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Massive food drop to help save endangered wallabies in fire-affected areas

The Environment Minister said the food drops are expected to continue until “sufficient natural food resources and water” become available again.

Minister Kean said intensive feral predator control will occur as required, and cameras will monitor the uptake of food and the number and variety of animals.

Whilst the advice is normally to not feed wildlife, the “rare situation” of both severe drought and bushfires means that “desperate times call for desperate measures,” Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) Nature Campaigner Jess Abrahams said.

Mr Abrahams acknowledged that while these feeding measures were a “sensible emergency response”, more needed to be invested by the federal government in long-term recovery as climate change leads to more frequent and intense fires.

“I can’t underline how urgent it is, and we need to take real action on climate change nationally and globally if we want to protect our beautiful wildlife,” Mr Abrahams said.

“This may well push them over the brink which is a terrible thought, and shows how vulnerable our wildlife are to changes in the natural environment.”

A National Parks and Wildlife Service helicopter prepares for the food drop.

A National Parks and Wildlife Service helicopter prepares for the food drop.Credit:NPWS NSW

Mr Abrahams said feed droppings were a short-term measure because it is unsustainable to allow wildlife to become dependent on human feeding. Drought also stalls a transition to dry pellets or dry food until more water is available.

In a statement on Sunday, the ACF in collaboration with other environment groups including World Wide Fund (WWF) and The Wilderness Society, urged Environment Minister Susan Ley to develop “an effective and responsive national environmental law framework” to recover wildlife and heritage places.

They stressed that there were “deep concerns that these fires have triggered extinction events for a range of nationally threatened species” and that “there is a significant and important role the Australian government can play in leading the coordinated recovery of native species and protected heritage places.

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The devastation to Australia’s wildlife has attracted international attention, with footage of rescue attempts of injured koalas and other animals being shared in news reports and social media.

Yet Animalia Wildlife Shelter in Victoria has warned those who discover injured koalas not to give them water through a water bottle, due to a risk of the water getting into koalas’ lungs and causing potentially fatal complications.

“Please do not give koalas water by pouring it. Just let them lap at their own pace. If it gets in their lungs it could kill them,” the shelter wrote on Facebook on Saturday.

“If you find a koala in need of help in the heat or in a fire zone, do not offer it water by tipping it from a bottle or cup into their mouths and never force a koala to drink,” the post read.

The shelter instead advised placing a bowl of water on the ground, or putting water into a hat, helmet or cup, and holding it near the koala’s mouth.

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