14 wildlife groups across NSW will receive much needed financial support this week as volunteers report being ‘overwhelmed by bushfire affected animals’. The Wildlife Heroes Bushfire Emergency Fund 2019 will help carers buy first aid supplies, medicine, animal food, protective equipment and fuel.
Grant recipients include Sydney Metropolitan Wildlife Services, Northern Rivers Wildlife Carers, Wildcare Queanbeyan, and Port Stephens Koalas.
“This season’s early bushfires and the ongoing drought represent an unprecedented threat to wildlife,” says Ian Darbyshire, CEO of the Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife (FNPW) who are administering the Bushfire Emergency Fund on behalf on the NSW Government.“These grants will provide immediate assistance to the dedicated rescue groups and animal hospitals who volunteer their time saving and rehabilitating the hundreds of birds and animals impacted by bushfire.”
Grant applications were jointly assessed by FNPW and the NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service.
Quote from grant recipient Sue Swain, Care Coordinator, Port Stephens Koalas: “The treatment of burnt koalas is the most confronting type of home care. You find yourself crying as you do this treatment. You spend all your waking hours either doing their treatment or thinking of ways to do it so it is easier for the koala. And while you are treating the burnt ones the others keep coming, dog attacks, car hits and Chlamydia cases. I have been doing his for over 15 years now and have cared for close to 700 koalas. Why? I ask myself that question all the time and the only reason I can come up with is, “I have to, they need help!”
FNPW is also calling on individuals and businesses to supplement the grants by donating to its Wildlife Heroes appeal. “Wildlife volunteers take time off work and away from families to visit bushfire-ravaged areas. They treat animals large and small for burns, pain, smoke inhalation and dehydration, andtake stressed and traumatised wildlife into their homes to rest and recover,” said Mr Darbyshire.
“Funds raised by our appeal will be directed towards providing financial assistance to those groups most impacted by the fires through targeted funding for first aid and equipment for injured animals, as well as providing support for wildlife volunteers through this difficult time,” added Ian.
The Wildlife Heroes Bushfire Emergency Fund 2019 has been supported by the New South Wales Government’s Environmental Trust.
Photography by Doug Gimesy.