Mark Selmes is the owner of The Forest, a property located in Taralga, approximately 45km North of Goulburn, New South Wales. The property is a dedicated wildlife sanctuary and is used for wildlife rehabilitation and education. It is Mark’s intention to ensure the sanctuary’s protection in perpetuity, an intent largely satisfied by the Voluntary Conservation Agreement with the NSW State Government Conservation Partners Program. Mark plans to continue managing The Forest for conservation, with works including a nest box program and feral species control soon to be underway.
The sanctuary covers 80 hectares of high conservation value remnant native vegetation in an important wildlife corridor. Over 230 species of native fauna and flora have been identified on The Forest so far, with vegetation species of note including the buttercup doubletail (Diuris aequalis), 20 native orchid species and numerous eucalypts, predominantly narrow-leaved peppermints (Eucalyptus radiata), candlebark gum (E. rubida) and mountain white gum (E. dalrympleana). Also present are silver wattles (Acacia dealbata) and black wattle (A. melanoxylon), as well as numerous forbs and grasses.
Wildlife known to be present on The Forest includes greater (Petauroides volans), sugar (Petaurus breviceps) and squirrel (Petaurus norfolcensis) gliders, alpine tree frogs (Litoria verreauxii), eastern bentwing bats (Miniopterus schreibersii), greater broad-nosed bats (Scoteanax rueppellii), brushtail possums (Trichosurus vulpecula), short-beaked echidnas (Tachyglossus aculeatus), bare-nosed wombats (Vombatus ursinus) and a variety of microbats and macropods.
Also present are a wide range of bird species including gang-gang cockatoos (Callocephalon fimbriatum), powerful owls (Ninox strenua), flame (Petroica phoenicea) and scarlet (Petroica boodang) robins and varied sitellas (Daphoenositta chrysoptera). Reptiles such as blotched blue-tongued lizards (Tiliqua nigrolutea), Jacky dragons (Amphibolurus muricatus), highland copperheads (Austrelaps ramsayi), eastern brown snakes (Pseudonaja textilis), red-bellied black snakes (Pseudechis porphyriacus) and tiger snakes (Notechis scutatus) are also found on the property.