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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

Your dedicated support is helping us build the capacity of wildlife rescue and rehabilitation across Australia to safeguard our most vulnerable native species and populations. 

One particular area requiring urgent support has been on the island of Tasmania, where thousands of native animals need urgent rescue and rehabilitation assistance every year 

To help provide more highly trained wildlife rehabilitators across the state, your support has assisted WIRES to work closely with Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary, and The Department of Natural Resources and Environment Tasmania to launch new comprehensive training programs for wildlife rehabilitators, and we are assisting with the daily coordination and placement of rescued native animals needing care.  

The step before expert rehabilitation and care, of course, is to make sure distressed native animals are rescued quickly and receive the best possible triage for the strongest chance of survival.   

To that end, in October 2020 WIRES established our Tasmanian-based Emergency Response Team (ERT). These highly skilled, full time Emergency Responders are trained in the rescue and care of all Tasmanian species,including the most venomous and are equipped with an all-terrain Wildlife Ambulance so they can travel long distances to transport sick, injured, and orphaned wildlife to vets,and onto rehabilitation and care. 

Each Wildlife Ambulance is fully equipped with rescue and medical equipment including incubators, oxygen concentrator units, heat pads, medical supplies and specialist formulas for orphaned infants needing acute care. 

Our Emergency Response Team in Tasmania has already responded to more than 1000 critical’ Tasmanian rescues since its launch, with numbers rising significantly each year. In the first 5 months of 2023 our ERT across North and South Tasmania had already responded to 488 native animals requiring urgent assistance, with many being classified as endangered or critically endangered  

 An example of just one of the endangered native animals requiring urgent assistance is the Tasmanian Devil joey below.  

Found late at night in Northern Tasmania, his mother likely killed by a car, he was rescued by our Emergency Responder Megan and provided vital fluids and critical care in our Wildlife Ambulance.  

Megan then transported the revived joey to a local wildlife carer where he’s now learning all the skills he’ll need for an eventual life in the wild.As a healthy young male, his isvital to the genetic viability of his now endangered species.  

Expanding our Emergency Response Teams Across Australia. 

Thanks to your support, WIRES now has seven fully equipped Wildlife Ambulances, and our Emergency Response Teams are expanding across NSW, Tasmania and Southern Queensland 

These teams are supported by more than 100 fully trained volunteers, who are also extensively trained and ready to be deployed during emergency events.In addition to very specific species training our Emergency Response Teams complete training in bushfire and flood safety, emergency response,incident managementandfirst aid. 

All members have specialised skills and can be deployed across a range of incidents, from a routine, small-scale operation, right through to a large-scale incident involving a widespread impact, such as flooding and bushfires  

They are able to respond to events within their own regional areas as well as in surrounding areas, with their key operational activities including search and rescue, recovery of wildlife, basic animal first aid and the transportation of wildlife to vets, triage centres and carers.  

With more than 1,000 native species in Australia threatened with extinction, our Emergency Response Teams are not just vital in times of disaster, but every single day and night of the yearWe are extremely grateful for your role in making sure they are fully equipped, to support the long term survival of Australia’s wildlife. 

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Your donations are helping to restore and reconnect Australian habitat so surviving wildlife populations can thrive in safety. 

One of the most important ways we can protect surviving wildlife is to restore and regenerate their natural habitat. Reconnecting wildlife corridors is particularly vital because it enables species to roam and forage safely, recolonising habitat and finding suitable mates.

WIRES has partnered with the Great Eastern Ranges to help fund the restoration and regeneration of critical wildlife habitat in areas that suffered significantly in the 2020 Black Summer Bushfires.

The project is supporting over 22 species of wildlife including koalas, greater gliders, spotted-tail quolls, masked owls and grey-headed flying-foxes. It includes installing nest boxes to replace natural tree hollows that have disappeared, huge replanting efforts of nectar producing shrubs, and restoring landscapes so they are more resilient to future climate disasters.

The project includes carefully monitoring the recovery of wildlife populations and their habitats, and working with traditional owners, local landowners and community groups to share knowledge and build local capacity. A key focus is also on restoring locations that can serve as suitable release sites for rehabilitated wildlife.

It’s a massive project with a big vision - thanks to your support!

In other exciting news- our Wildlife Ambulance fleet will soon be expanding across three regional areas in Australia. Each Wildlife Ambulance is equipped with mobile incubators, oxygen units, water tanks, specialist capture and release equipment, emergency lights and vavigation units, which are vitally important when responding to calls for injured wildlife in remote areas. Since its launch our full time Emergency Response Teams, each with a fully equipped wildlife ambulance, have performed almost 10,000 critical rescues- and the numbers grow daily. Thank you so much for helping us establish this vital lifeline for Australian wildlife.

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Following Australia's devastating flood crisis which continues to cause devastation across vast areas, here is a summary of the Disaster Response and Recovery we deployed.

Preparation and Initial Relief 

Within days of the initial floods in March 2022, WIRES had contacted all of our Wildlife Carers across flood impacted areas and 20 external wildlife groups  

Over a six-week period, we assisted wildlife carers spanning two states. Many carers were overwhelmed with rescue requests, had lost equipment and wildlife food in the floods and did not have finances available to replace what they urgently needed.  

Emergency Response in action 

Two Emergency Responders with two fully equipped Wildlife Ambulances were deployed to the most affected regions, to assist with emergency flood recovery. In addition, two Responders each equipped with a Wildlife Ambulance assisted with flood efforts in Sydney.

Their key role was to assist with the most critical rescues, and to transport and translocate rescued native animals, taking pressure off local carers and vet clinics so they could focus on recovery. 

Our Head Office Incident Management Team was activated to assist with the huge coordination of flood rescue effortsAll teams worked closely to prioritise and respond to incoming flood rescue calls

Caring for Rescued Wildlife 

We’ll never know how many native animals were drowned in this ongoing flood crisis, but burrow and ground dwelling animals were particularly affected, and WIRES had record numbers of wombats in care. We also had significant numbers of waterlogged birds, and an increase in orphans across many species. 

Sometimes, native animals were simply displaced through flooding and needed time to dry out, rest and recuperate. 

We're committed to building the capacity of Wildlife Emergency Response and Recovery across Austraia and we thank you for all you've helped us do, and for all that we are now doing, to secure the survival of our native animals.

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Matty the koala in care
Matty the koala in care

Your support is enabling critical help for koalas  

Every time a displaced, injured or sick koala is reported to our Wildlife Rescue Office we send out a Critical Alert so help can reach them without delay. With our koala populations besieged by habitat loss, increased traffic and the terrible impacts of chlamydia, we are now sending critical koala alerts almost every day and have assisted more than 650 desperate koalas in the past year. 

One such koala was Matty (pictured above), who was discovered in a back garden in Sydney last month. With his habitat all but gone, we believe the young koala was frightened by a dog and had tried to escape by scrambling over a fence and into the chimney of a BBQ, where he was discovered by a concerned member of the public.  

This little koala was one of the lucky ones. Whilst he was quite small for his suspected age (likely the result of a lack of available food trees) he is now recuperating with his WIRES carer and will hopefully be released back into protected habitat soon.  


Safe-guarding short-tailed Shearwaters on Philip Island  

Phillip Island in the state of Victoria is home to a colony of over a million native short-tailed shearwaters. This migratory bird is highly vulnerable to the impacts of global climate change and is in steady decline.   

On Philip Island they have an additional problem. Every year as young fledglings prepare for their first flight, they often make their way onto roads and are hit by cars.    

To mitigate this tragedy WIRES has contributed more than $49,800 as part of our National Grants Program to help rangers safeguard the population, particularly during the all-important fledgling season. The Rangers play a huge role in protecting these birds by moving them off the roads, and by making sure the community is aware of the birds through signage, slower speed limits and by encouraging ‘lights off’ in homes and businesses because the birds are often disorientated by light pollution. 

In the coming weeks, hundreds of fledging shearwaters will be leaving their burrows to make their first 15,000 km migration north to join their parents on the Aleutian Islands off the coast of Alaska. They will return to the Southern hemisphere within 5-7 years where they’ll contribute to the growing colony on Phillip Island. It takes a community to protect a highly vulnerable bird species! 


An ongoing food source for our native wildlife   

As part of a joint project with a local Council in the state of New South Wales, WIRES volunteers have been planting trees in a bid to provide local wildlife with an ongoing food source (pictured below). Council staff and WIRES volunteers recently planted over 300 native trees, which will soon provide vital nourishment to the injured and sick native animals in WIRES’ care. Increased development is causing a severe loss of habitat and food sources for our native wildlife so this team effort is a much-needed initiative. Let’s hope the idea takes off with other local councils!   

This is your work in action through supporting the Aussie Wildlife Recovery & Emergency Preparedness project - on behalf of the 130,000 native animals you helped us assist in the last year, thank you!

WIRES volunteers planted over 300 native trees
WIRES volunteers planted over 300 native trees


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Dear Friend,  

Throughout late February and the month of March, many parts of the east coast of Australia were in the grips of catastrophic floods. These floods have been unprecedented in their scale, and the repercussions on communities, the environment and our wildlife have been devastating. These instances are what our Emergency Preparedness project is for, and why your support is so vital.

There have been many instances where wildlife has been rescued. Like this swamp wallaby pulled from water by a member of the public, Owen is now in care with another orphaned joey. With time he will hopefully be released back into his natural habitat. Others were sadly not so lucky.  

These kinds of catastrophic weather events are what we try our best to be prepared for, with these events only becoming more frequent in the coming years.  

WIRES Emergency Flood Response  

During the floods  

WIRES rapidly made contact with volunteers and rescue groups across the impacted areas to see how they were and find out what assistance may be needed for impacted wildlife.  

Our rescue teams conducted search and rescue operations across flood affected districts where water had receded, and areas were safe to access. Our Emergency Response Van was active in search and rescue activities, attending critical rescues, providing vital advice, and supporting our thousands of volunteers as they care for sick, injured, and displaced wildlife  

Exhausted seabirds, drenched possums, orphaned wallaby's and kangaroo joeys, were just a few rescued by our Emergency Response Van and volunteers. We ordered and coordinated the delivery of support food for wildlife that were isolated or surrounded by water.  

In some areas our very experienced volunteers assisted in vet clinics to triage native animals as vets were cut off from their clinics  

We worked with local emergency support partners to ensure that volunteers and impacted wildlife got access to essential provisions as quickly as possible.  

This is the work we do, day in, day out, for Australia's vulnerable wildlife.  

Post-Flood recovery  

As the floods recede and access becomes possible, our teams have continued to reach into flood affected areas to rescue native animals in desperate need.  

Vital supplies, including equipment, medical kits, foods and supplements are now hitting the ground, and our fully equipped emergency rescue vans are conducting search and rescue missions across flood impacted areas.  

WIRES Rescue Office continues to operate 24/7 and our dedicated staff are managing floods calls from the community, vets and volunteers. WIRES have received 4,932 calls to our Emergency Rescue line since 1st March. We believe this is only a fraction of the real impact on wildlife as mobile reception in flood areas is still limited.  

We have two full-time Emergency Responders attending urgent rescues, collecting fruit from the supermarket Woolworths for wildlife in need, and dropping off supplies to volunteers.  

In addition to our network of volunteer carers, WIRES has been distributing urgent items to external wildlife rescue organisations and groups, thanks to the Woolworths WIRES Food for Wildlife Program  

We’re also continuing to work with our partner Animal Rescue Cooperative (ARC), which mobilised quickly after floods hit. WIRES and ARC are providing wildlife food, cleaning products, rescue and care equipment, medical supplies and clean water to those in need.  

Research Grant  

On a brighter note, WIRES has announced it will fund a $1.5 million wildlife research grants program to be launched early 2022. This program will be run in-conjunction with the Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales (RSZ NSW).  

The objective of the WIRES RSZ Wildlife Research Grants 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.  

Focus of research will cover habitat and species recovery post emergencies, emergency risk reduction and preparedness, and species conservation.  

Looking Foward 

It's apparent that after the disastrous Black Summer fires, drought and now floods, Australian wildlife needs our help more than ever, and will continue doing so. 

We are sincerely grateful to the members of the public who've taken the time to call WIRES when they've encountered sick, injured and orphaned native animals - and for those who are helping in so many other ways.  

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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Organization Information

NSW Wildlife Information Rescue & Education Service (WIRES)

Location: Brookvale, NSW - Australia
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @WIRESWildlife
Project Leader:
Frances Parkinson
Warringah Mall , NSW Australia
$1,489,196 raised of $2,000,000 goal
1,748 donations
$510,804 to go
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