Reports now estimate 800 million native animals affected by Australia's bushfire crisis in NSW and more than one billion nationally, with many more injured or displaced and facing a tough time ahead while food resources are low and predators have greater opportunities to prey on native species whose habitats have been destroyed.
Many ZAA member zoos and wildlife parks run wildlife hospitals, rescue and rehabilitation facilities and those in or near fire affected areas are facing an overwhelming number of native animals requiring both short and long-term support.
The Zoo and Aquarium Association (ZAA) is coordinating a collaborative response to the emerging rescue and rehabilitation needs of affected wildlife. This will allow us to bring together the significant expertise, resources, equipment and facilities across our membership to help native animals in the crisis affected areas.
The effects of this crisis on wildlife and their destroyed habitats is going to require a long-term approach so the ZAA fire and drought response will also consider what’s needed in years ahead to rehabilitate our surviving native wildlife and ensure that we can return them to livable habitats.
This approach aims to execute three key phases:
Phase one - placing rescued native animals with appropriate facilities and expert care for treatment, ongoing rehabilitation and preparation to return to the wild.
Phase two – assessing the impacts on wildlife and habitat to understand where rehabilitation efforts are most needed.
Phase three – medium and long-term recovery efforts to return healthy animals to regenerated habitats and revive and sustain populations of wildlife in affected areas.
You can help our wildlife rescue efforts by contributing to the ZAA Wildlife Conservation Fund (WCF). The funds raised will be allocated by the Wildlife Conservation Committee appropriately to focus on:
- Rescue and rehabilitation of drought and fire-affected Australian native wildlife with the specific end-goal of returning healthy rehabilitated animals back to the wild;
- Restoration, rehabilitation and ongoing care and resilience improvement of drought and fire-affected Australian native habitats;
- Science and research geared toward reassessing species status, habitat regeneration and other science-related projects;
- Activities that continue to support or help establish federal and/or state endorsed, targeted breed for release conservation activities.
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