Satellite mapping to identify fire impacts and guide recovery work in fire-affected areas of South Australia, along with detailed on ground assessments and feral predator controls are being funded with the support of the Morrison Government’s initial $50 million Wildlife and Habitat Recovery package.
The Federal Government’s Wildlife and Threatened Species Bushfire Recovery Expert Panel has endorsed South Australia’s recovery priorities with the Commonwealth delivering financial support for urgent interventions on Kangaroo Island and other fire affected areas that include:
- The identification and support of surviving populations of small mammals, birds, bats, plants, reptiles and invertebrates.
- The deployment of multi-disciplinary teams to assess habitat suitability for those areas untouched by fires.
- Feral predator controls.
- Emergency salvage of ‘at-risk’ species.
- Collaboration with local community groups to carry out rapid on-ground assessments of the affected areas ensuring the protection of unburnt ‘refugia’.
- Direct support for injured and distressed wildlife.
- Support for the creation of animal shelters.
“The Morrison Government is contributing $1.5 million to the South Australian Government on top of the $1 million to the Adelaide Zoo and support through local Natural Resource Managers for pest and weed control, and national programs such as the Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife’s support for wildlife carers” Environment Minister Sussan Ley said today.
“There is a lot of work ahead and more funding required but the process of coordinating priorities through the Expert Panel and working with States is providing a strategic response guided by the best science.”
South Australia’s Minister for Environment and Water David Speirs said the funding will help with recovery of wildlife and habitat across bushfire-affected parts of South Australia, particularly around Cudlee Creek and on Kangaroo Island.
“The bushfires have seen a large amount of the natural environment in South Australia destroyed resulting in significant wildlife losses and heart-breaking images of injured animals,” said Minister Speirs.
“The South Australian Government has prioritised wildlife and habitat recovery after the devastating bushfires and has been working collaboratively with all levels of government as well as NGOs to deliver help in coordinated way.
“The recovery for the environment both on Kangaroo Island as well as other fire-affected regions won’t happen overnight and will take both time and plenty of hard work but this extra funding from the Federal Government will help fast-track this recovery.
“Kangaroo Island has a particularly unique environment and it’s important we protect vulnerable species as well as taking the chance to deal with feral animals such as pigs and cats.”
The Expert Panel has highlighted the critical plight of several species including Kangaroo Island Dunnart.
Kangaroo Island Dunnarts were already considered endangered prior to the bushfires, and with 95 per cent of their habitat burnt, they have now been ranked on a national list as the top priority mammal for urgent management intervention.
Other species identified as requiring urgent support include the Kangaroo Island Echidna, Kangaroo Island Glossy Black-cockatoo, Little Pygmy Possum and Kangaroo Island Narrow-leaved Mallee.
The Department of the Agriculture, Water and the Environment has published a provisional list of 113 animal species as the highest priorities for action to support recovery from the 2019-20 bushfires. This document can be accessed at https://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/bushfire-recovery/research-and-resources.