| Aug 8, 2021
Capacity Building to Preserve Australian Wildlife
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
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.