Bushfire crisis appeal, help our wildlife!

By Science for Wildlife

Campaign Completed on
07-01-2020

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The Bushfire Crisis for Wildlife
(Please see the end of the article for a recent update on this project)

The bushfires in Australia have burnt almost 6 million hectares, three times the size of the California fires and seven times the Amazon fires. Much of it has been in National Parks and protected areas which are normally safe havens set aside for wildlife and their habitats; these last refuges for wildlife are burning.

The Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area in NSW is one million hectares in size, covering 8 National Parks. Around 80% of that has now been burnt. This vast wilderness supports exceptional biodiversity including many threatened species of animals. We've lost too many to count, to the massive Gospers Mountain mega-blaze in the north and the Green Wattle Creek fire to the south both of which stretch the whole width of the protected area and continue to grow.

We recently discovered five large and important koala populations spread across this region; we are heartbroken that four of them have had 80% or more of koala habitats impacted by fire. We managed to save some koalas from Kanangra-Boyd and put them at Taronga until it's safe to return them to the wild.

The koalas we rescued from fires in Kanangra-Boyd are safe and sound at Taronga. There are so many more out in the wild that need our help.

We're losing many other species as well, greater gliders were dropping dead out of the trees from heat stress. Animals who survived the fires have been at risk of dying from dehydration and starvation as habitats are lost to fire and the record-breaking drought continues.

A brief period of rain has not eased the threat, the ground is baked so dry these rains are running off and washing ash and contaminants into waterways. The drought has not broken. Freshwater is still needed.

If we are going to save what is left, we need to get food and water to them.

Here’s what we’re doing about it

We are working with Greater Sydney Local Land Services, as well as WIRES, property owners and volunteers to put out water stations and do food drops for wildlife. It's a huge area to cover so we are focussing where we know there are colonies of threatened species and where we can make the most difference, both inside the National Parks and also on nearby private properties.

We are putting out water stations that support koalas, gliders and other arboreal species, as well as ground water and food for species like kangaroos, wallabies and wombats. The food and water stations will be positioned near the edges of the burned areas to support animals that escaped the fires. We will also monitor them with camera traps to get an idea of what is left of our wildlife, which is vital information for management.

We are working right across the protected area network, from the edges of western Sydney in the east to Kanangra-Boyd National Park and the Megalong and Kanimbla Valleys in the west.


We need your help, please Donate

The massive Gosper's Mountain mega-blaze, which has burnt over 500,000ha. This fire created it's own weather system and has obliterated wildlife habitats.

  • $10 will buy a DIY water drinker for wildlife that can be put up a tree. We'll be giving these to private property owners who will volunteer to keep them full.
  • $50 will buy the materials we need to install the drinkers up trees (ropes etc)
  • $100 will buy a 25L ground-based water station that’s easy for private landholders to top up.
  • $150 will buy much needed food for wildlife, including special pellets for kangaroos and wallabies.
  • $500 will buy one camera trap so we can find out what is left of our wildlife in burnt areas.
  • $1100 will buy one of the larger water stations that support both tree-living and ground living wildlife. These will go into target areas inside the National Parks.
  • $3,600 will buy a trailer, water tank and pump to refill the larger water stations each week, and we need one for each area.

Three of the water station designs we'll be putting out for tree-living and ground-living wildlife.

UPDATE MARCH 11th:

We have deployed more than 80 water stations across 3 sites, targeting colonies of threatened species including koalas. Due to ongoing rain events, at the moment we are focussed on continuing food drops for ground species (kangaroos, wallabies, wombats, small mammals) and also keeping the existing water stations maintained in the burnt areas.

The water stations up in trees are particularly important, if we get more hot weather we don't want arboreal mammals like koalas and gliders having to come to ground for water - predators like foxes and cats do very well on fire grounds as there is no vegetation cover for our native animals.

Koalas normally get the water they need from the moisture in the leaves they eat, and the tree canopy takes a while to bounce back. So until canopy condition is good, we will keep making water available for them. You can read about our satelite mapping of canopy condition HERE.

We are working closely with a range of stakeholders including National Parks and Wildlife Service, Local Land Services, Wildlife Health Australia and veterinarians to make sure that we keep resources available for wildlife for as long as they are needed, and that we remove them once they are not.

We are also maintaining our remote camera survey project, which involves putting out cameras on food drops and water stations. This will tell us where we have surviving native wildlife, and also areas where invasive species are a problem. We'll soon have a stack of photos to go through from the first batch, the cameras will be left out for about 6 months. Most of the cameras are up in trees and we hire specialist climbers to deploy them, change batteries and collect the photos.

We still need your help! Thank you if you have donated.


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Team Members

Kellie Leigh

Kath Davis

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