In the news: January 2020

Our first peoples already have a blueprint to remake the fire-ravaged land, it’s in our country’s bones

Amid calls for more clearing and burning, what we desperately need is a vision for our environment.

By Jack Pascoe, The Guardian. 21 January 2020

Koalas drinking from human hands is not normal

I am a beef cattle farmer from near Inverell in north-western NSW. My farmhouse is near a creek line and I’ve always been lucky enough to have koalas.

… Last week my husband and I found a male koala in the yard, sitting at the base of the tree. He wouldn’t move, not when I walked up and not when I set a pot of water next to him. In the end I had to raise the pot to his head and finally he moved, leaning down to drink.

By Libby Swan (a personal account), The Sydney Morning Herald. 21 January 2020

I tried to warn Scott Morrison about the bushfire disaster. Adapting to climate change isn’t enough.

I just returned from another round of fighting fires. It was devastating to see the outcome of appalling leadership from Canberra.

By Greg Mullins, The Guardian. 20 January 2020
(Greg Mullins is a former commissioner of Fire and Rescue NSW and a climate councillor.)

Inside the race to protect 250 threatened species hit by bushfire

Ecologists have calculated that at least 6 million hectares of habitat that is home to at least 250 different threatened species has now gone up in smoke.

Twenty-five of these species are listed as critically endangered — in other words, on the brink of extinction in the wild.

By the ABC’s National Regional Reporting Team’s Ben Deacon and Rachel Carbonell. 20 January 2020

Animal rescue teams on Kangaroo Island are finding koalas ‘totally shut down’ in fire aftermath

It was a scene that broke the hearts of a small animal rescue team on Kangaroo Island — an injured koala sitting nearby a furry friend who did not survive in the aftermath of the bushfires.

The moment was captured by the Humane Society International (HSI), which has been scouring the charred Flinders Chase National Park and timber plantations for survivors of the deadly bushfires.

By Meagan Dillon, ABC News. 17 January 2020

Versace bans kangaroo skin after pressure from activists

The Italian fashion house Versace has banned the use of kangaroo skin for its luxury leather products collection. The move follows pressure from the animal rights’ group LAV, which said more than 2.3 million kangaroos in Australia were killed each year for commercial purposes.

Versace did not comment but gave LAV permission to make an announcement.

By Angela Giuffrida (in Rome), The Guardian. 16 January 2020

RSPCA wildlife rescues after Kangaroo Island bushfires, told through photos

Yesterday, our first RSPCA South Australia team returned from a tough few days on Kangaroo Island treating fire-affected animals.

The team of three — veterinarian Gayle, inspector Cheryl and animal handler Cher — spent four days assessing and caring for wildlife in fire-devastated areas of the island before our second team arrived.

By RSPCA South Australia. 14 January 2020

WOW! Wildlife watering group makes a splash

A simple idea to place containers of water in Canberra neighbourhoods or reserves to aid thirsty wildlife during the drought has received a flood of support.

In just three weeks, Water Our Wildlife, started by Anna Reimondos of Weston and her friends Claire Stewart, Michele Woods and Alexandra Craig, has swollen to more than 4000 members via their Facebook page, with more than 500 watering stations established across the ACT.

By Ian Bushnell, Riot ACT! 12 January 2020

Kangaroos aren’t shoes

The horror of the Australian fires should spark a movement to help shoe companies rid their supply chains of kangaroo skins

The wildfires sweeping the grasslands and climbing the trees in Australia are not just hurting “the continent.” They are charring the plants and burning up the animals. It’s a frightening and apocalyptic scene, vividly dramatizing that forest fires that are typically regenerative to ecosystems have in this case morphed into a life-denying, runaway infernos.

By Wayne Pacella, Animal Wellness Action (US). 10 January 2020

Orphaned baby bats wrapped with love

Thousands of baby animals left orphaned by Australia’s bushfires are in need of constant care.

Volunteers around the world have been helping by knitting and sewing special pouches and wraps. They are collected by animal rescue organisations which then distribute them to carers.


Video by Tessa Wong and Andreas Illmer. Additional footage by Judith Hopper. BBC News. 9 January 2020

Animals have an astounding response to bushfire. These are the tricks they use to survive.

Have you ever wondered how our native wildlife manage to stay alive when an inferno is ripping through their homes, and afterwards when there is little to eat and nowhere to hide? The answer is adaptation and old-fashioned ingenuity.

Australia’s bushfire season is far from over, and the cost to wildlife has been epic.

By Dale Nimmo, The Conversation. 8 January 2020

Scorched earth: the bushfire devastation on Kangaroo Island — in pictures

The once pristine environment of Kangaroo Island, including the Flinders Chase national park, is now a barren burned land after the weekend’s fires. Ecologists have grave fears for the future of many species, and for some the island is their only known habitat. (Warning: graphic content of dead animals)

Photographs by David Mariuz/AAP. The Guardian. 8 January 2020

Koalas are the face of Australian tourism.

What now after the fires?

By Kevin Markwell, The Conversation. 7 January 2020

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