It's been raining carrots and sweet potatoes in New South Wales (NSW), Australia. The NSW government decided to run "Operation Rock Wallaby" to try and save its already-dwindling brush-tailed rock-wallaby population.
The ravaging bushfires in Australia have already destroyed acres upon acres of land. The animals that have managed to survive the fires are now stranded without food.
Hundreds of thousands of vegetables are being dropped over fire-affected areas in a bid to save endangered species.
Post-fire wildlife recovery efforts in fire-ravaged Australia
The devastating news of the Australian bushfires has been headlining our newspapers for weeks on end. Now that some fires are slowly abating, post-fire recovery efforts are underway.
One such effort is the NSW "Operation Rock Wallaby".
Aircraft are being used to drop vegetables to feed thousands of starving wildlife stuck in the midst of the arid and burnt-up land. According to the World Wildlife Fund, 1.25 billion animals have died directly or indirectly due to the fires.
One particular animal is the brush-tailed rock-wallaby, an endangered marsupial species, which was already deemed at-risk before the fires hit.
State Environment Minister, Matt Kean, said that some of the animals had managed to flee the fires, but were left without food. So far, around 2,000 kg (4,400 pounds) of fresh vegetables have been dropped on the affected zones.
Kean also explained that dropping the food for the wallabies was one of the key strategies used to help the survival and recovery of the species.
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
"Initial fire assessments indicate the habitat of several important Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby populations was burnt in the recent bushfires. 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," Kean said.
"The wallabies were already under stress from the ongoing drought, making survival challenging for the wallabies without assistance," he continued.
The food airdrops are not just a one-time moment, as Kean stated "At this stage, we expect to continue providing supplementary food to rock-wallaby populations until sufficient natural food resources and water become available again in the landscape, during post-fire recovery."
Sadly, it's not just wallabies that have suffered major losses in population due to the fires. Recovery efforts are underway in different sections of Australia, which include areas such as Kangaroo Island where tens of thousands of koalas have been killed due to the blazes.
The fires continue to ravage on in NSW, however, they are not deemed as emergencies at the moment.