Lessons learned from wildlife recovery group's final report

The need need for more effective leadership from state agencies is one of the key findings from a report into wildlife recovery following bushfires.

Councillors received the final report from the Wildlife Recovery Mayoral Reference Working Group (WRMRWG) at the March 30 council meeting.

Meeting on three occasions, the WRMRWG advised council and other state agencies and wildlife groups on post-fire wildlife recovery and has identified ways for improving support responses to future fire and natural disaster events.

"The working group was established in February 2020 following the unprecedented bushfires that burnt a significant part of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, with devastating impacts on wildlife and biodiversity," said Blue Mountains mayor Mark Greenhill.

A ringtail possum rescued from the eaves of a Blackheath house in the December 2019 bushfires.

A ringtail possum rescued from the eaves of a Blackheath house in the December 2019 bushfires.

"I would like to thank Cr Shae Foenander for the fantastic job she did in chairing the committee."

The group brought together traditional owners, land management agencies, conservation and wildlife support groups, animal welfare NGOs, wildlife veterinarians, and scientists.

The WRMRWG identified key operational issues including the need for more effective leadership and guidance from state agencies for wildlife support; a co-ordinated and consistent approach between wildlife support groups, NGOs and state agencies; and dedicated resources deployed by state agencies for communicating information and public advice.

Other key findings were the need for effective pest control of feral predators and feral herbivores in the post-fire period and the promotion of responsible pet ownership. These will inform the development of council's biodiversity strategy and vertebrate pest management plan.

The lead NSW agency for wildlife, the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) commenced a similar process, with the aim of developing state-wide support and guidelines for wildlife recovery, which corroborated and supported many of the critical operational issues identified by the WRMRWG.

"We thank all the participants who contributed their time and expertise to the WRMRWG and their dedication in caring for the Blue Mountains region's unique wildlife," said Cr Greenhill.

"We will take these important findings into account to ensure we protect our precious wildlife and environment in the future."