Native animal rescue groups are warning that wildlife in bushfire areas are facing starvation.
The wildlife care organisation, Wildcare Queanbeyan, says it is spending $6,000 a month in “food drops”, and was in danger of running out of funds.
But thanks to supporters of the World Wide Fund for Nature, the feeding program is now secure.
“There are huge numbers of animals facing starvation. This is a marathon effort and we’ll be support-feeding the wildlife for probably the next 12 months,” said Wildcare Queanbeyan president Belinda Hogarth-Boyd.
In November, the North Black Range Fire in Tallaganda National Park, NSW burned thousands of hectares of forest pushing animals onto surrounding properties in search of food.
To feed starving wildlife, Wildcare Queanbeyan has been distributing hay, fruit, vegetables, pellets and additional native vegetation (for full nutrition) to 40 rural properties bordering the national park.
These homeowners are keen to help native animals.
Local identities have witnessed, wallabies, wombats, birds and other wildlife eagerly consuming the food drops.
Hopefully this fantastic effort by all concerned will tide things over until we get more rain and the forests regenerate as suspected.
Mr O’Gorman of WWF, said funding would also go towards vet expenses and other supplies needed to care for rescued wildlife.
Wildcare Queanbeyan president Belinda Hogarth-Boyd said her team was busy, with echidnas and wombats suffering burns and smoke inhalation.
Many more rescues are possible because Wildcare Queanbeyan has not yet had access to the firegrounds for safety reasons. I
In just three weeks WWF has committed more than $1.7 million to support projects focused on immediate wildlife rescue, care and recovery efforts across all fire affected states and territories, with many more projects in the pipeline.
In early January, WWF launched a $30m Australian Wildlife and Nature Recovery Fund and has called upon both State and Federal governments.
“We thank our supporters here in Australia and across the globe who are making this vital work to save our wildlife possible,” Mr O’Gorman said.
People can assist WWF’s efforts by donating at https://www.wwf.org.au/get-involved/bushfire-emergency