The 2019-20 bushfires took a severe toll on Australia’s native wildlife and their habitats.
More than 330 threatened and migratory species were in the path of the fires. This resulted in damage to population numbers and habitats.
The Australian Government is investing $200 million into the recovery of native wildlife and habitats. This investment will help secure the future of treasured native animals. This includes the koala, Kangaroo Island Dunnart and Northern Corroboree Frog, as well as unique plants such as the Wollemi Pine, Monga Waratah and Gippsland Bottlebrush.
The Australian Government is partnering with key stakeholders to ensure locally-led recovery.
These stakeholders include:
- State and local governments
- Indigenous communities
- Landcare groups
- Non-government organisations
- Local communities
Important work is happening across bushfire-affected regions, giving our plants and wildlife the best chance at long-term recovery. This includes work on the ground, as well as vital research and planning.
$200 million for native wildlife and habitat recovery
This funding includes:
- An initial $50 million investment for urgent intervention. This funding was made available from January 2020. It has provided emergency support for wildlife and their habitats.
- A further $150 million investment to support the long-term recovery of our native animals and plants. This funding has been made available over the next two years.
The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment administers this funding.
Threatened Species Commissioner Dr Sally Box is leading a panel of experts to assist in prioritising recovery actions to support impacted animals, plants, and ecosystems. The panel advises the Australian Government on the medium and long term responses required to support the recovery of Australia’s environment.
Bushfire Immediate Wildlife Rescue and Recovery
The initial $50 million funding has two streams:
$25 million for emergency intervention
This funding focuses on the immediate survival of affected animals, plants, ecological communities, and to control pests and weeds. The fund includes:
- $13 million for state and territory governments for local recovery efforts.
- $12 million in open grants through the Wildlife and Habitat Bushfire Recovery Program. Tranche 1 and 2 of this program are now closed. Successful applications can be found on the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment website.
$25 million to support wildlife rescue, zoos, Natural Resource Management groups, Greening Australia, and Conservation Volunteers Australia with their activities on the ground
This funding includes:
- up to $7 million for Natural Resource Management groups in bushfire-affected areas. Groups are carrying out emergency interventions, including control of feral predators, pest animals and weeds. This will also include habitat protection measures (such as fencing and nest boxes).
- up to $7.5 million to support wildlife rescue, protection, and care services on the ground. This includes $1 million for the Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife through their Wildlife Heroes Program.
- up to $5 million for Greening Australia to increase supply of seed and native plants for revegetation.
- $1 million each for Taronga Zoo, Zoos South Australia and Zoos Victoria for the treatment of injured wildlife. Funds are also being used to establish insurance populations of at-risk species. This is in addition to the $3 million to support Queensland Koala Hospitals (committed in late 2019) and the $3 million for koala habitat restoration in northern NSW and south-east QLD.
- up to $2.5 million Conservation Volunteers Australia to mobilise volunteers through a national coordination point.
Bushfire Recovery for Species and Landscapes
The $150 million will target action on the ground across bushfire-affected regions and heritage places. The funding will work to prevent extinction and limit the decline of native species, help communities and land managers roll-out crucial recovery projects, update conservation plans for threatened species, and track the recovery effort. This includes:
- $110 million for strategic recovery activities on the ground including preventing species decline, controlling feral animal and weeds, revegetation and regeneration, protecting refuges, and landscape management.
- $12 million for projects that engage local communities in conserving their local environment and driving local recovery. It includes support for knowledge exchange on Indigenous cultural burning and land management.
- $28 million towards further scientific assessment and planning for our most-at risk species.
Work is underway on planning this next phase of the recovery. Further details will be available over the coming months.
For more information, visit the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment website.
Resources available include:
- lists of high priority animals, invertebrates, plants and threatened ecological communities requiring urgent management intervention
- national datasets on bushfire extent and severity.
How to help injured or orphaned wildlife
See the list of contact details for animal welfare charities. These accept tax deductible donations to support the bushfire relief or recovery efforts.
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 per cent cotton fabric. Place it gently in a ventilated box and contact your nearest veterinarian or wildlife carer organisation.
There are some practical ways you can ease the stress on wildlife, regardless of whether you’re in a fire-affected area. These include leaving water dishes and buckets around your garden or property in shaded areas, and keeping domestic pets away from native animals.
State and territory contact details for injured wildlife are:
Australian Capital Territory
For injured kangaroos call 13 22 81
New South Wales
NSW Wildlife Council has a list of wildlife rescue groups in NSW
Ark Aid at thearkvet.com/wildlife-rescue
Northern Territory Government at nt.gov.au/environment/animals/report-injured-wildlife-or-rescue
RSPCA Queensland at www.rspcaqld.org.au/what-we-do/care-for-animals/wildlife-hospital or on 1300 264 625
RSPCA SA on 1300 477 722