Right now, many people are questioning where money donated to bushfire responses is going. Taronga has set up a dedicated fund within the Taronga Foundation for our Wildlife Crisis Appeal to ensure that 100% of donated funds will go directly to our recovery efforts for wildlife impacted by fire and the ongoing drought.
To date, funds have supported the deployment of specialist staff to assist with immediate treatment of wildlife - but the real work lies ahead of us. We are currently preparing to initiate multiple recovery (breed-to-release) programs for Fish, Frogs, Platypus, Koalas… you name it, the need is there.
Thankfully, having bred and released more than 50,000 native species back in to the wild, and having saved at least seven species from extinction, we know we have the skills and experience to undertake this task. However, every program we undertake requires infrastructure, expertise, keeper and veterinary time and of course the support of community.
Thank you for your donations to date and continued support for our important programs in the wake of this crisis.
What we have done to date
Taronga has been and is currently provided emergency care for wildlife impacted by bushfires, extreme heat and drought - in many cases, wildlife are suffering from a combination of all of these factors. This includes:
- Emergency housing and care of a population of wild Koalas from the Kanangra-Boyd National Park, rescued by our partner Science for Wildlife before fire went through the region
- Treatment of heat, fire and drought impacted wildlife in our two wildlife hospitals including numerous Wallabies, Koalas and Bats requiring intensive hand-rearing, and preparing for 44 more bats requiring crèching, with more still to come
- In-situ emergency recovery of Platypus rescued from drying ponds in Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, where the combined impact of prolonged dry conditions and water reductions due to bush fires had put them at severe risk
- Provision of Taronga keepers, scientists, vets and nutritional experts to support on the ground care and recovery of wildlife in bushfire impacted areas
The cost of the task ahead greatly exceeds the funds raised via our Wildlife Crisis Appeal to date.
What comes next
Experts widely agree that recovery programs (also known as breed-to-release programs) will be essential to the long-term survival of many of the species impacted by the fires.
Taronga is a leader in delivering successful breed-to-release programs, with the essential combination of skills across science, genetics, behavioural management and animal husbandry required to breed small populations that can thrive when released into the wild.
Since the beginning of 2020, Taronga has been preparing to initiate new recovery programs for platypus, fish and frogs. We will also need to double our efforts for existing programs for both the Regent Honeyeater and Southern Corroboree Frog after fires significantly impacted their respective territories. Surveys have also suggested the fires may have pushed the Northern Corroboree Frog to the brink of extinction, and that an insurance population will likely need to be developed.
Never before has Taronga faced the need to initiate so many critically urgent rescue and recovery programs simultaneously. Taronga has the skills and expertise to undertake this critical work, however with each of these programs requiring extensive management and staffing, the development of a genetically robust founding population, a strategy to maintain its ongoing health and the creation of shelters and spaces to breed and prepare animals for release, the costs of this work are significant.
With two wildlife hospitals, a full team of expert wildlife veterinarians, veterinary nurses, carers, animal husbandry experts and scientists, Taronga is in a unique position to lead the rescue and recovery of Australia’s wildlife - not just now, but into the future. To do this, we need your help.