Jon Luly and Dominique Thiriet are the owners of Gurungada, a property located in Mount Surround, approximately 40km south-east of Townsville. The property is a residence as well as a wildlife sanctuary and rehabilitation site. Jon and Dominique have implemented a flying fox rehabilitation and release program as well as a weed control and native planting program. They intend to maintain the property for its current uses and continue restoring and improving the landscape for native wildlife.
Gurungada covers 4.04 hectares of agricultural land which has been heavily modified by former cane and bamboo plantations. However, the property is currently undergoing restoration with the removal of invasive plant species and the planting of native trees and plants. Approximately 1.2 hectares of the property is covered by a freshwater lagoon, which is fringed by intact riparian forest. Previously, the lagoon was permanently flooded for irrigation uses but it is now currently isolated from the existing irrigation network to allow the natural periodic cycles of drying and flooding to reestablish.
The property consists of three regional ecosystems, as defined by the Queensland Department of Environment, Land and Water’s Vegetation Management Act 1999. The riparian fringe is dominated by Livistona decora, a species of palm that occurs naturally and freely regenerates on the property. The property is surrounded by heavily modified regional land dominated by cane plantations and grazing land. With its natural water source, intact riparian zone and ongoing rehabilitation of native trees, this property may serve as a significant ongoing wildlife refuge for native species in the area.
Wildlife species present include mammals such as the northern brown bandicoot (Isoodon macrourus), agile wallaby (Macropus agilis), dingo (Canis dingo), Melomys species, white tailed rat (Uromys caudimaculatus), black flying-fox (Pteropus alecto), little red flying-fox (Pteropus scapulatus) and several micro bat species including the yellow-bellied sheathtail-bat (Saccolaimus flaviventris), eastern cave bat (Vespadelus troughtoni), Australian myotis (Myotis australis), smaller horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus megaphyllus), large-eared horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus philippinensis), white-striped free tailed bat (Austronomus australis) and eastern broad-nosed bat (Scotorepen orion).
Reptile species present include frilled necked lizards (Chlamydosaurus kingii), common tree snakes (Dendrelaphis punctulata), brown tree snakes (Dendrelaphis punctulata), water pythons (Liasis fuscus), carpet pythons (Morelia spilota), black whip snakes (Demansia papuensis), eastern brown snakes (Pseudonaja textilis) and various skinks, legless lizards and unidentified snakes. Amphibians present include frogs such as green tree frogs (Litoria caerulea), Roth’s tree frogs (Litoria rothii), ornate burrowing frogs (Platyplectrum ornatum) and dainty green tree frogs (Litoria gracilenta). Over 100 native birds have also been sighted including water birds, waders, raptors and bush birds.