Zoos develop plan to help wildlife recover from Australia's bushfire crisis
The Zoo and Aquarium Association Australasia (ZAA) is mobilising its Wildlife Conservation Fund to support a large-scale, coordinated response of zoos, wildlife parks and aquariums to the drought and bushfire crisis.
The ZAA drought and bushfire response will focus on wildlife rescue, rehabilitation and long-term species recovery. It will bring together the significant expertise, resources, equipment and facilities across its network of accredited organisations to help native animals in the crisis affected areas.
With scientists now estimating more than one billion native animals affected by Australia's bushfire crisis nationally, the specialised expertise and facilities at ZAA-accredited zoos and wildlife parks will play a crucial role in the extensive short and long-term wildlife rescue, rehabilitation and recovery work ahead.
Many ZAA member zoos run wildlife hospitals, rescue and rehabilitation facilities, and those in or near fire affected areas are facing an overwhelming number of native animals requiring support now and well into the future.
“This crisis will set back biodiversity in the Australian landscape for decades and regeneration of the impacted habitats will take years,” said James Biggs, Manager Conservation and Australasian Species Management Program at ZAA.
“The welfare-accredited zoos and wildlife parks in our membership can help with long-term care, rehabilitation and recovery of these animals with a goal of safely returning them to a liveable habitat.
“More than that, ZAA and our members are experts in managing wildlife breeding programs so we can help to support or establish government endorsed breed-for-release activities to begin putting additional animals back into these habitats.
“With estimates of native animals affected now over one billion, this work may help to revive and sustain populations of wildlife in affected areas.”