Wildlife Land Trust / Sanctuaries / QLD / Bunjinuu Reserve

Robert Watkins is the owner of Bunjinuu Reserve, a property situated in Carmoo, approximately 150km south of Cairns, Queensland. The property is a wildlife sanctuary also used for wildlife rehabilitation. Bunjinuu Reserve is managed by Deborah Pergolotti, who maintains a frog hospital onsite run by Frog Safe, Inc.  The group plans to develop the frog breeding program and integrate a volunteer-run educational feature on the property in the future. They also plan to expand their bush regeneration work through organic weed control and by planting bee-attracting species and cassowary food trees.

Bunjinuu Reserve covers 0.8 hectares across a forested block backing on to the Hull River National Park. A portion of the property is cleared for the household and garden area. The property is an ecotone of rainforest and mangrove habitat, featuring dozens of Hope’s cycads (Lepidozamia hopei) which range from 100-300 years old. Other notable vegetation species include quandong (Elaeocarpus spp.), white apple (Syzygium forte), Clerodendrum and sweet sarsaparilla (Smilax glyciphylla).

The property is frequented by southern cassowaries (Casuarius casuarius), striped possums (Dactylopsila trivirgata), long-nosed bandicoots (Perameles nasuta), giant white-tailed rats (Uromys caudimaculatus), fawn-footed melomys (Melomys cervinipes), agile wallabies (Macropus agilis), pademelons (Thylogale sp.), sand (Varanus gouldii) and lace (Varanus varius) monitors, with the occasional brown tree snake (Boiga irregularis), amethystine python (Morelia amethistina), and slaty-grey snake (Stegonotus cucullatus).  Other small visitors include mangrove crabs, giant centipedes, leaf insects, mantids and stick insects. Freshwater crocodiles (Crocodylus johnstoni) are very likely in the mangrove habitat at the back end of the property.

Birdlife is abundant, with identified species including orange-footed scrubfowl (Megapodius reinwardt), bush-stone curlews (Burhinus grallarius), green-winged pigeons (Chalcophaps indica), pied currawongs (Strepera graculina), eastern koels (Eudynamys orientalis), rainbow bee-eaters (Merops ornatus), sunbirds, sulphur-crested cockatoos (Cacatua galerita) and southern boobooks (Ninox boobook).  Many other birds are heard and require an avid birdwatcher to identify them all.

A range of native frogs are also present including white-lipped tree frogs (Litoria infrafrenata), green tree frogs (L. caerulea), dainty green tree frogs (L. gracilenta), Australian wood frogs (Papurana daemeli), ornate nursery-frogs (Cophixalus ornatus) and rain frogs (Austrochaperina pluvialis).