Bushfires – water for wildlife
The bushfires in Australia have burnt almost 6 million hectares, three times the size of the recent California fires and seven times the Amazon fires. Much of it has been in National Parks and protected areas which are normally safe havens set aside for wildlife and their habitats; these last refuges for wildlife are burning.
The Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area in NSW is one million hectares in size, covering 8 National Parks. Around 80% of that has now been impacted by fire. This vast wilderness supports exceptional biodiversity including many threatened species of animals. We’ve lost too many to count, to the massive Gospers Mountain mega-blaze in the north and the Green Wattle Creek fire to the south both of which stretch the whole width of the protected area and continue to grow.
We recently discovered five large and important koala populations spread across this region; we are heartbroken that four of them have had 80% or more of koala habitats impacted by fire. We managed to save some koalas from Kanangra-Boyd and put them at Taronga until it’s safe to return them to the wild.
We’re losing many other species as well, greater gliders are dropping dead out of the trees from heat stress. Animals who have survived the fires are at risk of dying from dehydration and starvation as habitats are lost to fire and the record-breaking drought continues.
A brief period of rain has not eased the threat, the ground is baked so dry these rains are running off and washing ash and contaminants into waterways. The drought has not broken. Freshwater is still needed.
If we are going to save what is left, we need to get food and water to them. Then, we need to start surveys to find out what we have left and plan to conserve it.
WHAT WE’RE DOING ABOUT IT
We are working with Greater Sydney Local Land Services, as well as WIRES, property owners and volunteers to put out water stations and do food drops for wildlife. It’s a huge area to cover so we are focussing where we know there are colonies of threatened species and where we can make the most difference, both inside the National Parks and also on nearby private properties.
We are putting out water stations that support koalas, gliders and other arboreal species, as well as ground water and food for species like kangaroos, wallabies and wombats. The food and water stations will be positioned near the edges of the burned areas to support animals that escaped the fires. We will also monitor them with camera traps to get an idea of what is left of our wildlife, which is vital information for management.
We are working right across the protected area network, from the edges of western Sydney in the east to Kanangra-Boyd National Park and the Megalong and Kanimbla Valleys in the west.
We need your help, please Donate to our project crowdfund
To see how to build our new small arboreal drinker, click HERE
Read more about our activities for bushfire relief for wildlife HERE
Two of the water station designs were are deploying across the Blue Mountains. The bigger ones need less maintenance (refilling and cleaning) and are going into remote areas, the smaller DIY ones can be maintained by property owners and volunteers.