The images of the wildfires consuming Australia have been increasingly horrifying as their summer continues to heat up the problem, but some of the most recent images have provided some relief. Photos of brush-tailed rock-wallabies chowing down on piles of vegetables dumped from helicopters are both adorable and showing how humans can do something to mitigate some of the harm caused by climate change.
Reports are saying that over a billion animals may have already been killed by the brush fires spreading across the continent, including 27 humans. However, if there’s one thing we’ve learned about nature, it’s that life is resilient and with a little help, animal populations can recover.
“The provision of supplementary food is one of the key strategies we are deploying to promote the survival and recovery of endangered species like the brush-tailed rock-wallaby,” said New South Wales MP Matt Kean about the fires. “The wallabies typically survive the fire itself, but are then left stranded with limited natural food as the fire takes out the vegetation around their rocky habitat.”
Operation Rock Wallaby 🦘- #NPWS staff today dropped thousands of kgs of food (Mostly sweet potato and carrots) for our Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby colonies across NSW 🥕🥕 #bushfires pic.twitter.com/ZBN0MSLZei— Matt Kean MP (@Matt_KeanMP) January 11, 2020
This isn’t the first time the government has helicopter-dropped food for animals affected by wildfires, which are common in Australia during their summer months. However, as this has been the worst early fire season in recorded history, this is also the “most widespread food drop we have ever done” for endangered animals like the brush-tailed rock-wallabies.
Kean has promised to continue these efforts until natural food and water sources are restored.
The brush-tailed rock-wallaby is classified as “near threatened,” as populations have been sharply declining in areas of Australia including New South Wales, where they are considered to be endangered. Much of this is due to human activity, especially the introduction of foxes to the ecosystem, which were brought over by Europeans during the colonization of the continent.