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Helicopters Are Dropping Thousands Of Sweet Potatoes And Carrots For Starving Animals Of The Bushfire Crisis

Helicopters and planes are dropping thousands of sweet potatoes and carrots for the starving animals that are dying due to the bushfire crisis. 

Aircraft are being used to feed the thousands of starving wildlife who are stranded amid the Australian bushfire crisis.

The New South Wales government has launched a food-drop mission which involves dropping thousands of kilograms of sweet potatoes and carrots from aircraft, to feed the state’s colonies and bush-trailed rock wallabies.

‘Operation Rock Wallaby’ has been commenced by the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service in order to combat the at-risk nature of the state’s marsupial population.

Over the past week, the park service has been completing food drops for rock-wallaby colonies in the Capertree and Wolgan valleys, Yengo National Park, the Kangaroo Valley, around the Jenolan, Oxley Wild Rivers and Curraccubundi national parks.

So far, over 2,200kg of fresh vegetables have been dropped for the critters.

Credit: Animals Australia

Matt Kean, New South Wales’ Environmental Minister, has stated that despite the animals managing to flee the fire, they have been left without a source of food.

“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.”

Mr Keane says they will be keeping an eye on the native species, observing their progress as a part of the bushfire recovery process.

“When we can, we are also setting up cameras to monitor the uptake of food and the number and variety of animals there,” he added.

Credit: Animals Australia

According to the World Wildlife Fund, it is estimated that 1.25 billion animals have died directly or indirectly due to the bushfires across Australia.

CEO Dermot O’Gorman released a statement, declaring: “This heartbreaking 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.”

The rock wallaby has been the main species for the state’s food drop initiative, as the creature was already regarded as at-risk before the bushfires even occurred because of habitat deconstruction.

Charity Animals Australia have been using aircraft to transport food supplies for the injured and burnt wildlife of regional Victoria.

In East Gippsland, over 800,000 acres of land have been burnt since the fires took over the region. This has also meant many stranded tourists and residents before New Year’s Eve.

The organisation has been heavily relying on donations to lease out these small planes, which have been filled with bags of grains and pellets to distribute to wildlife in the region through ‘Vets for Compassion’.

Credit: Animals Australia

Last week, the first plane flew over the ground in Mallacoota with vets Dr Elaine Ong and Dr Chris Barton aboard.

Following this were two more planes which were loaded with food and veterinary supplies.

In total, the group has sent out three tonnes of food for kangaroos based in this area, in addition to a generator and further supplies.

Lyn White, Animals Australia spokeswoman, has said the charity is working as hard as they possibly can to make sure that the wildlife survives the fire due to a lack of food.

She said: “With roads likely shut for weeks, the risk of starvation for surviving wildlife in the area is very real.

“It would be tragic if there was a further loss of life because the needs of surviving animals were not being met.”

Originally, the organisation struggled to get in supplies because of unfavourable conditions.

Credit: Animals Australia

On Wednesday, the organisation wrote: ‘Fingers crossed for clearer skies today, but we’re working on any and all options to get the food to these hungry animals. ‘

Thankfully, skies cleared and the mission was successful in dropping food down to the animal. The group thanked their supporters for providing the vital funds to make it all possible.

‘We continue to be absolutely humbled by the outpouring of love and generosity and support from all across the world.

‘Today our primary focus is making sure these funds are distributed to wherever they will have the most direct and meaningful impact for animals’, they wrote.

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