Please donate to AussieArk this summer and leave out water for our native wildlife (beware of drowning hazards) - Wildlife Rescue 1300 094 737
I grew up in and around the stunning Jervis Bay, and Christmas is traditionally hot and dry with a few close calls and evacuations with fire. But this year it's different as the entire country is on fire.
(Source: MyFireWatch. Left: Fires 0-48 hours old as at 25/12/19 20:00 ASDT. Right: Last years burnt area)
I now live in Melbourne, and Mum and Dad in the tiny coastal NSWs town of Woollamia. Since June and every time I've mentioned that we've had rain in Melbourne, Mum has been saying, "it's so dry here, I'm not looking forward to summer". She kept worrying about all the bush being "like kindling" with no moisture around and much of the scrub dead or dying. Kept warning me of a bad fire season. Today, on Christmas Day it's hard to know exactly how devastating the fires have been on our native wildlife, but we do know about five million hectares of Australia have been burnt or are burning in an “unprecedented” start to the summer fire season.
NSW alone has seen 3.41m ha burned so far. That's 11 times more than last year we are only halfway through the season. What scares me is that this year with everything so dry, everything is fuel for the fire. Trees are falling and won't regenerate this year, birds are dying of heat exhaustion... we just can't comprehend what this will do to populations of wildlife as they are either wiped out by the fire or die after of injury or starvation or exhaustion.
On my walk around Woollamia yesterday I noticed the flowering gums had not come into full flower yet and the tiny areas that had were inundated with birds and bees hungry for the small nectar they had to offer. We then noticed that evening there are no bugs, no mosquitos, no cicadas, and not a single Christmas beetle. Like many insects, they rely on the combination of water, humidity, and temperature to complete their lifecycle. This is scary without the fires on top!
Last night we were greeted by the sounds and sights of flying fox, like I've never seen in the area. Looking into it they could be displaced colony from the fires here in the Shoalhaven.
I'm no expert but seeing what's happening around me, knowing the huge areas that have been devastated by fire already, and knowing we have months left of an extreme summer with no rain predicted until March... I'm scared for our wildlife.
How can we help?
Leave water out for wildlife.
Leave bowls of fresh, clean water out in shady locations. Shallow dishes are better for smaller animals. If you use a large container make sure to provide a rock or stick so small animals can climb out. Place the container in an area where animals are protected from predators when drinking e.g. near a shrub or bush and keep your pets away from this area so that animals can drink undisturbed.
Keep pets indoors
Not only will this help your animal companions escape the heat, but it will enable thirsty wildlife to access water in your backyard safely.
Glitterazzi has selected to donate $300 to AussieArk bushfire appeal.
In response to the current bushfire emergency, Aussie Ark has a partnership with Global Wildlife Conservation (GWC) has launched the Aussie Wildlife Bushfire Appeal Fund where local groups and charities working to help save our wildlife can apply for funding. They need your help to find those most in need of these funds.
WIRES is also a great organisation helping injured wildlife. Did you know $200 will feed a wombat joey for 20 weeks needing care longer than any other species, often up to 2 years before they can be released?