Over the past three months, volunteers from the native animal rescue organisation WIRES have been releasing a range of species back to the wild that were decimated by the October bushfires in NSW.
“WIRES is hopeful that species recovery is possible thanks to the work of its volunteers and evidence that habitat and food supply for native animals is slowly returning,” said Leanne Taylor, general manager of WIRES.
“When the fires stopped burning, and the media switched off its cameras; that’s when WIRES volunteers were working hard to save the lives of native animals suffering from burns, smoke inhalation and other injuries.
“Many animals came into care during bushfires, and many more emerged from the fire ground in the weeks after the disaster in search of food. While not all survived the trauma, we are pleased to report we have released a number of possums, snakes, reptiles and birds back to the natural environment,” said Ms Taylor. After fires ripped through the Blue Mountains, a six-year old female brush-tailed possum and her joey suffering from smoke inhalation came into the care of WIRES Blue Mountains volunteer Shannon King.
“Their future is looking good as there are still big eucalypts out there to feed on. Hopefully the mother will be able to teach her 350gm growing baby how to get food and how to eat,” said Ms King.
“A mother and her joey returning to the wild gives us great hope for the species. We need these animals repopulating as important habitat grows back and restores.
“This is why we volunteers are here, to get native animals cared for, rehabilitated and back out there in the wild where they belong,” she said.
Ms King faced having to evacuate her own home with animals in care during the fires and took numerous brush-tailed possums, ring-tailed possums, a green tree snake and diamond python into care during the crisis.
“We are seeing a return of important species in the food chain such as frogs and insects and new growth in feed trees and grasses which means more of the animals that have been in longer-term care will be able to be released,” said Ms Taylor.
WIRES volunteers have reported grow back is occurring on eucalyptus and other native trees that provide both food and shelter for various species such as the koala, gliders and possums.
“The public and corporate support during the bushfires was overwhelming and allowed us to supply adequate food, medical supplies and equipment for animals in need,” said Ms Taylor.
To make a donation go to www.wires.org.au or phone (02) 8977 3396. All donations over $2 are tax-deductible.