Australian biodiversity needs more protection after the fires

Protecting Australian biodiversity after the fires

The 2019/2020 bushfires were catastrophic for Australia’s already fragile and under-protected wildlife. Recent reports indicate that more than three billion native animals were killed or harmed by the fires.

Scientists have identified 119 species that require immediate help and the ongoing fallout of the fires is threatening Australian biodiversity. In addition to ongoing recovery efforts, we need better policies, environmental laws, and climate action to ensure the survival of Australia’s unique wildlife.

Counteracting the long-term fallout for survivors

The 2019/2020 fires were worse than usual because of the occurrence of megafires in dense forests. These megafires did not leave as many unburnt areas as is the case with smaller bushfires. This means that those animals that did manage to escape the blaze have lost critical habitat and food sources. While supplementing food and water can provide some relief, re-introducing native plants will be necessary to ensure animals can survive.

Ideas
Jane Goodall's masterclass teaches valuable lessons in conservation

Jane Goodall’s masterclass: 3 lessons on driving change

Since starting this blog a little less than a year ago, I’ve been lucky enough to speak to some incredibly inspiring people that live a life with impact and have learned a lot from them. But I am also keen to understand if there are general rules that I (and others) can apply to drive meaningful change.

One recent experience that has pushed my thinking in this direction, was taking Dr. Jane Goodall’s masterclass on conservation.

A scientist turned activist

Jane Goodall is probably most well-known for her work with chimpanzees, starting in the 1960s. While observing chimps in Tanzania’s Gombe Stream National Park, she discovered – amongst other things – that the animals were picking leaves of sticks and used those modified sticks to fish termites from a nest.

Goodall’s discovery was ground-breaking since scientists up until then thought that only humans were capable of toolmaking. Her insights re-shaped the definition of man and our perception of our closest relatives in the animal kingdom.

In the 1970s Goodall realised that to protect chimpanzees and their habitat from increasing deforestation and destruction, she needed to get out of the forest and spread her message. She founded the Jane Goodall Institute and since then has been working as a tireless advocate for the environment, social justice, poverty alleviation and peace.

Activists Conservationist
Tasmanian Devils

Saving Australian wildlife from extinction

Hayley Shute has her hands full as we are about to start our chat. A couple of koalas need her attention before we get the chance to talk about her work at Aussie Ark, a wildlife conservation organisation dedicated to protecting Australia’s endangered species. “That’s one of the things I love most about my job: you never know what they might spring on you next”, she says with a laugh.

With the koalas safely moved, Hayley shares her love for Australian wildlife conservation with infectious enthusiasm. “Most people get so excited about lions and elephants, and other exotic animals from far-flung locations, but we are so lucky to have so many unique animals here in Australia – and we need to do much more to protect them”, she asserts.

As the curator at Aussie Ark, Hayley Shute is working to protect enadangered Australian wildlife
Hayley Shute is the curator at Aussie Ark.

As the curator at the non-for-profit organisation she’s working to save some of Australia’s most vulnerable species from extinction and to educate the public about the need to protect them. “Unfortunately, many people have never heard about some of our most threatened animal species”, she says. “And the less awareness there is, the harder it is to secure their future.”

Saving the Tasmanian Devil

Aussie Ark is a project-based Australian wildlife conservation organisation founded by Australian Reptile Park owners John and Robyn Weigel, and conservationist Tim Faulkner.   

Australian wildlife: Tasmanian Devil

The Tasmanian Devil is endangered because of a contagious form of facial cancer.

In 2011 they launched Devil Ark with the aim to establish an insurance population of the endangered Tasmanian Devil on the Australian mainland. The iconic marsupial – that now can only be found in Tasmania in the wild – is under threat because of a particular nasty form of cancer called Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD).

Conservationist
Sarah wants to raise awareness for Australian threatened species

wild_ about Australia’s threatened species

Australia is home to some of the world’s most unique wildlife. Yet, sadly we’re not doing such a great job in protecting the continent’s rare natural environment. More than 1,800 plant and animal species are at risk of becoming extinct and the environment department has admitted to having no clue if Australia’s threatened species plans are actually being implemented.  

Raising awareness for the plight of Australia’s wildlife is something that’s close to Sarah Ash’s heart. A couple of years ago the Queensland based mother, photographer, videographer and musician started wild_ –  a photo project, showcasing Australia’s endangered wildlife.

Eclectus parrot
This Eclectus parrot was more interested in what’s happening behind the camera than posing in front of it.
Image: wild_

Sarah took the time to chat about her creative project.

What motivated you to start wild_?

I started wild_ a few years ago while I was working for an environmental management company. I was doing some research for the company’s social media page and came across all these animals I had never heard about.

These species were also listed as endangered and I wanted to do something to raise awareness. If I hadn’t heard about them, this was probably also true for most Australians. So, I decided to use my skills to try and do something about it.

Koala
Urban expansion continues to threaten Koalas.  Image: wild_
Creatives