Many people, from all walks of life across Victoria and beyond, are working hard to help our precious wildlife recover from the devastating bushfires.

Of course, we all wish this wasn’t happening. We all wish they didn’t need this kind of support. But they do. So, we’re helping them – to overcome injury, prevent extinction and support their survival as their habitat recovers.  

If you’re interested in some silver linings, check out what we’re doing, in collaboration with some amazing people and organisations, to get our wildlife through this difficult time. There are plenty more actions we’re taking, including our medium to long term plans, but here is a quick snapshot of 5 of them so far.

1. Mobile Wildlife Triage Units deployed

As soon as there was a break in the smoke haze, we flew our wildlife triage team into Mallacoota, just after New Year, to assess and treat injured native animals. Units were also sent into Bairnsdale and Corryong in early January.  We also have one at Gelantipy where koalas are being transferred to new, greener habitat.

2. Wildlife Assessment teams deployed

We sent wildlife assessors into fire grounds, as soon as it was safe, to find injured, hungry and dehydrated native animals and get them to the wildlife triage units. These teams worked out of Wodonga, Tallangatta, Corryong, Mallacoota, Orbost and Bairnsdale. They’re still in the field.

3. $17.5 million funding for immediate wildlife needs

This funding is phase 1 of our response to the affects the fires have had on our native wildlife and plants. It covers native animals’ immediate and critical needs, wildlife welfare, emergency action to prevent extinction, improving long term resilience and others.

We’re also providing grants of up to $1000 for authorised wildlife carers and shelters to cover the increased costs in caring for more injured wildlife because of the bushfire emergency.  

4. Aerial searches and extra feeding

As well as the wildlife assessment teams’ on-ground work, there have been several flights to find wildlife, check how they’re doing and how their habitat is looking. In the worst hit areas, very few native animals have been seen from the air. Unfortunately, in intense bushfires, those unable to flee or burrow underground often perish. The good news is, we are seeing wildlife returning to the bush as it begins to regenerate following the recent rains.  

We’re also providing extra food to wildlife in need – both on the ground through our wildlife assessment teams and some aerial food drops, including to endangered brush-tailed rock wallabies.  

5. Insurance policy for threatened species

While we are helping wildlife affected by the fires, regardless of their species, we need to take special actions to help those that are endangered.

We’re taking out a Noah’s Ark-style insurance policy against extinction by temporarily extracting a number of threatened species whose habitats remain under threat from the fires. That includes different types of galaxiids (native fish) and the Eastern Bristlebird.

Keep up to date on the work underway to conserve our precious wildlife and native plants by subscribing to our Biodiversity Newsletter.

Page last updated: 20/02/20