Helicopter drops 2,200kg of vegetables for animals starving to death in Australian bushfires
13 January 2020, 10:40 | Updated: 13 January 2020, 10:45
An aircraft has dropped 2,200 kg of sweet potatoes and carrots for starving animals in Australia.
After the devastating Australian bushfires were finally brought under control on Sunday, thousands of veggies have been sent down from the skies to feed stranded animals.
The Gospers Mountain fire has burned for two-and-a-half months just northwest of Sydney, tragically putting the state's colonies of brush-trailed rock wallabies at-risk.
But the service called ‘Operation Rock Wallaby’, which has been commissioned the New South Wales government - will hopefully provide food to the animals which managed to escape the raging wildfires, but have been left with nothing to eat.
Operation Rock Wallaby 🦘- #NPWS staff today dropped thousands of kgs of food (Mostly sweet potato and carrots) for our Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby colonies across NSW 🥕🥕 #bushfires pic.twitter.com/ZBN0MSLZei— Matt Kean MP (@Matt_KeanMP) January 11, 2020
This week, around 2,200kg of food has been sent over the Capertree and Wolgan valleys, Yengo National Park, the Kangaroo Valley, and around Jenolan, Oxley Wild Rivers and Curracubundi national parks.
The environment minister for New South Wales, Matt Kean, has warned although some animals escaped the fires, they’ve now been forced to search for food outside their natural habitat.
“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,” he said.
“The wallabies were already under stress from the ongoing drought, making survival challenging for the wallabies without assistance.
"When we can, we are also setting up cameras to monitor the uptake of the food and the number and variety of animals there."
Rock-wallabies were considered endangered even before the bushfires as a result of habitat destruction, but the World Wildlife Fund estimates that a whopping 1.25 billion animals have been killed in the blazes.
WWF-Australia CEO Dermot O'Gorman said in a statement: “This heart-breaking loss includes thousands of precious koalas on the mid-north coast of NSW, along with other iconic species such as kangaroos, wallabies, gliders, potoroos, cockatoos and honeyeaters.”
Efforts to save wildlife are underway across Australia, after harrowing videos showed kangaroos desperately trying to escape the flames, while thousands of koalas were wiped out. Experts fear entire species could be destroyed by the fires.
Meanwhile, Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp has warned there's a “long way to go” before the fires are totally under control.
He said: "It is great to have some respite now, so we can reset and refocus in terms of our operational activities and what we can do to support community, but we will have more hot weather.”
"We are planning through until the end of March."