Protecting and enjoying our biodiverse grounds

UQ's beautiful grounds attract a wide range of urban wildlife and we work to support native species with natural habitats that provide natural food sources.

We are committed to fostering and protecting native wildlife on campus, and our comprehensive Biodiversity Management Program ensures that biodiversity is enhanced, while pests and weeds are managed. Read more about reporting injured wildlife on campus

We encourage our UQ staff, students and visitors to experience and enjoy our biodiverse habitats. Take a look at the UQ Sustainability Walk for tips on where you may be able to spot a range of beautiful native flora or fauna across our grounds.

Maintaining harmony between animals and humans

Most of the time, animals and humans co-exist peacefully on our campuses. Occasionally, the balance is disrupted and some animals can become overly dominant or assertive, especially when food is involved. This most often happens with birds, including crows and ibises, both of which are prevalent in many areas of South East Queensland.

We appreciate that this can be frightening – or even just downright annoying – for our community, and we understand that the natural instinct in these circumstances is often to strike out at or otherwise attempt to physically deter or remove the animals from your presence.

However, it is also important to remember that many of the wildlife on our campuses are protected species. Under the Nature Conservation Act 1992, there are laws around what we are all allowed to do, and how we must manage and interact with Australian native wildlife and protected species.

What you can do to help

There are a number of actions we ask everyone to take to help protect and prevent issues with wildlife on our campuses: 

  • Please don't feed the wildlife. Feeding native animals can cause them to become dependent on your food source. This means they can become aggressive towards people as they lose their ability to forage for natural foods, and instead learn to achieve a food reward through attacking and taking food. 
  • Please dispose of food scraps in appropriate bins. Even if you don’t intentionally feed the wildlife, leaving scraps lying around can also provide a source of food if the animals are able to easily access these scraps.
  • Never feed introduced animals, either. This includes animals such as feral cats, which you may encounter from time to time. Feeding these animals increases their longevity and population size with devastating impacts on native species.
  • Please dispose of all rubbish thoughtfully and don’t litter. In addition to food scraps, plastics and other rubbish can cause harm to wildlife if they are ingested, become tangled around animals’ bodies, or interfere with their living spaces, and sources of food and water.
  • Respect the animals’ environment. Where possible, try to move to a different area – or avoid known problem areas – when incidents with wildlife or other animals occur. Try also to maintain a distance from any young chicks and their parents, so as not to cause undue stress or inadvertent separation.
  • Minimise what you put down the drain. Items such as oils and chemicals may start at the kitchen sink but they end up in our waterways, oceans and throughout our natural environment.
  • Report any injured wildlife by following these steps.
  • Report any safety concerns to the UQ Property and Facilities division. If you are injured following a wildlife encounter, or if you require any immediate assistance, contact your Health Safety and Wellness representative to log a UQSafe incident, if UQ staff. Contact Security, if a student or member of the public.

What we do when problems arise

Where we become aware of safety concerns or other problems regarding wildlife on our campuses, we will do our best to restore the balance in that environment. We will always try to:

  • Erect signs and distribute warning messages whenever and wherever we are aware of aggressive or difficult wildlife (particularly birds) on our campuses. Prominent signage will be placed in relevant locations when problems arise, so please be mindful and follow the instructions provided on these signs. (If you notice wildlife is becoming a problem in a dining area, we also provide stickers that can be placed on tables alerting people to this fact. Email us to enquire.)
  • Bring in external wildlife experts and, in some cases, enact wildlife management plans to potentially relocate problematic populations to other sites (either on our grounds or elsewhere) that are safe and able to support the introduction of the native species.
  • Manage populations of invasive or introduced species using appropriate, humane and legally sanctioned methods of animal management.