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Safeguarding Australia's wildlife

Lessons from the 2019-20 'Black Summer' bushfires
Animal welfare Animal populations Bushfires Environmental impacts Extreme weather events Volunteering Australia
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Safeguarding Australia's wildlife 18.93 MB

This report presents the results of a qualitative study undertaken by BG Economics into the rescue and care of wildlife by organisations and individuals in the 2019-20 Australian 'Black Summer' bushfires.

The purpose of the study was to better understand the activities of organisations and individuals by investigating a number of key areas of the wildlife response including their preparedness, operational and post-operational experiences of their involvement in the bushfires, as well as their motivations and views on what worked well and what did not.

The study found that the wildlife response was largely conducted by volunteer run organisations, often without on-the-ground coordination, appropriate resourcing or equipment. Volunteers sometimes did not have relevant training and many organisations did not have well developed policies and procedures in place, especially in written form, in advance of the bushfire season. This resulted in less than optimal planning and a disjointed and more inefficient response than might have otherwise been the case. Government agencies were often difficult to contact, with some participants reporting leaving messages for agency representatives and never hearing back or having to wait days or weeks for a response. This included requesting permission to enter fire-grounds to rescue burnt and injured animals.

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