In a sign of what we are rapidly coming to appreciate is the “new normal” of severe climatic events in Australia, an extraordinary operation is underway to rescue a remnant population of the endangered Eastern Bristlebird from the bushfires which have been ravaging south-eastern Australia for the past five months.
The unprecedented rescue operation involves the Australian Defence Force, Zoos Victoria, Parks Victoria, Queensland's Currumbin Sanctuary, Monash and Wollongong universities, the Orbost Incident Management Team, and the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.
|Rohan Clarke with a captured bristlebird|
|Chinook helicopter to the rescue|
|Rohan checks the mist-nets|
Says Victorian Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio: “Our hardworking teams are ensuring this precious little bird has a chance at a bright future despite the impact of these devastating fires, which are still posing a threat to our native wildlife.”
|Captured bristlebirds head to safety|
Eastern Bristlebirds can breed successfully in captivity. Currumbin Sanctuary has bred several pairs of the critically endangered northern population that frequents the NSW-Queensland border area. That population is likely to have been hit by fires which raced through its distributional range last September. About half the territory of one pair I've been monitoring for several years has burned.
By some estimates, as many as one billion wild animals have perished in the bushfires.