Australia: Authorities dropping food from helicopters to feed bushfire-ravaged animals

WION Web Team New Delhi, India Jan 18, 2020, 11.14 AM(IST) Edited By: Bharat Sharma

Kangaroos in the Bushfire Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

  • The New South Wales (NWS) government has found a new way to ensure the animals that are seeking shelter remain fed
  • "Operation Rock Wallaby'' is part of a post-fire wildlife recovery programme

As part of the rescue efforts in Australia in the aftermath of Australian bushfires, the New South Wales (NWS) government has found a new way to ensure the animals that are seeking shelter remain fed.

CNN reported that the operation, known as "Operation Rock Wallaby'' is part of a post-fire wildlife recovery programme, as iterated by Matt Kean, the Minister of Energy and Environment.

"The provision of supplementary food is one of the key strategies we are deploying to promote the survival and recovery of endangered species like the brush-tailed rock-wallaby," Kean said. 

Officials claim that over 1,000 kilograms worth of sweet potatoes and carrots have been dropped in the last week.

"Initial fire assessments indicate the habitat of several important brush-tailed rock-wallaby populations was burnt in the recent bushfires. The wallabies typically survive the fire itself, but are then left stranded with limited natural food as the fire takes out the vegetation around their rocky habitat", Kean added.

Image: This photo taken on January 9, 2020 shows a rescued kangaroo being cared for by volunteers of wildlife rescue group WIRES, who are working to save and rehabilitate animals from the months-long bushfire disaster, on the outskirts of Sydney | AFP

The key target of this drop is the brush-tailed rock wallabies. These are marsupials, like kangaroos that live on ''rocky escarpments, granite outcrops, and cliffs'', as per the Australian Department of Environment and Energy. 

Department data added that out of the 15 species in Australia, many can no longer be seen and are now perceived as threatened. They are endangered in New South Wales.

Nearly hundreds of bushfires in Australia have wiped out livelihoods, animals, and infrastructure. The fires were brought under control only very recently.

Kean said, "When we can, we are also setting up cameras to monitor the uptake of the food and the number and variety of animals there."

Over half a billion animals have been affected by the bushfire damage in New South Wales alone.

According to the University of Sydney, millions of animals could be possibly dead. These include birds, reptiles and mammals.

CNN reported that the total number of animals affected by the wildfire damage could be as high as a billion, according to Christopher Dickman, an ecologist at the University of Sydney. 

Image: This photo taken on January 16, 2020 shows an Australian Defence Force helicopter taking off on Kangaroo Island as part of the deployment of 3,000 soldiers to assist in bushfire-affected areas after they ravaged the island off of the south coast of Australia | AFP

The NWS government is planning to continue dropping food until the natural supply of resources like food and water is restored organically. 

In the Australian east coast, thunderstorms are now ravaging the disastrous remains of the bushfires. At one point, there were more than 100 bushfires in the country alone, which were recently brought under control.

International response to the bushfire crisis has contributed to controlling the mega blaze. Recently, specialists from countries like Japan and the United States joined local fire teams to help control the fire.

The Defence Force of New Zealand recently announced the dispatch of more reinforcements from to Australia.

Also read: After bushfires, unprecedented rain floods parts of Australian east coast

(With inputs from agencies)