Aussie Wildlife Recovery & Emergency Preparedness

by NSW Wildlife Information Rescue & Education Service (WIRES)
Aussie Wildlife Recovery & Emergency Preparedness
Aussie Wildlife Recovery & Emergency Preparedness
Aussie Wildlife Recovery & Emergency Preparedness
Aussie Wildlife Recovery & Emergency Preparedness
Aussie Wildlife Recovery & Emergency Preparedness
Aussie Wildlife Recovery & Emergency Preparedness
Aussie Wildlife Recovery & Emergency Preparedness
Aussie Wildlife Recovery & Emergency Preparedness
Aussie Wildlife Recovery & Emergency Preparedness
Aussie Wildlife Recovery & Emergency Preparedness
Aussie Wildlife Recovery & Emergency Preparedness
Aussie Wildlife Recovery & Emergency Preparedness
Rescued Kangaroo joey in care with WIRES
Rescued Kangaroo joey in care with WIRES

Thanks to you, we are continuing to provide support for Australian animals. As we move further into the recovery phase we are collaborating with a broad range of organisations to fund projects that address the impacts of the changed environmental landscape, support the recovery of wildlife habitat and the long-term preservation of native species.

During this stage a key element is building national capacity and enhancing emergency response to reduce the risk to wildlife when future emergencies strike. By forming strong alliances and providing funding for long-term programs we are rolling out numerous projects and programs across Australia.

Some of the key projects in this phase are outlined below:

Professional Veterinary Wildlife Training

Funding has been provided to Vets Beyond Borders to train 50-60 more vets and/or vet nurses to treat wildlife within the next 12 months. This will significantly improve capacity to treat more animals impacted by future emergency events and ongoing environmental changes.

Wildlife Training Grants

In the aftermath of the Summer of 2020 we developed a course to help existing wildlife rescue organisations to recruit and train more volunteers.

Our Training Grants allow members from eligible rescue organisations access to WIRES training for free, allowing them to recruit and train more volunteers in basic wildlife rescue. WIRES has already confirmed support for 525 volunteers across 11 organisations as part of this grant program.

In conjunction with other emergency preparedness plans it is key to increase ongoing rescue and care capacity, to be able to assist more sick, injured and orphaned wildlife on an ongoing basis, and in response to major emergencies.

NSW Rehabilitation Capacity Building

The state of NSW bore the brunt of the 2020 fires with more than 5.5 million hectares destroyed or impacted. Over the coming weeks we will be starting a major project to identify current rehabilitation gaps and identify key facilities and capacity requirements for specific species across the state.

This project will:

  • Map existing facilities to understand current capacity
  • Analyse rescue data to understand regional needs and trends
  • Analyse availability of trained volunteers by species in each region
  • Seek to understand gaps and requirements for optimal capacity and best practice care
  • Improve understanding of local needs, gaps and requirements for prioritising capacity needs 

Wildlife Research Grants Program

Our Wildlife Research Grants Program will be launching in early 2022 in conjunction with the Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales.

The objective of this program is to address the significant knowledge gaps surrounding Australian native species including biology, ecology, and conservation. Recent major ecological tragedies including drought, fires, and floods as well as an ever-growing threatened species list have clearly highlighted the vulnerability of native animals and the need to find effective strategies to mitigate major threats.

Research will focus on habitat and species recovery post emergencies, emergency risk reduction and preparedness, and species conservation.

Koala Health Hub update

The Koala Health Hub (KHH) at the University of Sydney was the recipient of a three-year grant from WIRES. The grant has sustained the KHH and allowed it to respond to a dramatic increase in need for koala care and management following long-term drought, loss of habitat and other significant impacts on their populations.

WIRES and KHH work together to deliver improved health outcomes for koalas and this funding has allowed KHH to implement new initiatives and projects.

One of the recent initiatives is the establishment of ‘’Koalavet’’ an online video forum for koala/wildlife vets across Australia where some of the key topics being covered are:

  • Criteria for triage
  • New approaches to the treatment of chlamydia disease
  • Approaches to the treatment of burns
  • Chlamydia testing and evaluation

Future Plans

The droughts, bushfires and floods of the last two years remind us that our wildlife continues to be significantly challenged by environmental changes and mass habitat reduction. There is still an enormous need for support for threatened species in particular and for building capacity, in volunteer numbers, training, wildlife treatment knowledge, wildlife research and identifying future rehabilitation facility requirements.

Everybody who has contributed to this project is playing an important role in the preservation and ongoing health and welfare of Australia’s very unique and special native animals. Thank you again for your support.


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Imogen-WIRES Emergency Relief Grant Recipient
Imogen-WIRES Emergency Relief Grant Recipient

Your support along with the global interest and compassion for Australian animals continues to provide opportunities to improve the outcomes for our native animals now and in the future.

With the long recovery phase for wildlife and their habitat continuing to evolve we have recently announced the allocation of  Stage 2 plans for the Emergency Fund to help Australian native wildlife after the devastating droughts and bushfires of 2019/2020.

Stage 2 funding is being distributed across the core areas of Rescue, Rehabilitation and Recovery:

  • Supporting the rescue and care of sick, injured, displaced and orphaned animals and increasing national rescue and care capacity

  • Funding projects that address the impacts of the changed environmental landscape and support the recovery of wildlife habitat and the long-term preservation of native species

  • Supporting a national framework to engage volunteers in best practice rescue and rehabilitation of wildlife affected by emergency events and reduce future risk to wildlife

A major aim of the Stage 2 plan is to build national capacity through collaboration and long-term programs;

  • A national grants program will be run over the next five years to support best practise rescue and rehabilitation of wildlife and native species recovery projects.

  • Developing a national network, enhancing state-based systems and improving the structures and support for wildlife rescue and care.

  • Funding for 23 national hubs of our partner Animal Rescue Cooperative (ARC) to fund critical supplies including food, medical needs and the distribution of craft items to support wildlife carers during emergency events

  • Research funding to identify knowledge gaps in habitat conservation and species recovery in the changed landscape, post Black Summer Bushfires

  • Additional projects, programs and partnerships directly supporting species and habitat recovery initiatives and conservation efforts. This will directly address the ongoing impacts of the 2019/2020 emergency events including drought and fire that devastated wildlife populations.

Additional details of specific programs will continue to be announced throughout 2021 and we will be sure to keep you updated through future project reports, without you none of this would be possible and we thank you.

If you would like to learn more about our everyday work rescuing and caring for wildlife and receive inspiring wildlife rescue stories each month, please register to receive our enews via the link below.


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Bandicoot joey in care with WIRES
Bandicoot joey in care with WIRES

When I reflect on the past twelve months it’s hard to believe what the world has endured - it has truly been a year like no other. Extreme weather events, bushfires and COVID-19 have provided the backdrop to major challenges for humanity and the environment across the globe. 

For Australia the devastating impact of ongoing drought and bushfires has left an indelible scar on our country and tragically our wildlife populations. 

However along with these challenges I have never witnessed such a groundswell of interest, care and support for our native animals. People just like you have united in the cause to halt the decline of threatened species, fight habitat destruction and value the role wildlife plays in our national identity. This unprecedented support clearly demonstrates people across Australia and around the world understand our native animals need saving – now. 

I hope this is just the beginning of a new chapter for Australia – one where our wildlife is valued by all levels of our community including those who are in the position of power.  

Thank you so much for being a part of this movement and standing up for Australian wildlife.

It’s unimaginable that an estimated three billion native animals have been killed or displaced by the Summer bushfires, and millions of hectares of land burnt. Unprecedented disasters of this scale require unprecedented collaboration to help wildlife recover which is why we have partnered with leading environmental groups, conservation organisations and universities, to implement programs designed to deliver the best long-term impact for wildlife. 

With the support of generous donors like you, together we have funded:  

  • 64 projects to support the national recovery of wildlife and wildlife habitat. 
  • the planting of over 92,000 plants for habitat revegetation 
  • installation of 1554 nest boxes 
  • long term species recovery and habitat programs, expanding threatened species care and breeding programs 
  • national veterinary vaccination grants to increase veterinary capacity to treat flying-foxes 
  • the building and distribution of $1 million worth of arboreal water stations for native wildlife 
  • the construction and expansion of wildlife hospital extensions and medical fit out costs 
  • bushfire recovery projects to protect over 17 threatened and endangered species including the endangered Northern Bettong and Kangaroo Island Dunnart from extinction 
  • a full-time emergency rescuer out of Currumbin Wildlife Hospital to support the local rehabilitation network, ensuring animals needing urgent rescue attention can be assisted faster 
  • free training for wildlife rescue groups across the country so that they can implement best practice response and care for wildlife 

And that’s just the start, a lot of recovery work is well underway, and though progress has been significantly impacted by COVID-19, we adapted quickly and continue to provide rescue support 24/7, 365 days a year. 

We are focused on increasing our capacity to rescue and care for more wildlife on an ongoing basis and improving emergency preparedness to better respond to major wildlife emergencies like the Black Summer Bushfires. Another priority focus is recovery, as without healthy, sustainable habitat and wild species populations, the animals we rescue and rehabilitate have nowhere safe to be released. Simply put, without the wild, there is no future for wildlife. 

The lead up to Christmas is always our busiest time of year for rescues, with carers looking after many sick, injured and often orphaned animals. With your ongoing support it is our privilege to keep working to ensure native animals can be returned to the wild now and in the future.  

We have done a lot this year and there is a lot more planned for 2021. Thank you for all that you have done to assist wildlife. We are deeply grateful for your support and wish you and your loved ones a safe and happy holiday season. 

Warm regards, 
Leanne Taylor 

P.S. Without you, none of this is possible. If you are able to give a gift to support the ongoing rescue, rehabilitation and recovery of wildlife, please donate today. Our bushfire projects are just one part of our work, but we have many ongoing projects that need funding. In October alone we received over 21,000 calls for help. Thank you.


Thank you from the whole WIRES team
Thank you from the whole WIRES team
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Bushfire Recovery Programs-Koala
Bushfire Recovery Programs-Koala

We hope you are staying safe and well during these challenging COVID-19 times. While this pandemic has impacted some of our operating procedures, WIRES continues to focus on bushfire recovery and using your donations to support projects that help our wildlife. The summer of bushfires in Australia have dominated our work for the last seven months and continue to do so.

The needs of our native animals are huge, as we face significant numbers of species requiring urgent intervention and one of the highest mammal extinction rates of any country in the world. Your donation is going towards immediate and long-term solutions to these issues.   

Following is an update on some major projects we have been developing in partnership with Australia’s leading animal conservation and environmental groups and universities. Without the donations we have received from around the world these important initiatives would not be possible, and this is just the beginning of what we have planned.

I thank you again for your generosity. As we implement ongoing recovery plans and increase rescue and care capacity for native animals in preparation for the coming spring and summer we will keep you updated. 

We have included some details on nine projects below.


Threatened species programs – over $3.5 million

WIRES is committed to restoring native wildlife populations and has developed important new partnerships to address the alarming number of native animals facing significant population decline.

Projects include:

  • Australian Wildlife Conservancy partnership is focused on saving the Kangaroo Island Dunnart and Northern Bettong from extinction and also includes bushfire recovery programs.  
  • Koala Health Hub (School of Veterinary Science, University of Sydney) is a three-year grant to support koala care, management and research. This grant will allow it to respond to an increasing need for koala care and management following recent bushfire and drought.


Wildlife care facilities and habitat protection - over $2.5 million

WIRES is helping community groups across the country to establish local programs that support existing wildlife populations in challenging and ever-changing environments.

Projects include:

  • WIRES Landcare Australia Wildlife Relief and Recovery Grants - 64 environmental groups across the country received grants to support the recovery of wildlife habitats impacted by bushfire and drought. This includes rainforest revegetation, installation of nest boxes, feeding programs for endangered wildlife, management of invasive weeds, erosion control and protection of waterways and aquatic habitats.
  • Water for Wildlife - A collaboration between WIRES, the University of Sydney, WWF Australia, Reece, Wildsip and other partners to build and distribute 800 Tree Troff ® drink stations in bushfire and drought affected areas.
  • Drink Station Project - WIRES collaborated with Greater Sydney Local Land Services, local councils, Landcare/Bushcare groups, IFAW and NPWS to get emergency water stations installed for native wildlife species in response to extreme drought and fires. WIRES provided 120 automatic-filling drinking bowls to provide water for wildlife in semi-remote locations


Funding for animal rescue and care needs – over $5 million  

Projects include:

  • Wildlife Emergency Relief Fund - In January WIRES established an emergency “Wildlife Relief Fund’ to support non-WIRES frontline wildlife rescue organisations. Over $2million was distributed to 223 groups and registered carers across the country to provide immediate assistance.
  • Veterinary Relief Fund - In January WIRES established a fund to support vets and specialist wildlife veterinary practices treating animals that have been affected during the bushfire crisis and drought.  
  • Animal Rescue Cooperative - WIRES supported Animal Rescue Cooperative (ARC) in feeding thousands of native animals affected by the fires and drought. WIRES continues to work with ARC to deliver hay, joey formula, birdseed, macropod pellets and fresh vegetables to wildlife carers. With ARC's extensive network of volunteers and transport, we have been able to deliver these items along with medical supplies, towels, knitted pouches and blankets to wildlife carers.
  • Currumbin Wildlife Hospital, Queensland - WIRES is funding the construction to help build capacity to meet the increasing numbers of animal patients at Currumbin Wildlife Hospital. We will also be supporting ongoing emergency rescue assistance with a dedicated emergency rescue responder and emergency vehicle based at Currumbin to improve rescue response capability.


As we head into the Australian Spring/Summer season the number of calls for help increases. Our Rescue Line receives more than 170,000 calls for help each year and the next 3-6 months are our busiest. Spring is breeding season and our volunteers are inundated with orphaned wombat, possum, kangaroo and wallaby joeys as well as the chicks of the many amazing native birds in our country.

If you would like to support our ongoing work rescuing wildlife and getting them back to the wild where they belong please share and support our project -  Australian wildlife from rescue to release

Habitat Protection-Spotted-tailed Quoll
Habitat Protection-Spotted-tailed Quoll
Funding animal rescue and care-kangaroo joeys
Funding animal rescue and care-kangaroo joeys


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Nellie and Declan-Bushfire Evacuees growing up
Nellie and Declan-Bushfire Evacuees growing up

You are a very valued member of the WIRES community and we are thinking of you at this difficult time and hope you, your family and loved ones are keeping safe and well. 

As always WIRES continues to prioritise the rescue and care of wildlife in distress. During the long and catastrophic bushfire season, we were immersed in the crisis and in the provision of immediate rescue and care for the many animals suffering burns and habitat loss. 

Nellie and Declan - Orphaned Wombat Joeys

Even as the bushfires raged and our volunteers began search and rescue activities there were already many animals in our care and possibly none more endearing than Nellie and Declan, two orphaned wombat joeys.

Nellie and Declan were in care with WIRES volunteers before the fires hit the area. When the fire began threatening local communities they had to be evacuated as the fires approached their carers homes.

Nellie spent one very long night snuggled in her pouch on the beach, along with her carer and hundreds of frightened local residents, as the fire approached.

Both Nellie and Declan came through unscathed and we are pleased to report they are still doing well and growing up fast. 
Learn more about wombats.

Bushfire Relief and Recovery Update

Thanks to you we have spent recent months getting much-needed emergency funds out to, not only our own 3,000 WIRES volunteers, but also to a further 6,247 wildlife carers. WIRES has provided funding for 240 projects through our Emergency Relief Grants to rescue groups and licensed carers across Australia. Being in a position to be able to help wildlife and volunteer carers in all Australian states and territories has been a huge privilege.

As you can see in the graph below these grants have funded food, water, vital rescue and care equipment, medical costs and also enabled the vital rebuilding of enclosures lost in the fires. This response has allowed many dedicated rescue groups to focus on animal rescue and care at a time when it was most needed.

In addition to continuing to rescue wildlife, WIRES is now also working with a wide range of groups to ensure the best possible longer-term outcomes for our wildlife. You have made it possible for us to collaborate and provide funding for partners like; the Animal Rescue Collective (ARC) who are providing a constant supply of food and goods to wildlife carers, with Landcare Australia who have expertise in habitat and land recovery and with veterinary clinical teams to provide the best treatment advice to wildlife volunteers for the wildlife in their care. 

These projects would not have been possible without your support and will ensure Australia's native species are given the best chance to thrive in a post-bushfire world. We look forward to sharing more details about these initiatives with you.

Thank you for your ongoing support and for being a valued member of the WIRES community.

If you have not found us already we would love you to register to receive our monthly enews for more inspiring wildlife stories.

Yours sincerely,
Dianne Browning
WIRES Digital Communications Manager

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Organization Information

NSW Wildlife Information Rescue & Education Service (WIRES)

Location: Warringah Mall - Australia
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @WIRES_NSW
Project Leader:
Dianne Browning
Warringah Mall, NSW Australia
$1,455,935 raised of $2,000,000 goal
1,249 donations
$544,065 to go
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