Newcastle CREST has been out again this week assisting the Native Animal Trust Fund Inc (NATF) and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW). Josey from the IFAW was kind enough to pass on the following words about the recent operations and some great pics:
Operation started Mon 14 Oct- called by RFS due to wildlife being affected in fires at Heatherbrae and Salt Ash.
Black walks for wildlife rescue were a joint exercise conducted by NATF Disaster team, Hunter Koala Preservation Society (HKPS) and Wildlife in Need of Care (WINC) and members of the three organisations were involved in search and recovery of native wildlife.
Walks have continued all of last week. Habitat tremendously devastating and effect on wildlife horrendous. The fires were so fast moving and intense that little wildlife survived in some areas.
Wildlife affected: 1 koala – in care with HKPS, 6 possums in care, red belly black snake euthanased, 6 bandicoots didn’t make it, high number of dead possums and reptile species found, several echidnas dead. Also reunited a dog found on fire grounds with its very worried owner who was very grateful.
Wildlife affected: 5 koalas, 1 euthanased due to severity of burns. 4 in care with NATF and HKPS, including one baby found 22 Oct by RAFF staff sitting curled up on a road on their property was placed into care with NATF carer. We searched for its mother today to no avail. Baby is doing well burned paws singed fur but eating and drinking well.
The long term impact of wildlife unknown as many will have fled fires and possibly come back and face lack of food water and shelter
NATF and HKPS and WINC volunteers have worked tirelessly around the clock to search rescue and recovery of any affected species.
IFAW has supported our work by supplying vital radios, fire gear, medical supplies and veterinary treatment. IFAW took photographs.
The CREST team have been present on fire grounds providing vital communication support for search and rescue teams. We wouldn’t be able to do the work without them.
There are also fires now in Minmi and Lack Macquarie (Dudley and Redhead) which will have a big impact on many wildlife species and habitat (possums, echidnas, ground dwelling and arboreal animals)
The Heatherbrae operation will continue until end of the week and then we will be assessing Lake Macquarie area when possible.