Helping wildlife in the wake of Cyclone Debbie

Cyclone Debbie left wildlife enclosures and aviaries  at Fauna Rescue Whitsundays badly damaged. PHOTO: © Fauna Rescue WhitsundaysTropical Cyclone Debbie swept through Northern Queensland last week leaving a trail of devastation in her wake. It’s the largest cyclone to hit the region since Cyclone Yasi in 2014.

She then travelled south across South East Queensland and Northern NSW causing major flooding and prompting more than 20,000 people to be evacuated. To date, five people have tragically died and many homes and properties have been destroyed.

Hundreds of millions of dollars in tourism revenue have been lost, particularly to the Whitsundays and Hamilton Island, both of which rely so heavily on tourism.

As the huge clean-up operation begins, IFAW reached out to our friends across Queensland and Northern NSW to offer assistance. One wildlife group Fauna Rescue Whitsundays was badly hit, with most of their wildlife enclosures and aviaries destroyed, including two rock wallaby enclosures.

All of the trees have been left bare as the cyclone stripped them of branches and leaves. Tree-dwelling animals such as birds, possums, bats and koalas have been left homeless, hungry and/or injured and the group anticipates an influx of animals coming into care over the coming weeks. They already admitted their first patient - Debbie, a scaly-breasted lorikeet.

Fauna Rescue Whitsunday’s first patient – Debbie, a scaly-breasted lorikeet. PHOTO: © Fauna Rescue Whitsundays

Debbie’s nesting hollow came down in the storm and unfortunately her sibling didn’t make it. Her rescuer fed her and kept her warm for a couple of days until it was safe to take her to a carer.

The good news is that Debbie is doing very well.

IFAW is helping Fauna out with an emergency grant to help rebuild some of its enclosures and aviaries and to help feed and treat animals coming into care.

I will keep you posted as news comes in.


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Senior Program Advisor
Senior Program Advisor
Brian Sharp, Emergency Relief Officer, Stranding Coordinator
Manager, Marine Mammal Rescue and Research
Céline Sissler-Bienvenu, Director, France and Francophone Africa
Director, France and Francophone Africa
IFAW Veterinarian
Katie Moore, Deputy Vice President, Conservation and Animal Welfare
Deputy Vice President, Conservation and Animal Welfare
Loïs Lelanchon, Animal Rescue Program Officer
Animal Rescue Program Officer
Shannon Walajtys
Manager, Animal Rescue-Disasters
Vivek Menon, Director of IFAW partner, Wildlife Trust of India
Consulting Senior Advisor to the CEO on Strategic Partnerships & Philanthropy