Wildlife Rescue - AustraliaAustralia has one of the highest mammal extinction rates in the world
Australia’s devastating bushfires were only one year ago. At the time, it was difficult to imagine how the land and our Australian wildlife would recover.
But, as green shoots of new life emerged from scorched lands, we too have been working hard with our partners and friends to return rescued animals into the wild and to restore critical wildlife habitats.
The huge support and generous donations we received globally has helped us give hope to wildlife groups and carers on the ground, and the means to rebuild and recover after the Black Summer.
These past 12 months have been tough, but what we have achieved together is inspiring.
Our partners and friends across the country rescued hundreds of animals during the bushfires. This included:
- 21 koalas rescued by Friends of the Koala in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales (NSW)
- 210 animals rescued by Kangala Wildlife Rescue on Kangaroo Island, South Australia (SA)
- 12 koalas rescued by Science for Wildlife in the Blue Mountains region, NSW
We believe individual animals matter for conservation. By rescuing individual animals, we help to protect a population, or an entire species.
2. Detection dogs and drones
USC x IFAW’s detection dog Bear has been crucial to our rescue efforts. The beloved five-year old Australian koolie, together with his handlers and heat-detecting drones found 152 surviving koalas in bushfire-ravaged land. Team Bear assessed 119 koalas and safely rescued 31.
Many of our partners and friends received an influx of animals into their care during and after the bushfires. Sadly, some were too badly injured to recover. But we are pleased to say many have been released back into the wild where they belong.
This includes koalas Jessie, Amelia and surprise pouch joey Jazz, who were rescued with the help of Bear, at Two Thumbs Wildlife Sanctuary near Cooma in NSW. The trio was released after six months in rehabilitation in August together with two other bushfire survivors: koalas Jarrah and Mark.
- 7 koalas released by Friends of the Koala
- About 100 animals released by Kangala Wildlife Rescue
- 13 koalas (one had a surprise joey in the pouch) released by Science for Wildlife
Our landscape was left charred and barren after the bushfires. Crucial koala habitats, particularly in NSW were destroyed.
We worked together with our partners and friends Bangalow Koalas and Zero Emissions Byron in the NSW Northern Rivers region to revegetate fertile river valleys and lush forests that are home to a significant koala population. Some 8000 trees were planted along this crucial corridor.
Our work continues as we partner with the Great Eastern Ranges to restore and reconnect 3,600km of land from Far North Queensland to Western Victoria.
Our Caring for Carers emergency grants helped provide critical resources as well as veterinary support to dozens of wildlife groups and carers directly impacted by fires. This included:
- An emergency response trailer, an IFAW 4WD Wildlife Rescue vehicle and fuel cards
- More than 120 emergency water stations for animals
- Nesting boxes for displaced wildlife
- Enclosures, kangaroo and wallaby joey yards, triage buildings, a pelican aviary and turtle tank
- Veterinary support, triage equipment and vaccinations
- Online mental health resources for carers
Our work doesn’t stop here.
Importantly, IFAW is working with government authorities and assisting wildlife groups and carers with disaster preparedness and response training for the next bushfire season. We have made significant investments in veterinary capacity at Friends of the Koala (NSW) and Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary (TAS) for the treatment of sick, injured and orphaned wildlife coming into care.
With current predictions of La Niña weather patterns (above-average rainfall), thankfully this year’s fire season is looking very different. But we still need to be prepared for whatever this season brings.