Australia has some of the most diverse animals in the world – and we can’t let bushfires wipe them out
Bushfires in Australia are a regular and widespread occurrence that has contributed to shaping the nature of the continent for millions of years. The fires are a natural result of the hot, dry conditions of Australia’s environment, particularly over summer. Importantly, they’re also a normal part of Australia’s ecosystem, with several native plants relying on them to regenerate and grow. In recent years, Australia has experienced long-term dry conditions and exceptionally low rainfall, causing droughts and more extreme bushfires. Climate change does, and will continue to, significantly impact the length and ferocity of the bushfires, making them difficult to predict and manage. This means that we need to be prepared well in advance to be ready to help the animals affected.
During the bushfires we work with local partners to rescue, rehabilitate and release wildlife impacted by the fires and support wildlife carers across the country. In the past we’ve provided emergency koala enclosures, rescue vehicles, fire gear, and veterinary supplies. We’ve deployed USC x IFAW koala detection dog, Bear, to sniff out surviving koalas and have committed to sustaining important koala habitat by planting trees to create koala corridors. We work closely with state governments on preparedness and wildlife response to bushfires and other emergencies. We are also conducting vital post-fire research using non-invasive technologies with dogs and drones to assess the impact of fires on koalas.
During the 2019/20 bushfire season, the Global Disaster Response team provided on the ground assistance and a vet network was developed.
We talked to our IFAW experts and got answers to your most popular bushfire questions. Read our Q & A to learn more about the fate of Australia's wildlife and what you can do to help.
A report commissioned by IFAW reveals the impact of climate change and bushfires on koala populations in New South Wales. 6,382 koalas are estimated to have perished during the 2019/2020 bushfires, nearly 15% of the population.
Use your smartphone to help sick and injured animals in NSW.