IFAW brings hope for animals after Cyclone Yasi, Queensland
IFAW immediately met with the local wildlife association and vets to develop a response plan for animals in the area who are suffering primarily from a loss of food sources and shelter as a result of the two disasters.
“With the cumulative affects of the flood and cyclone, we are seeing a lot of need among wildlife carers in the area,” said IFAW’s Manager of Disaster Relief Dr. Dick Green. Initially, IFAW set up response efforts out of Cairns, which faired very well during the storm. Most debris has been cleared and power restored.The rest of the region was not so fortunate.
“Mission Beach will be top priority given its accessibility and the dozen wildlife carers who need assistance to rebuild damaged facilities,” added Dick Green. “IFAW will move on to areas south of Mission Beach such as Cardwell, Tully, Carmine Beach, Silkwood, Veluga when we can gain access.”
In addition to Dr. Green, IFAW’s team includes a wildlife vet and vet tech, who can provide immediate assistance to animals in the field and training to wildlife carers who expect an influx of animals at their facilities. One wildlife center alone had accepted 34 birds in the course of a single day.
IFAW’s team also will conduct an assessment of overall need. There are more than 100 wildlife care facilities in the area and it is likely that 50% or more of them have damaged structures or otherwise need assistance.
With much of the natural food sources destroyed and the cost of food skyrocketing, emergency food supplies for animals will be a critical component of the response. IFAW also expects to expand sheltering facilities at centers that can receive large numbers of animals from impacted areas for up to 30 days.
In the long-term, damaged structures at wildlife care facilities will need to be rebuilt and habitat restoration will be needed to bring back natural food sources for animals.
“There are a lot of people doing great work for animals here,” said Dr. Green. “IFAW’s goal is to get the animals and the people who care for them in Queensland through this initial crisis and help them rebuild for the future.”