Update: 4th March 2014
Despite the limited media coverage vast tracts of Victoria continue to burn. Meanwhile the arduous job of cleaning up after those fires which have been controlled or declared safe continues. Volunteer groups across the state have been working tirelessly to rescue as many animals as possible in areas where they can gain access. Unfortunately many areas remain off limits.
Wildlife Victoria continues to liaise with the Department of Environment & Primary Industries (DEPI) and their regional offices regarding the state of ongoing fires with a view to supporting volunteers and volunteer groups in their vicinity when safe to do so.
Key areas remain:
The Macedon Ranges Wildlife Network and other local volunteers remain extremely active in this area. Many animals have been taken into care and unfortunately many more have unfortunately needed to be euthanased. While this unenviable task continues Wildlife Victoria is helping to distribute donated feed to sustain wildlife populations in the absence of natural food sources.
Far East Gippsland Area
Though largely ignored by the press the largest fire complex in Gippsland, effecting the Snowy River and Errinundra National Parks, and surrounding towns, continues to burn and has now destroyed more than 165,000 ha! A local shelter operator and CFA volunteer, Sharon Small described the Snowy River National Park from Orbost up to Bonang as “… it’s all gone”. Fortunately she and other local shelters in the Goongerah area have been spared. It is unlikely that wildlife rescuers will gain access to this area soon. However, Wildlife Victoria is keeping in close contact with local volunteers and DEPI staff in the hope of providing support when possible.
Due to the greater impact on human health this fire has been in the news. A large fire at the Hazelwood Mine continues to burn out of control and depending on whom you listen to may continue for weeks or months. Air pollution has become an increasing issue for humans and local wildlife alike. Wildlife Victoria asks everyone to be vigilant to the effects of this disaster on local fauna and contact us if assistance is required.
Grampians Northern Complex
Fortunately this fire has now been controlled but not before more than 55,000 ha of mainly high biodiversity value national park was destroyed. In conjunction with DEPI, BADGAR and local volunteers are continuing their exhausting rescue work in rugged country. Sadly many animals have still had to be humanely euthanased to end their suffering. Wildlife Victoria will keep in contact with local volunteers to assist if required.
Big Desert/Wyperfeld National Park Area
Despite the size of the fires in this region (approx. 100,000ha) little information has filtered through from the area due to its remoteness. Large areas of the Big Desert and Wyperfeld National Park have been affected and Wildlife Victoria encourages anyone with more information to contact us as we continue to seek a clear understanding of the impact on the ground from DEPI and local authorities.
A little over 9000ha, this fire around Wunghnu and Numurkah in the State’s north is now controlled. Local shelters and volunteers have been very proactive in their response and have managed to help the indigenous wildlife in less than ideal conditions. Wildlife Victoria is continuing to support these great rescue efforts.
Volunteers in need of help are asked to contact Wildlife Victoria.
Update: 20th February 2014
As most people will be aware, Victoria has recently experienced extreme fire events state-wide. Wildlife Victoria has been contacting volunteers within the vicinity of the main affected areas to offer assistance with food and supplies necessary for the longer term care effort required for wildlife. We are also in close contact with the Department of Environment & Primary Industries (DEPI) and their regional offices regarding the state of the fires.
The local volunteer rescuers and shelters are doing a great job under trying circumstances and we thank them very much for their effort. Many locations throughout the State have been affected with six key areas:
Closest to Melbourne this large fire has now been controlled. Though it has mainly affected private land much of the southern section around Darraweit Guim is forested and the effect on wildlife has been extreme. The Macedon Ranges Wildlife Network and local wildlife shelters are working hard in affected areas to save as many animals as possible. Wildlife Victoria will work with volunteers to support the considerable ongoing effort.
Far East Gippsland Area
Gippsland has experienced a very large number of fires recently with key centres around Morwell, Buchan and a huge complex of fires covering more than 150,000 ha affecting the Snowy River and Errinundra National Parks, and surrounding towns. The main fire in this area, Goongerah-Deddick track is still going and local shelters and volunteers are holding their breath that they remain unscathed. Even if they are spared, the impact on local wildlife (though not yet fully known) will be huge. Wildlife Victoria is keeping in close contact with local volunteers and DEPI staff to monitor progress with a view to providing support when feasible.
A large fire at the Hazelwood Mine is only one of the fires ongoing in the Morwell region. These fires are predominantly on private land and shelters in the area have reported that not much wildlife has come into care so far. As one of the main fires is in the Hazelwood mine, air pollution has become an issue and may pose further problems for local wildlife. Wildlife Victoria is seeking further information on the effects of these fires on wildlife from local authorities.
Grampians Northern Complex
Unfortunately once again the Grampians and surrounding areas have suffered from the devastation of bushfires. Predominantly on public land the main fire is still going and has devastated more than 55,000ha of mainly national park. Much of the area has high kangaroo and wallaby populations amongst other smaller species and is an area of high value biodiversity significance. Local volunteers including some from BADGAR are coordinating a rescue response in conjunction with DEPI personnel. So far hundreds of animals have been found and following assessment, sadly many have had to be humanely euthanased to end their suffering. Wildlife Victoria will keep in contact with local volunteers to assist if required.
Big Desert/Wyperfeld National Park Area
The Mallee has been hit by numerous large fires in the last few months affecting more than 100,000ha of mostly public land in the Big Desert and Wyperfeld National Park. This area is reasonably isolated with few local volunteers. Those closest have reported that they have not received any wildlife from the fires. Wildlife Victoria is attempting to ascertain the impact on the ground from DEPI and local authorities in the hope of helping with the rescue and care of wildlife affected in this area.
Volunteers in need of help are asked to contact Wildlife Victoria
Update: 3rd February 2014
Re: The Grampians Fire
We have been in touch with the Department of Environment & Primary Industries (DEPI) regarding the bushfire in and around The Grampians National Park. DEPI have set up two teams who have been working across both public and private land searching for bushfire affected wildlife since 20th January. These teams are made up of DEPI wildlife officers and local wildlife volunteers Donna Zabinskas and Trevor Alderson. Donna and Trevor as both very experienced in assessing injured wildlife in these devastating conditions and also have excellent knowledge of the species and terrain in the area.
Sadly only a small number of animals have been rescued and are being cared for at local wildlife shelters. We understand that animals have been sighted on the fire grounds but unfortunately their injuries have been severe and following a health assessment it’s been deemed most humane by authorities and volunteers to euthanase them. DEPI have determined that these small teams will continue to search the area for wildlife in need and we sincerely thank them for their efforts. At this time no other parties will be allowed onto the fire ground.
Wildlife Victoria has been in touch with volunteers in fire affected areas offering assistance as required.
Update: 23rd January 2014
We know how deadly a fire situation can be for wildlife and we want to help as many of our precious animals as possible, however human safety is of upmost importance and protocols have been put in place by the Department of Environment & Primary Industries (DEPI) which must be followed. We will be liaising with our existing volunteer base when the time arises to set up fire ground search and rescue teams. We are working closely with the DEPI who will determine where assistance is required and when.
HELP US FIND INJURED WILDLIFE – click here for a flyer which includes information on what to look for in bushfire affected animals. Feel free to print this flyer off and distribute around town in bushfire affected areas.
Should you find any sick, injured or orphaned wildlife in Victoria, please call 13 000 94535 or log the details online at http://wildlifevictoria.org.au/wildlife-victoria-rescue. Our emergency response operators will assist you in getting help to that animal.
WANT TO HELP, BUT DON’T KNOW HOW?
Volunteer teams that are formed will consist of experienced, fully trained volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering for Wildlife Victoria, click here for more information and our registration form.
Alternatively, please consider making a tax deductible donation to Wildlife Victoria. The increased activity puts pressure on our emergency response service which we offer the Victorian community. Your donation will go towards continuing this service and ensuring more and more wildlife are rescued, cared for and released back into the wild. Click here to make a donation.
Thank you for your continued support for Wildlife Victoria.