BLACK SUMMER MEGA-FIRES

Like much of Southern and Eastern Australia, the Southern Highlands saw two infernos ravage our communities and pristine bushland during the Black Summer season of 2020. Tragically, lives were lost; homes, outbuildings and habitats were destroyed, and vast wildlife including koalas, kangaroos, wombats and wallabies either perished or struggled to survive in the aftermath. 

Despite the travesties, people across Australia and around the globe responded in many extraordinary ways.

Our team member, Jennifer Campbell went into action by organising and collecting daily fresh produce together with other essential field items. Working with the management from Woolworths and Harris Farm in Bowral, Jennifer and her friend, Olga Hromow, established morning and evening food stations for five weeks near drought-ravaged paddocks and along the smouldering bush tracks that traced reserves and state parks.

They also searched the forests, looking for any sign of life. What they saw in some parts was a scene of total devastation.

The infernos in Werai State Forest were so intense that no form of life could remain standing in the aftermath; to the point where the blazes threatened the very existence of numerous species. Yet, the eerie silence was even more profound than the sight of the still-smouldering ground. No matter which direction I went, I was staring into the face of a ghost forest. JC

View Werai State Forest in the aftermath of the fires.

Woolworths Bowral additionally provided us with feed containers, bottles of water and water bowls, pillowcases, gloves, blankets, a medical kit and feather dusters [in the event of finding injured birds]. Other generous community supporters sent us bat wraps, knitted pouches for joeys and myriad first aid supplies.

There was no stockpiling. Everything was utilised with swiftness and precision in the field and at our sanctuary.

We also sent several large boxes of fruit to the Shoalhaven Bat Clinic in Bomaderry for the hundreds of bats that were in rehabilitation. And there was never a shortage of field rescue callouts in conjunction with other wildlife rescue operators.

Thank you to everyone for your community spirit, care and dedication; and especially to Woolworths, Harris Farm and the girls. 

Woody and Kerstin.

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NOTE TO THE COMMUNITY |  Please view this important link for further information on feeding wildlife.


  • Good morning!

    I am a local from Burrawang who currently lives in sydney and I was wanted to volunteer myself to help with and rescue efforts you May have planed for the animals effected in the Morton fires. I would love to help anyway that I can even if it is to carry equipment! My mother is a nurse and would also be keen to help on her days off!
    I also was wanting to know if you are after supplies? I’ve been working with a bunch of people around Australia and a few internationally on getting supplies to wildlife groups. People have been knitting bird nests, sewing pouches, mittens, and bat wraps and donating animal food and medical supplies. I can start to get some of these supplies sent to you if you let me know what you are in need of!

    Really looking forward to hearing from you!

    Kind regards!

    Jemma Burke

  • Would you like pouches for kangaroos and joeys/wombats and other wildlife. I am sewer and can make you some.
    Looking forward to hearing from you.

    Michele O’Byrne

  • Hi, my name is Kylie, and I live in Pennsylvania USA, but I’m a Aussie. I lived in East Maitland and my parents lived in Ashtonfield prior to us moving here.

    My Mum and I have made a number joey/wallaby bags (day/night), joey etc pouches (approved by the Animals Rescue Crafters) .

    We were wondering would you like the pouches we have made, and are you accepting them at this time, in regards to the virus.

    I’m sure you continue to be busy with the animals (just because the fire’s have stopped, doesn’t mean the helping for the injured animals stops).

    We are happy to send the items direct to you – so I would need an address if you would still like these items.

    Thank you for all you have done so far, to help our animals – and will continue to do.

    Regards

    Kylie and Kay Rixon

    Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oi Oi Oi

    • Hi Kylie, Thank you for your message. That is very kind of you. We were fortunate to have received many pouches in the wake of the mega-fires, however, Wildlife Rescue South Coast would welcome them and dispatch accordingly to rescuers in the field as well as carers in need. Their address https://www.wildlife-rescue.org.au/contact-us. We hope that you and your family remain safe and well in the US. Our warmest regards.

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