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Byron Shire
April 15, 2024

Murwillumbah library pond lacks water for dragons

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dragonMurwillumbah Library Pond upgrade begun 1 February. On Monday 15 February I checked out the left side where the water dragons live but the pond had been drained as it is part of the main pond. I wondered if they had water to drink especially on hot days.

A cursory examination showed no water for them. I inquired at council’s front desk and was assured there was a water feature near the lower offices and near the Autumn Club.

Again I looked and saw nothing except a water dragon that scrambled under foliage. Back to the counter. Her computer showed that two water features for the dragons were planned with NRM supervision.

Not trusting there was water for them, I purchased a small bowl and filled it with water for them.

On Tuesday I phoned and was reassured the dragons had access to water.

On Wednesday I searched but still found nothing. A construction went to the left side and invited us to follow but found nothing. His supervisor confirmed the matter would be resolved in 30 minutes. Later that day we checked and again found nothing.

Thursday I finally found the ‘water feature’ – stiff grey plastic scrunched up between two big rocks with water in it. How would water dragons be able to scramble up the plastic to get out? With nothing to grip on to they would surely drown. So we put a thick log in so they could climb out.

A week later I checked to see if the water had been changed. It had not. It was putrid so I replaced it with clean water. This has become my weekly ritual because nobody else is doing it.

Out of 700 council employees not one could take the initiative to provide water to these amazing creatures without a member of the public harassing them four days in a row! It would have been a miracle if any water dragons survived council apathy and neglect, if not for my actions. Perhaps council regards animals as resources and not living beings with needs – or they just don’t care?

Menkit Prince, Uki

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  1. Again today, 23rd March, I checked on the ‘water feature’. As I was replacing the dirty water I spoke to the workers asking if they had seen any water dragons later. They had not, apart from a few little baby water dragons on the rocks near the ‘water feature’. I saw them too. Makes me wonder where the adult dragons are as I haven’t seen any for about a month now.
    A friend of mine spoke to the council construction foreman who told her that dragons get enough water from dew, leaves, stormwater and insects and that they can persist in the absence of permanent water. In spite of that he said it would be reasonable to establish a temporary pond in a sheltered area out of public view with details of dimensions, depth, flushed regularly none of which apply to the current ‘water feature.’
    A google search revealed 4 websites all saying dragons are never found without a reliable water source and will not venture far from their watery homes. I guess council staff are averse to doing research apart from what they are told by a senior reptile staff from the Qld Museum? Not to mention basic common sense and a modicum of compassion for living beings….


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