RSPCA calls for Kangaroo Island volunteers amid fears of ‘second wave of mass wildlife deaths’

RSPCA calls for Kangaroo Island volunteers amid fears of 'second wave of mass wildlife deaths' - DesiEngine
RSPCA calls for Kangaroo Island volunteers amid fears of 'second wave of mass wildlife deaths' - DesiEngine

Up to 120 volunteers are urgently needed on Kangaroo Island to help feed animals that have survived the devastating bushfires, RSPCA South Australia says.

Key points:

  • RSPCA SA fears a “second wave of mass wildlife death” due to starvation
  • It is seeking teams of volunteers to work on the island between February and April
  • Volunteers will distribute feed and water to areas where animals have survived

Tens of thousands of animals, including up to 30,000 koalas, have died in the bushfires which have blackened almost half of the island.

The RSPCA fears the surviving wildlife will succumb to starvation without an urgent response, describing the situation as a looming “second wave of mass wildlife deaths”.

RSPCA chief executive Paul Stevenson said the organisation’s next phase of its bushfire response plan would see feed distributed to identified wildlife survival pockets.

“This is a dynamic situation and this plan for targeted, ground-based feed distribution will evolve as more areas are accessed, but there is an immediate need to get food and water to as many of these animals as possible,” Mr Stevenson said.

“We don’t know how many animals are fending for themselves in totally barren landscapes, but wildlife rescuers are starting to find animals in extremely poor condition due to lack of food and water.”

Mr Stevenson said it was not just koalas at risk, with several endangered species also suffering habitat loss.

The RSPCA said three teams of volunteers made up of three members each, would be on the island enacting the plan at any one time.

Volunteers will work to seven-day rotating rosters under a field operations manager and need to be able to complete at least one seven-day cycle.

They will undertake feed and water distribution and will assist if needed with the collection of fresh feed for koalas in care as they recover from injuries.

Volunteers need to be physically fit and strong and will need to cope with the distressing reality of severely burnt animals.

While teams of volunteers are being organised, additional RSPCA SA staff will head to the island early next week to distribute food supplies to as many native animals as they can find.

Apart from distributing food directly to wildlife, RSPCA SA is establishing one to two depots where locals will be able to collect food to support wildlife on their properties.

Volunteers will help to replenish food supplies at specific locations and assist with the rescue and transport of animals in need of vet care.

The RSPCA said it needed volunteer teams to be on the island over February and March and possibly early April.

original source: Abc


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