Australia is burning with over 6.3 million hectares nationally, fires in East Gippsland covering more than 900,000 hectares. With this growing devastation, it’s not only the deaths of animals but the removal of their native habitat that is cause for concern. It has been estimated that the national death toll of Australian animals has already surpassed a billion according to Chris Dickman, a biodiversity expert at the University of Sydney.
This figure is based on a 2007 report for the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) on the impacts of land clearing on Australian wildlife in New South Wales (NSW). With native wildlife and farm animals among the fatalities, there is also a concern for the endangered species within the impact zones. “The fires will have killed millions of animals … mammals, birds, reptiles,” Wildlife Victoria boss Megan Davidson told AAP.
It’s not just the larger animals that are being killed though, many bird species and insects under permanent threat. As the fires continue to burn, there are more animals who will be without habitat and have the potential to die from starvation and heat stress as they try to find food and water to survive.
Who is Wildlife Victoria?
Wildlife Victoria has been operating for 30 years in conjunction with the community to provide a Wildlife Emergency Response service. The Wildlife Emergency Response Service rely on notifications from the public about sick, injured and orphaned animals and assist with their trained volunteers. This service is an extensive state-wide (Victoria) network of rescue and transport volunteers, veterinarians, and licenced carers and shelters who assist in rehabilitation and release.
How To Help Wildlife Victoria
A statement on Wildlife Victoria’s website says ‘We are unable to accept or train any new volunteers at this time.’ meaning the very best possible way to help right now is through monetary donations.
If you have time to give, think about the different ways you can raise funds. Run a vegan bake sale, host a movie night, auction yourself off for dinner. There is an abundance of opportunities to raise funds for this cause, which is desperately needed.
How To Help Wildlife Directly
- Tie Fruit Kebab to trees, using thick wire. This is great for flying foxes who are without food sources.
- Fruit tree owners should remove netting to ensure their produce is shared.
- Keep your dogs and cats inside at night.
- Place small water containers outdoors, but be sure to place larger rocks in the water so that insects and smaller animals have something to hold on to, to prevent drowning.
How your donation to Wildlife Victoria will be used to:
- Keep operations running 7 days a week, which is essential at this trying time.
- Support volunteer rescuers and transporters to attend wildlife emergencies in Victoria.
Photo by Kevin Bosc