Operation Rock Wallaby: Australia Airdrops Thousands Of Veggies To Feed Animals Escaping Bushfires
The Australian government has also jumped into the fray with Operation Rock Wallaby – a massive air campaign to feed the starving animals of the Australian brush.
CNN reported on Monday (13 Jan) that New South Wales (NSW) is using helicopters to deliver vegetables into the wilderness.
Over the last week, over 2 tonnes or 2,000 kg of sweet potatoes and carrots have been air-dropped into various affected areas.
Supporting the survival of endangered animals in Australia
The operation mainly aims to help the most vulnerable victims of the bushfires, such as the brush-tailed rock-wallaby.
According to CNN, the NSW government intends to continue the effort until natural food and water supplies return to normal.
As of now, the wildfires have damaged the environment so badly that additional assistance from the government is still necessary.
Matt Kean, the Australian Minister of Energy and Environment, told CNN:
assessments indicate the habitat of several important brush-tailed rock-wallaby populations was burnt in the recent bushfires. The wallabies typically survive the fire itself, but are then left stranded with limited natural food…
Doing more than providing food
Beyond just delivering food, the government is also monitoring the local predator population for the time being, according to ABC.
The Environment Department has classified the brush-tailed rock-wallaby, after which the operation takes its name, as endangered in NSW.
They’re just one of many species that became casualties of the wildfires. Current estimates place the animal death toll at millions for NSW alone, with nearly half a billion more affected.
The World Wildlife foundation estimated over 1.25 billion animals to be dead, after fires ravaged over 8.4 million hectares of land.
No way there but by the air
According to Animals Australia Spokeswoman Lyn White, the roads are likely to stay shut for weeks. With the widespread devastation caused by the fires, airdropping the food is a necessary measure.
She told the Daily Mail that, “it would be tragic if there was a further loss of life because the needs of surviving animals was not being met.”
Feeding animals the first small step towards recovery
Moving forward, the NSW government will continue doing all they can to help the poor creatures.
Mr Kean has said that they’re setting up cameras to monitor animal welfare and variety. They’re also observing how well the animals are responding to the food.
At the very least, we’re just glad to see some good news at last, and take comfort in the knowledge that people are helping the animals too.
Find out how you can contribute to firefighting and wildlife conservation efforts here.