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Assistance for Australian Wildlife Affected by the Bushfires factsheet

As at 23 January 2020

The Commonwealth Government is providing an initial $50 million to support immediate work to protect wildlife, and work with scientists, communities and land managers to plan longer-term protection and restoration efforts.

Emergency Wildlife and Habitat Recovery

The $50 million will fund two streams of work:

$25 million for emergency intervention to help affected animals, plants and ecological communities to survive. This funding will be allocated based on advice from an independent panel of experts.

A further $25 million for immediate support to wildlife rescue organisations, our zoos, Natural Resource Management groups, Greening Australia and Conservation Volunteers Australia to carry out activities on the ground.

This will include:

  1. up to $7 million for Natural Resource Management groups in bushfire affected areas to carry out emergency intervention such as fencing sensitive areas and to control pests and weeds.
  2. up to $7.5 million to support practical wildlife rescue, protection and care.
  3. up to $5 million for Greening Australia to increase supply of seed and native plants for revegetation.
  4. up to $3 million for Taronga Zoo, Zoos South Australia and Zoos Victoria for treatment of injured wildlife and the establishment of insurance populations of at-risk species. This is in addition to the $3 million committed in late 2019 to support Queensland Koala Hospitals and the $3 million committed for koala habitat restoration in northern NSW and south-east Queensland.
  5. up to $2.5 million for Conservation Volunteers Australia to mobilise volunteers through a national coordination point.

This initiative forms part of the Commonwealth Government’s initial $2 billion National Bushfire Recovery Fund. For more information go to www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/bushfire-recovery.

Panel of experts

The Threatened Species Commissioner, Dr Sally Box, will chair a panel of experts charged with advising the Australian Government on allocating the $25 million emergency intervention fund to priority actions.

Members of the expert panel have been selected for their expertise in key fields, including fire ecology, conservation biology and environmental decision making. Representatives of bushfire-affected state and territory governments are included to provide local knowledge and promote collaboration and coordination of fire recovery activities across the country.

Dr Box and the panel will:

  • advise the Minister for the Environment on critical interventions required to support the immediate survival of affected animals, plants and ecological communities and to control pests and weeds.
  • assess and map the scale of the impacts of the bushfires on our environment and prioritise recovery efforts, which will inform a strategy for building populations of native plants and animals back up again and ensuring their resilience into the future.

For more information go to www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/bushfire-recovery/expert-panel.

Initial list of threatened and migratory species which have more than 10% of their known or predicted distribution in areas affected by bushfires in southern and eastern Australia from 1 August 2019 and 13 January 2020.

Preliminary results indicate that:

  • 49 listed threatened species have more than 80% of their modelled likely or known distribution within the fire extent
  • 65 listed threatened species have more than 50%, but less than 80%, of their modelled likely or known distribution within the fire extent
  • 77 listed threatened species have more than 30%, but less than 50%, of their modelled likely or known distribution within the fire extent
  • 136 listed threatened species and 4 listed migratory species have more than 10%, but less than 30%, of their modelled likely or known distribution within the fire extent.

The threatened species include 272 plant, 16 mammal, 14 frog, nine bird, seven reptile, four insect, four fish and one spider species. An additional four listed migratory bird species are not listed as threatened.

The threatened species are currently listed as Critically Endangered (31 species), Endangered (110 species) and Vulnerable (186 species) under national environmental law.

The listing status of some of these species may need to be reviewed by the Threatened Species Scientific Committee once the impacts of the fires are better understood.

How you can help

The Australian Government is grateful to the individuals, groups and domestic and global communities and organisations who have offered their assistance. We know how important the bushfire recovery effort is to everyone.

We have engaged Conservation Volunteers Australia to mobilise volunteers through a national coordination point. For more information, go to www.conservationvolunteers.com.au

If you can provide financial assistance, the Treasury maintains a list of contact details for charities that are able to accept tax deductible donations and are working to support bushfire relief or recovery efforts.

More information available at www.bushfirerecovery.gov.au/offers-help/registered-bushfire-charities

If you come across injured or orphaned wildlife, follow the advice of registered wildlife carer organisations. If it is safe to do so, wrap the injured animal loosely in 100% cotton fabric and place gently in a ventilated box and contact your nearest veterinarian or wildlife carer organisation.

Contacts for each state and territory can be found at:

Practical ways you can ease the stress on wildlife, regardless of whether you’re in a fire-affected area, includes leaving water dishes and buckets around your garden or property in shaded areas, and keeping domestic pets away from native animals. More information on providing water for wildlife is available at www.wires.org.au/blog/emergency-food-and-water-for-wildlife

Key contacts

National

  • Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife 1800 898 626
  • Wildlife Rescue 1300 596 457

NSW

  • NSW Disaster Welfare Services Line 1800 018 444
  • Wires 1300 094 737
  • Sydney Wildlife (02) 9413 4300

VIC

  • Wildlife Victoria (03) 8400 7300

SA

  • RSPCA SA 1300 477 722
  • Fauna rescue (08) 8289 0896

WA

  • Wildcare 08 9474 9055

ACT

  • RSPCA ACT (02) 6287 8100
  • ACT Wildlife 0432 300 033
  • Injured Kangaroos 13 22 81
  • Wildcare Queanbeyan 02 6299 1966

QLD

  • RSPCA QLD 1300 264 625
  • Wildcare Australia 07 5527 2444

TAS

  • Wildlife Management Branch 1300 827 727