As we watched raging bushfires burn Australia’s landscape in January 2020, images from the fire captivated us all. We saw pictures of koalas burned form flames, kangaroos fleeing their homes, and wildlife habitats destroyed. It is estimated that close to three billion animals died or were displaced as a result.
Our work is far from over. The threat of future brushfires remains due to the continued impacts of climate change, which is why World Animal Protection continues our critical response today.
While much of the media’s attention has moved on from these fires, World Animal Protection is continuing to support the long-term recovery efforts in the region. In addition to the animal loss, the Australian brushfires underscored the urgent need for disaster preparation for when the next one strikes, which includes animals in the heart of it.
Your support is making a difference in the Australian Bushfires
You helped make real and lasting change happen for suffering animals during the bushfires in Australia in 2019 and 2020. Because of your commitment and belief that every animal deserves a life worth living, World Animal Protection was able to partner with other wildlife rescue groups to find long-term sustainable solutions.
World Animal Protection, along with the help of supporters like you, launched The Australian Bushfires Project to provide support to wildlife rescue groups, inform policy and build community preparedness and resilience to mitigate the risk to animals in future bushfire events. Our response consisted of three key areas:
Recovery: support for small, independent wildlife centers caring for the animals affected by bushfires through the provision of medicines, equipment and technical advice.
Policy: an assessment of Australia’s policies and framework to identify areas where disaster risk reduction and preparedness can be improved at a state and federal level.
Community Engagement: delivery of an engagement and preparedness program to communities and vets in areas vulnerable to bushfires, facilitating knowledge, preparation and collaboration to protect and care for animals in future fire seasons.
Image credit: HUHA
What We Did
While we could not save every animal impacted, World Animal Protection supported the relief efforts of seven small, independent wildlife groups across extensive bushfire devastated areas in New South Wales. Funding was also provided to a wildlife emergency group to assist these seven groups in their rapid response.
This funding enabled wildlife groups to undertake search and rescue activities, wildlife triage, build fencing, construct shelters, establish feed stations in burnt out areas to provide nourishment for surviving wildlife while the bush regenerates, and provide ongoing vet care.
In addition to our rescue work, World Animal Protection also funded important research, submitted policy recommendations for including animals in government disaster planning, and hosted a free community workshop on preparedness in one of the most severely impacted areas, the Blue Mountains.
Our work is far from over. The threat of future brushfires remains due to the continued impacts of climate change, which is why World Animal Protection continues our critical response today. In addition to providing free digital resources for people to use, we are also facilitating emergency planning community sessions, supporting vet professionals to train on how to treat wild animals, and providing additional funding in support of the recovery of rescued animals.
We won’t forget the animals impacted by the brushfires, but will you remember them too?