Bushfire relief for East Gippsland community and wildlife

Two vehicles loaded up to deliver food for wildlife to fire impacted landholders

While the Australian government utterly fails to provide adequate fire fighting resources, recovery funding, intervention for hungry and injured wildlife impacted by fire, or desperately needed climate action, donations and support are flooding in from people across the country and overseas.

The generosity flowing in to East Gippsland, Victoria (where Eco-shout is based) is overwhelming; it's impossible to keep up with all the offers for help.

The loss of biodiversity and wildlife here is unimaginable. We are currently completely focused on working with local landholders in fire impacted areas to feed wildlife on their land and adjacent forest, create drinking stations and get nest boxes up where hollow bearing trees have been lost. If you would like to be involved visit FoE Food for Wildlife and contact foodforwildlife@foe.org.au.

Places where we are supporting the feeding of wildlife across East Gippsland.

Below is a list of just some of the ways you can support First Nations communities, conservationists and wildlife carers in East Gippsland, some living in remote communities far from relief centres and support.

First Nations Communities Fire Relief Fund
As Fires have struck the East Coast of this sacred land it has lead to significant destruction and loss of masses of flora and fauna and sadly the lives of peoples. First Nations people's have been affected by these tragic circumstances with losses of homes, severe damage to property and important parts of the landscape. Many of these community have now been forced to evacuate the regions of their homes and forced to seek temporary or ongoing living arrangements in other parts of Victoria and NSW. This fundraiser has been started in direct consultation with and upon the request of fire affected First Nations Communities across Eastern parts of so called Australia such as Gippsland and the South Coast of NSW .
Donate: https://www.gofundme.com/f/fire-relief-fund-for-first-nations-communities

Wallabia Wildlife Shelter
Rena and Joe are long term conservationists who have dedicated their lives to protecting forests and looking after injured and orphaned wildlife. They have turned their small property in Goongerah, East Gippsland, into an incredible wildlife shelter, building rehabilitation enclosures for wallabies, possums, gliders, kookaburras, lyre birds and more. Their house and shelter burnt down in the Goongerah fires on 30 December. With huge areas of forest burnt in Goongerah, Wallabia is needed more than ever. Wallabia is also working with us to distribute food for wildlife to landholders impacted by fire across East Gippsland.
Donate: https://chuffed.org/project/wallabia

Goongerah Survives
The remote community of Goongerah in far East Gippsland has been hard hit by devastating fires, is a long way from relief centres and it's difficult to gain access on the road in. They need your help to repair and prepare to survive the remainder of this unprecedented fire season. Goongerah has been the centre of the forest conservation movement in East Gippsland for many years and includes two environment groups, three wildlife refuges, a well-supported CFA, a community hall and until recently a tiny school. Donate or sign up for working bees to help people re-build or to help in any way.
Donate: https://chuffed.org/project/goongerah-climate-refugees-support-fund
Sign up to volunteer: https://www.goongerahsurvives.net
Email: admin@goongerahsurvives.net

Environment East Gippsland HQ and Jill Redwood
Jill Redwood has been campaigning for East Gippsland’s forests, coordinating Environment East Gippsland, putting up landmark legal cases for forest protection and running her inspiring, fully self-sufficient farm for decades. Jill managed to save her home single-handed when the fire front hit on 30 December but still faces a long summer and extensive repair work. You can help Jill get her place back together, buy crucial equipment and eventually be able to focus on the forest campaign again. You can help by donating funds now and joining in working bees when there’s access to Goongerah again.
Donate: BSB 633 108, Acct # 1204 19064

Goongerah Wombat Orphanage
The wombat orphanage in Goongerah was lucky to have their property defended by a hero neighbour on 30 December, however it is going to take a lot to rebuild. The surrounding bush has been burnt to the ground. This sanctuary for wombats and the skills of their carers is needed more than ever.
Donate: https://www.gofundme.com/f/72v37-goongerah-wombat-orphanage

Mallacoota Wildlife Shelter
The Mallacoota Wildlife Shelter has survived, but is already overrun with wildlife to care for. The only way to get supplies into Mallacoota at the moment is by air or sea. It has been hit so hard by fires and the community is devastated.
Donate directly here: SA Johns - Mallacoota Wildlife Centre.
Donate: BSB 062 649 Account # 101 261 46.
Please leave your name as a reference so they know who to thank.

East Gippsland Wildlife Emergency Fund
Incredible wildlife carers in East Gippsland have set up a general fundraiser for carers. These funds will be distributed amongst wildlife shelters in East Gippsland on an as needs basis, including Basil Brush Wildlife Shelter & the Raymond Island Koala & Wildlife Shelter Inc.
Donate: https://www.gofundme.com/f/australian-wildlife-emergency-surgery-fund

Information about feeding wildlife after bushfire
Food that is good to leave out for kangaroos, wallabies, wombats and possums in bushfire affected areas, or to donate to landholders impacted by fire where there is usually wildlife:

  • Kangaroo and wallaby pellets (this is the best one)
  • Grass hay
  • Lucerne (just a little bit mixed with hay for wallabies and kangaroos, not for wombats)
  • Green garden scraps like peas, beans and lettuce (not brassicas!)
  • Sweet potatoes (not as good but better than nothing)
  • Fruit and vegetables (if desperate, not brassicas)
  • Fruit (for fruit bats)
  • Water is crucial
  • Do not feed wildlife brassicas (anything in the broccli family)
  • Do not make wildlife balls or feed wildlife balls to wildlife (they can contain food that is very bad for wildlife such as honey and peanut butter. They are often a texture that gets stuck in their teeth and causes all sorts of problems for stomachs and mouths).

Here is a fact sheet developed with Wildlife Victoria with more detailed information about feeding wildlife.

It is good to put food out every two to three days until there is natural food available that will grow after rainfall. Put chunks of hey/lucerne and/or handfuls of pellets (cupped hands). Put them near wombat burrows about 1.5 metres from entrance, in areas where wildlife have been seen before fires, along well worn paths created by wildlife and near water (although in areas with deer, food will more likely be eaten by deer near water).

Don't be discouraged if it looks like hay/lucerne piles haven't been touched. Wildlife only eat a little bit at a time so they could be using the food drop. Give it time, check the food pile every few days to a week and look for fresh footprints and poo, or signs the pile has been touched. If you leave pellets in a small pile you will see if it's been eaten down and become flatter. Use trial and error to find good places to put food. Keep replenishing the food pile in areas that are being used and remove food where it's not being used and try a different spot.

We've been told its better not to put food on top of ash as toxins from the ash might leach into the food, but we haven't checked if this is true yet. To be safe you can try putting food out on un-burnt patches if they are available or on top of a leaf pile or in some kind of shallow container.

It is really good if you can get a movement sensing remote camera that can be set up to take pictures at the food station and checked to see what wildlife is eating the food – to determine if it is a good place.

It is very dangerous to walk into fire impacted areas soon after fire as trees are likely to fall. It is dangerous to travel around distributing food during high fire danger days. Ensure you keep roads clear with emergency services are preparing for or attending fires.

Info on feeding birds (insect eaters, nectar and honeyeaters that need more than bird seed) is available on this BirdLife Australia fact sheet.

We are currently overwhelmed with offers to help feed wildlife. Right now its difficult to get out into areas still being impacted by fire, so we are working with landholders to get food out on their properties. Hopefully in the near future there will be more opportunities for everyone to get involved.

If you find injured or stressed wildlife, contact Wildlife Victoria: 03 8400 7300.

Things that are useful to buy/source for wildlife carers:

  • Kangaroo pouches and/or pillow cases
  • Towels and chux wipes
  • Animal transportation/enclosures like cat carry cages for example
  • Animal feeding bottles and teats
  • Vetwrap
  • Flamazine/silverzine burn cream
  • Hartmanns fluids
  • Baxter fluids
  • Biolac formulas
  • Lectade oral hydration
  • Vetafarm spark fluids
  • Wombaroo Impact
  • Fuel cards
  • Animal wound gels and sprays
  • Any Vetafarm bird products
  • Shade Cloth
  • 1.8m star pickets for temporary enclosures
  • Enclosure fencing e.g. Rolls of rabbit wire, cyclone fencing, sparrow wire
  • Aviaries

About the author

Eco-shout is a catalyst to action for environmental and social justice.

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