Help at hand for native animals after the bushfires

Helping injured and hungry native animals displaced by the bushfires has been a priority for many Blue Mountains residents, with scores of groups forming to do what they can.

Blue Mountains WIRES volunteers, assisted by residents, have set up water and feed stations in Bell, Clarence, Bilpin, Mt Wilson, Mt Hay, Blackheath, Mt Victoria and Wentworth Falls, in the bush corridors at the edges of burnt areas.

Tracy Burgess, a WIRES volunteer and carer from Katoomba, said a lot of locals were committed to helping the native animals and were reporting back to her excitedly when they discovered food had been eaten.

"The community is really engaged in the idea of putting out food," she said.

"There's been a lot of fear with this going on for so long ... This kind of putting up food gives them some control back."

She was grateful for food donations from Todarellos, and Coles and Woolworths in Katoomba and Leura. Anyone wanting to help out with feed and water stations can email Ms Burgess at: prudie1971@me.com.

WIRES volunteers have also been doing daily "black walks" through burnt out areas to rescue injured animals.

"We're finding through the townships along the Bells Line of Road, wallabies and kangaroos with burnt feet and tails," Ms Burgess said.

"A lot of the smaller animals just died. The wallabies and kangaroos got out, but were burnt on their feet."

She has 15 possums in her care, mostly juveniles.

Blue Mountains-based lesbian bushwalking group Bush Lemons has installed four water and feed stations for native animals in Blackheath and two at Mt Hay Road in Leura, in co-ordination with the Animal Rescue Co-operative.

"We ensured the cut vegies and fruit were in containers surrounded by water to stop the ants getting to them first, we engineered some wondrous constructions to help animals reach items in trees, strew around seed and hay, put stones and branches in the water so no little animals could be endangered," said Bush Lemons leader Jocelyn Williams.

They are checking and re-stocking the stations every second day.

And further down the Blue Mountains, Tish Kerry, firefighter Kevin O'Reilly and Lower Mountains Men's Shed members have made 50 animal water stations for fire and drought-affected areas, with materials donated by Plumbers' Supplies Co-operative and rope from Winmalee residents.

With knowledge shared by the not-for-profit group Arid Recovery that runs a wildlife reserve in South Australia, the water stations have now been installed or distributed to locals and wildlife groups in Bilpin, Mountain Lagoon, Mt Wilson, Clarence, Dargan, Lithgow, Kanimbla and Woodford, with Capertee to come.

University of Sydney Professor Chris Dickman from the faculty of Science, has estimated more than 800 million animals have been killed in bushfires in NSW, with a national impact of more than one billion animals.

Animals that survive the fires in the first instance by fleeing or going underground will re-emerge into areas that don't have the resources to support them. Others will fall victim to introduced predators such as feral cats and red foxes, Prof Dickman said.

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