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Wildlife at Risk

Australia is being ravaged by hundreds of bushfires across several states and exhausted fire crews have been extremely grateful for the assistance of New Zealand firefighters.

Tragically lives have been lost, hundreds of homes have been destroyed and in New South Wales (NSW) alone over 2 million hectares of land has been burnt by thousands of fires in what is believe to be the worst fire season in history.

Only a few weeks into the fire season, there are still 120 fires burning in NSW, dozens uncontained, one at emergency status and these disasters have hit on top of one of the worst droughts on record.

Many animals were thought to be suffering from starvation before the fires. In conjunction with the decimation of land already caused by these horrific fires, it is impossible to comprehend the number of native animals that have perished.

With such unprecedented devastation it is not possible to quantify the loss of biodiversity and what this means to the viability of many wild populations. Surviving animals will also be facing serious challenges caused by food and water shortages and lack of habitat, for an extended time.

It is an incredibly difficult time for wildlife and many volunteer wildlife rescuers and rehabilitators, with many volunteers also needing to evacuate their homes at different times.

WIRES rescued this koala during search and rescue operations in Wollemi national park. He was spotted on the ground and climbed the only surviving gum tree in a completely blackened area as rescuers approached.

Koala Rescue © WIRES

The koala, named Odin, was immediately taken to the vet for treatment and is now in WIRES care. He was badly injured and everyone is hoping he will be strong enough to recover from his trauma, at this stage the outcome is uncertain.

If you would like to help WIRES rescue and care for Australian native animals in NSW visit

To help wildlife and communities affected by fire in New Zealand:

  1. If you find injured wildlife call the Department of Conservation's Emergency Hotline 0800 DOC HOT (0800 362 468).

  2. Put out water for wildlife using shallow bowls with a few sticks or stones on one side so that any small birds can easily escape if they fall in, use clean containers and change the water regularly to keep it fresh.

  3. Ensure you know what to do if you see a fire for your safety and the safety of others.

If you are interested in helping your community be more resilient, Fire and Emergency NZ are currently calling for nominations from individuals keen to join new Local Advisory Committee's around the country, nominations closed end January 2020.


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