NSW: Casper's Hideaway - John McCann and Lorraine Blyth
Casper's Hideaway is a 745ha wildlife reserve 40km south-west of Casino in northern NSW. Most of the land is heavily timbered sandstone country with steep cliffs, rock overhangs and narrow gullies. The vegetation is extremely varied with blackbutt, stringy-bark and spotted gum being predominant in the more harsh stony ridges while turpentine, bloodwood, forest oak and banksia cover much of the remainder. In the creek lines along the deep gullies, rainforest species such as brush-box, flooded gum and the odd red cedar can be found with water gum, wattles and lillypillies dominating the understory.
Apart from joining Humane Society International's Wildlife Land Trust, our reserve has a Voluntary Conservation Agreement with the NSW National Parks Department to afford it extra protection. So far we have documented 102 species of birds on the land including a number of rare and endangered species such as the glossy black cockatoo and the white-throated nightjar. Tree dwelling marsupials are well represented and include the greater glider, squirrel glider, sugar glider, feather-tailed glider, mountain brushtail possum and the common brushtail possum. Both the short-nosed and long-nosed bandicoots are found in good numbers as are other small marsupials such as the brush-tailed phascogale and antechinus. The macropod list is equally impressive and includes red-necked wallaby, swamp wallaby, whiptail wallaby, wallaroo and the endangered brush-tailed rock wallaby. There are various species of frogs (many as yet to be indentified) that thrive here in abundance. Reptiles include lizards such as the land mullet and lace monitor and snakes like the carpet python and red-bellied black snake.
One of the reasons we joined the Wildlife Land Trust is to make sure that our property is protected for all time. In our travels around Australia and the world we have seen the results of exploitation of our beautiful planet for greed and profit without any thought for the wildlife that lives there. We want to give something back to mother earth so in 100 years time the birds and the animals will still have a place they can safely call home.
Some of you may be wondering how we came by the name Casper's Hideaway. And no, it wasn't named after a person or Casper the friendly ghost of cartoon fame, but rather a beautiful little brushtail possum named Casper who Lorraine raised from a tiny bottle fed infant after its mother died from eating rat poison. This scared little baby soon settled down to enjoy a very close and loving bond with its human mum before it was eventually released into the sanctuary that now bares its name.