At Jervis Bay, Lake Mackenzie is the home of waterfowl, including large influxes of nomadic species, as well as a large population of long-necked turtles. The University of Canberra conducts ecology field studies of the Lake and has developed a substantial body of information useful in monitoring its health. The creeks feeding the Lake support a range of reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates.
All native wildlife within the Gardens is protected under legislation, but there has been no policy for the management of this wildlife. Guided tours to view the wildlife, particularly the birds, have been provided as part of the visitor services program.
Some native species have proved detrimental to the horticultural activities of the Gardens. Kangaroos have caused damage to plant collections by trampling and grazing; particular problems have been experienced in establishing many plants at Jervis Bay for this reason. Damage from arboreal mammals such as possums has also been recorded.
In the past when kangaroo numbers have built up in the Canberra Gardens, drives have been conducted to move them to the adjoining Nature Reserve, but with limited success. More recently, deterrent devices have been trialled to protect sensitive plantings, but again with little success. In 1992 following consultations with wildlife management authorities the kangaroos resident in the Gardens were culled.
In Jervis Bay kangaroo damage has been controlled with the use of wire cages. This is not completely satisfactory but, because of the large kangaroo population and the density of the natural vegetation, it is currently the only practical approach.
The use of chemicals in the Gardens is recognised as a potential threat to wildlife and there has been a considerable reduction in chemical use in the last few years (see Section 2.5).
The potential for wildlife from other parts of Australia to be accidentally imported into the Gardens with plants collected in the field is a concern which has been recognised and procedures have been developed to minimise the risk of this occurring.
Research likely to lead to better understanding and management of species that damage the living collections or cause other problems in the Gardens will be particularly encouraged. The use of the Gardens for wildlife research and study will be encouraged and will be controlled through a system of permits issued under the relevant legislation.
Inspection and control procedures to minimise the risk of wildlife from elsewhere in Australia being accidentally imported into the Gardens will be retained and periodically reviewed to assess their effectiveness.
Education and interpretative programs will continue to draw attention to the value of the Gardens as habitat for wildlife, as will guided tours to view the birds of the Gardens. Wildlife control policies will be explained to the visiting public.