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Zoos SA plans wildlife recovery strategies following bushfires

Zoos SA plans wildlife recovery strategies following bushfires
January 23, 2020

Following the recent and ongoing bushfires, Zoos SA has welcomed $1 million in funding from the Federal Government as part of a critical network to support the recovery and protection of national wildlife populations including the already critically-endangered Kangaroo Island Dunnart.

Zoos SA Chief Executive Elaine Bensted, veterinarian David McLelland and Veterinary hospital Manager Dianne Hakof were part of a team of Zoos SA staff rotating in and out of Kangaroo Island and Cudlee Creek in the face of horrific bushfires which took a devastating toll on native wildlife.

Bensted advised that the Federal Government’s funding support will really enable the Zoo to step up its efforts while highlighting the important role that it plays in wildlife protection commenting “Zoos SA already works alongside other zoos and agencies to boost insurance populations and to prevent the extinction of native animals such as the Orange-bellied parrot, Western swamp tortoises and Mallee Emu-wrens, with the wrens nearly wiped out in the 2014 bushfires.

“What we already know from these conservation projects is that we need to approach wildlife and conservation recovery with careful planning and that we need to be looking to the future even as much as we need to treat animals today.”

McLelland noted that the most common injuries being treated are burned paws and singed fur noting “for many animals being presented the burn injuries and associated complications can be successfully treated but sadly many animals that are too severely affected also had been euthanised on welfare grounds.

“Working alongside partner organisations including SAVEM, the RSPCA, the Army, and local veterinarians on the island, we are now daily treating at least 100 hospitalised and newly rescued animals, working for up to 12 hours each day.”

Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley met with Zoos SA paying tribute to the efforts of the Zoos veterinary team in treating animals burnt in the Cudlee Creek and Kangaroo Island bushfires and discussing short and long-term wildlife recovery strategies.

Minister Ley commented “the dedication of these veterinarians and support staff during the fires has been just incredible.

“Some of the stories are simply tragic but others underline the fact there is hope for recovery through a coordinated national effort and that is what the Morrison Government is supporting through the Threatened Species Commissioner, the Expert Panel and the many organisations who are working together to share ideas.

“There is a huge challenge ahead and it will require further funding.”

South Australia’s Minister for the Environment and Water David Speirs said a coordinated approach across a wide range of stakeholders will be needed to ensure the long-term recovery of the natural environment impacted by bushfire.

“South Australia has an immense task ahead and Zoos SA will be working closely with state agencies and NGOs on the coordinated and strategic delivery of landscape scale recovery projects in bushfire impacted areas.

“We have seen some terrible things over the last months and I think we all accept that it will take some time to recover but the fact that we are all working together is a great step.”

Zoos SA will continue to send teams of veterinary staff to Kangaroo Island for the foreseeable future.

Image of Four Paws, a Southern Koala, injured in the Cudlee Creek bushfire, has been recovering under the expert care of Adelaide Zoo’s Animal Health Centre. Courtesy of Zoos SA

Related Articles

15th January 2020 - Environmental and wildlife organisations meet to steer recovery process following bushfires

14th January 2020 - Zoo and Aquarium Association develops plan to help wildlife recover from Australia’s bushfire crisis

13th January 2020 - Burnt animals recover at Adelaide Zoo as wildlife toll increases to over one billion

5th January 2020 - Bushfires push numerous Australian animal species towards extinction

31st December 2019 - Heroic effort by zookeepers saves Mogo Wildlife Park from devastating bushfires

17th December 2019 - Adelaide Zoo keep animals cool through summer heat

24th November 2019 - Giant Pandas to remain at Adelaide Zoo for another five years

18th November 2019 - Aussie Ark calls for wildlife support during bushfires

11th November 2019 - Monarto Safari Park to introduce new cooling systems for summer

23rd September 2019 - $40 million Monarto Zoo development to provide ‘biggest safari experience outside of Africa’

18th September 2019 - New report highlights the increased threat of climate change on Australian wildlife

2nd August 2019 - South Australia launches new National Parks and Wildlife Service

14th February 2019 - Zoos SA look to keep giant pandas in Adelaide

13th October 2018 - Tasmanian devil joeys unveiled at Monarto Zoo

20th February 2015 - Zoos SA releases plans for new wildlife experiences at Adelaide and Monarto Zoos

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