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Wildfires and wildlife warriors

Eco-Friday blog post

Today is the official Steve Irwin Day - an annual event to celebrate the extraordinary life of one of our most influential conservationists. It is also a day where people around the world join together to raise money for one of the things he was most passionate about...the Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors. The timing of this here on the Sunshine Coast couldn’t be more relevant and important.

The last few weeks have sparked fear, chaos and enormous organisational efforts from our heroic firefighters and volunteers. They have also brought to us scenes of devastating losses and destruction. The fires that have raged and continue to burn across this great land of ours are some of the worst this country has seen, and it really is only with thanks to the emergency services and volunteer organisations that have worked tirelessly that the losses have not been more catastrophic.

Here in the Noosa region, our bushfire season started with the terrible fires at Peregian, and has only gotten worse with the fires at Cooroibah, Noosa North Shore and Tewantin. There have been mass evacuations, thousands of people whose lives and businesses have been affected. And at a time when we would normally call upon our neighbouring states to assist, NSW has also been gripped by some of the worst fires in living history.

Sadly, it is our wildlife who will have suffered the biggest losses during this time. Loss of life, loss of habitat, loss of food sources. A single event like this could trigger a decline into extinction for some of our more vulnerable species, including our iconic and beloved Koala. The fires have largely been burning in what is known as the Koala Triangle, and the impact on their population and the Eucalyptus trees on which they depend will have been devastating.

Without the arrival of rain, it is impossible to know if the worst is over or yet to come. Everywhere here in the Noosa Hinterland is so dry, brown and crisp, and I know this is true of so much of the landscape up and down the country. The conditions are perfect for fire, but not at all positive for our animals and birds. If anyone knows a raindance, now would be an excellent time to start a flashmob.

In the meantime, if you would like to help and you are in NSW or QLD, you can leave water and fruit outside for any animals who may pass through. If you have the space and capacity, plant some food source trees for our BirdLife. It might take years before it is established enough to help, but the sooner we get them in the ground, the sooner they can start to grow! And for anyone so inclined, donations towards the wildlife warriors or the Australian Zoo Hospital are needed in order for them to keep up with treating the astonishing numbers of hurt, displaced or orphaned wildlife that will be emerging from the ashes over the coming weeks. The link is below. And don’t forget the raindance.

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