Over 50 threatened fauna species including Regent Honeyeaters, Platypus, Koalas and Greater Bilbies have benefitted from the landmark WIRES Landcare Wildlife Relief and Recovery Grants Program – one of the largest donation-driven wildlife grants programs in Australia.
Launched in April 2020, the program provided $1.185 million to 49 bushfire recovery projects and 15 drought resilience projects which were implemented by 64 landcare groups across the country. Over 5000 people took part in the projects which saw almost 100,000 plants established, over 1,900 nest boxes installed, and 435 biodiversity surveys carried out.
WIRES CEO Leanne Taylor hailed the outstanding results delivered through the partnership.
“After one of the worst environmental disasters this landscape has ever known, the progress and results produced by the WIRES Landcare Wildlife Relief and Recovery Grants Program are indicative of the connection and solidarity the Australian people have with our native species.
“Committed to preserving Australian wildlife, habitat and local communities from the effects of climate change, this powerful union between our organisations represents the overwhelming beneficial impact working together can achieve for wildlife, particularly threatened species.
Landcare Australia CEO Dr Shane Norrish applauded the work of the landcare volunteers and their local communities, saying that it demonstrated the strength of the Australian landcare movement.
“These projects showcase how passionate Australians are about protecting our wildlife and biodiversity. An estimated 3 billion animals across Australia were impacted by these catastrophic fires and these projects have been one of the first steps toward recovering from the disaster and building resilience for future events.
“Faced with the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic, landcarers across Australia have gone above and beyond to ensure these projects go ahead. We’ve seen a huge breadth of work including habitat revegetation for fire impacted animals such as Glossy Black Cockatoos, Regent Honeyeaters and Koalas, to urgent control of post-fire weed growth and fencing of critical ecosystems. It’s incredible and shows just how powerful Australia’s landcare movement is.
CASE STUDY: Border Ranges Richmond Valley Landcare Network – Recovery of aboreal mammals in fire affected Rappville (NSW)
Heavily affected by bushfires in late 2019 and with 21 homes in the area destroyed, landcarers across the Rappville region were thrilled to receive almost $20,000 in funding as part of the WIRES Landcare Wildlife Relief and Recovery Grants Program.
In late 2020, 65 landcarers from the Border Ranges Richmond Valley Landcare Network came together for three workshops on wildlife recovery. 120 nest boxes and carved hollows were created with boxes installed in the community – including at Rappville local school. The nest boxes were monitored during 2021 and were found to have quickly become homes for gliders, possums, native birds and Peron’s Tree Frog.
Sites that had experienced a greater fire impact showed higher occupancy rates, illustrating the demand for nest boxes as supplementary habitat.
“A great sense of optimism and celebration was shared within the group of landholders involved in the project when signs of occupation were found within some of the installed nest boxes,” said local Landcare Coordinator Emma Stone.
“Sharing of this success with friends and neighbours has triggered an expanded interest in nest boxes across the broader community, and further interest in other Landcare projects,” said Ms Stone.
Landcare Australia is a national not-for-profit organisation established more than 30 years ago that supports the landcare community with funding, capacity-building, on-ground projects, information, networking and promotion of landcare achievements. Landcare enables people to actively care for the natural environment in their community.