Thank You to Our Donors – Large and Small

During the recent bushfire season Science for Wildlife was overwhelmed by the range of people who donated to help our cause, both locally and internationally. The incredible community support allowed us to scale up our efforts and ensure that the best available science and technology was being applied on the ground where it counted. Today we want to take the opportunity to thank those individuals, businesses and organisations for their support. Their generosity was imperative to our ability to act quickly and save precious wildlife from the unprecedented bushfires.

Thank you to our donors

Science for Wildlife received donations from a range of individuals, businesses and organisations across Australia and internationally. Special mention must be made to the following:

  • The individuals and community groups who made donations and held fundraisers during the bush fire crisis. Fundraisers took the form of local concerts, school cake stalls and the sale of local goods including tea towels and illustrations. We were also grateful to those who forwent Christmas and birthday presents to instead donate the money to our organisation and to the children who donated their precious pocket money in support of our cause. In total we had 129 people donate to our Chuffed campaign and 666 people to our Give Now donation site. We were overjoyed to raise a total of $86,000 for our bushfire work from individuals and small businesses.
  • San Diego Zoo Global, a long-term Project Partner for our Blue Mountains Koala Project, responded rapidly to the crisis and ran a fundraising campaign for us in the USA. They became core supporters of our bushfire emergency response work and will continue to provide support of our future work to assess and conserve remaining kola populations.
  • The new Sydney Zoo and their Foundation came on board as new partners and acted quickly during this time, giving us generous support and supplying us with large remote-area water towers, as well as support to expand our camera trap survey project.
  • Our partners WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo showed their support through fundraising efforts and on the ground assistance by sending their staff out as volunteers to help in the field on a regular basis.
  • Lisbon Zoo raised approx. AU$8000 for us which covered essential field equipment for data collection during post-fire surveys.
  • International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) provided $5,000 towards the koala rescue and browse collection costs.
  • Port Macquarie Koala Hospital supplied our first 5 remote-area water tower to us, plus plans for their design, so we could have them made locally (through Sydney Zoo) and they also donated field radios and koala rehabilitation manuals for our search and rescue work.
  • 10×10 Philanthropy contacted us and we were the first of three charities to be selected for their emergency bushfire appeal event, which was held in Sydney.

KDVIDEO Koala Release 25 March 20 S4W

Featured above: S4W Volunteers assisting in the recent return of our koalas to the Blue Mountains region (Image: KD Video)

What we achieved

1. Rescue and then rewilding of 13 koalas, removed from the fire front in Kanangra-Boyd National Park and returned when it was safe for them. This involved ongoing browse collection every week for 3 months to keep them fed at Taronga Zoo, and racing Covid-19 shut-downs to get them back into the wild. We are now tracking a total of 15 koalas at this site to work out how they use the landscape after fire.
2. At over 80 locations, across 3 sites that we know support koalas and other threatened species, we installed and maintained arboreal and ground water stations, food drop stations and remote camera surveys. A huge thanks to our dedicated ecologists, tree climbers (who installed the drinkers and cameras up in trees) and volunteers. The sites were between 70 to 100km apart, and it was no small feat to keep the water and food maintained on a regular basis for 3 months.
3. Search and rescue for burnt and injured koalas and other wildlife across 3 sites, working with WIRES and veterinarians.
4. Surveys for surviving koalas, including using our scat detection dog team plus volunteers doing visual surveys, plus capture and health assessments of koalas on and near the fire grounds.
5. Based on our experience on the fire ground, we shared recommendations for improved emergency responses and planning to manage bushfire impacts on koalas into the future. This included attending state and federal government workshops and inquiries at Parliament House in Sydney and Canberra, plus NSW Koala Strategy meetings.

Why we still need your support

The bushfire crisis is quickly becoming a distant memory as the world grapples with our next big challenge – COVID-19! Our team understands that this is a natural and understandable shift in current affairs and community focus. However, despite the state of the world, our post-fire work is ongoing.

“After focussing on deploying critical resources during the emergency response phase, we are now moving on with the longer-term work of conducting field surveys and ecological studies to find out what is left of our koalas and other wildlife across the bushfire zones, and prioritising their conservation on both public and private land. We want to ensure there is a future for koalas and that is no easy task with more frequent and intense bushfires expected under climate change. The donations we received during our bushfire appeal were fantastic as they kept our work going, but in order to keep moving forward with the next stage of recovery we still need your help.”

– Dr Kellie Leigh, Executive Director of Science for Wildlife

KDVIDEO Koala Release 25 March 20 S4W

Featured above: Dr Kellie Leigh releasing a koala back into the Blue Mountains region (Image: KD Video)

How to donate

To make a donation, head to our website and follow the links to our secure payment systems. All donations over $2 are tax deductible for Australian Residents. It’s going to be a long haul to find and conserve what is left of our koalas, the work has just begun, so please consider signing up to give a monthly donation if you are able.

For other projects updates and to learn more about Science for Wildlife community, visit our website here.