodiversity for future generations.