Nothing beats getting out and exploring Australia’s wild places – camping, bushwalking, boating or fishing.
And what a place we have to explore! Australia is home to some of the most remote, pristine and beautiful places on the planet.
But while we have a strong ethos of ‘treading lightly’ when out in the bush, it’s all-too-easy to unwittingly spread weeds and diseases that can kill wildlife and destroy wild places.
Leave hitch-hikers behind!
Weeds, pests and diseases are major threats to Australia’s native plants and animals.
They can hitch a ride on muddy hiking boots, in wet fishing gear or even hidden on the dirty rims of your car.
Our biggest threats
- Chytrid is a fungal disease blamed for frog extinctions both here and overseas.
- Phytophthora is a root rot that destroys native plants. It is spread in mud and soil on walkers’ boots, bikes and vehicles.
- Didymo, also known as ‘rock snot’, has not yet made it to Australia but can be transported on wet fishing gear. It has devastated riverbeds in New Zealand.
- Weeds radically alter natural ecosystems, smothering and outcompeting native plants, robbing wildlife of food and shelter.
What you can do
Here are some simple techniques you can use to keep your gear clean and our national parks and other wild places free of deadly pests and diseases:
- Thoroughly check footwear, waders, equipment, bikes, boats and vehicles for mud, soil, algae and plant material before arriving at or leaving each location.
- Clean your boots, socks, waders, equipment, bikes, boats and vehicles by scrubbing in local or town water before arriving at and leaving each location. Ensure all mud, soil and debris is removed and left on site.
- Disinfect the soles of your footwear using a spray bottle filled with disinfectant before entering and leaving a location. Use methylated spirits (70-100%), bleach (dilute to 25%) or F10 solution. Wait for one minute then step forward to avoid recontaminating footwear.
- Before use at another location, completely dry all waders, footwear, equipment, boats and vehicles.
- Avoid clothes or footwear that capture weed seed. ‘Sock protectors’ are widely available these days.
- Keep to walking tracks to avoid spreading diseases into untracked areas, especially on wet ground.
- Pick off seeds from shoes and clothes, and check your gear to make sure seeds are not hiding in pockets or on Velcro straps.
The Invasive Species Council campaigns to protect Australia’s native plants and animals from the growing threats of weeds, feral animals and diseases.
With your help we can educate more Australians about these dangers and protect the wild places we all love.
Paddy Pallin Foundation
We’d like to think the Paddy Pallin Foundation for their generous support of this community awareness campaign.
Thanks to their generosity our Keep Your Gear Clean in the Wild brochure is being handed out at every Paddy Pallin store across Australia. And every time you say no to a bag when shopping at a Paddy Pallin store they will donate 20 cents to the Invasive Species Council.