Australia Airdrops Thousands of Carrots, Sweet Potatoes to Wallabies Starving From Wildfires
Carrots to the rescue!
In an effort to help one of the many animal species threatened by Australia's devastating wildfires, officials in New South Wales (NSW) are air-dropping more than 4,000 pounds of carrots and sweet potatoes into the fire-ravaged habitat of the brush-tailed rock-wallaby, an endangered species in the state.
"This is the most widespread food drop we have ever done for brush-tailed rock-wallabies," NSW Minister of Energy and Environment Matt Kean said, according to CNN.
Operation Rock Wallaby 🦘- #NPWS staff today dropped thousands of kgs of food (Mostly sweet potato and carrots) for… https://t.co/Lmb5zC8Xj5— Matt Kean MP (@Matt Kean MP)1578728329.0
Kean called the airdrop "Operation Rock Wallaby" on Twitter and explained in a statement why it was so important:
"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," Mr Kean said.
"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.
"The wallabies were already under stress from the ongoing drought, making survival challenging for the wallabies without assistance."
Brush-tailed rock-wallabies are a kind of marsupial. They live in rocky habitats near the east coast of Australia and can climb trees and almost vertical rocks with their sharp claws and strong legs, according to the Australian Government Department of the Environment and Energy. Most of the 15 species of rock wallabies in Australia are considered threatened. The brush-tailed rock-wallaby is considered endangered in NSW and vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. The IUCN last assessed the species in 2014 and reported that there were around 20,000 in the wild, according to Global News.
In the past week, NSW has dropped almost 1,000 kilograms (approximately 2,205 pounds) of carrots and sweet potato to six wallaby colonies in the Capertee and Wolgan valleys, approximately 2,205 pounds to five places in Yengo National Park and almost 100 kilograms (approximately 220.5 pounds) of food and water in the Kangaroo Valley. Provisions have also been sent to Jenolan, Oxley Wild Rivers and Curracubundi national parks.
Kean said that the government would also support the wallabies by managing predators and setting up cameras to see how many animals were present and whether they were eating the food.
One happy customer 🦘🥕🥕🥕🥕#operationrockwallaby #AustralianFires https://t.co/wtzMgeaX6D— Matt Kean MP (@Matt Kean MP)1578777355.0
"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," Kean said.
Operation Rock Wallaby is one of many ways that Australian officials are working to help wildlife recover from the bushfires, which ecologists estimate have killed more than one billion animals. On Monday, the government promised 50 million Australian dollars (approximately $34.5 million) to an emergency wildlife recovery program, Reuters reported.
"This has been an ecological disaster, a disaster that is still unfolding," Treasurer Josh Frydenberg told the press on Monday during a visit to the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital, as Reuters reported. "We know that our native flora and fauna have been very badly damaged."
The fires may have destroyed 30 percent of koala habitat in NSW, and Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley said that the conservation status of some koala populations might have to be raised from vulnerable to endangered.
The country's most devastating fire season on record has burned since September, The Independent reported. The fires have killed 28 people and torched thousands of homes. Scientists agree that the climate crisis is making Australia's fires worse, according to The Guardian.
"Human-caused climate change has resulted in more dangerous weather conditions for bushfires in recent decades for many regions of Australia," Australia's National Environmental Science Program wrote in November 2019. "Observations show a trend towards more dangerous conditions during summer and an earlier start to the fire season, particularly in parts of southern and eastern Australia. These trends are very likely to increase into the future, with climate models showing more dangerous weather conditions for bushfires throughout Australia due to increasing greenhouse gas emissions."
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This week marks the official start of fall, but longer nights and colder days can make it harder to spend time outdoors. Luckily, there are several inspiring environmental films that can be streamed at home.
1. Kiss the Ground<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="ccc5f0c92a5603e68aec39e56b0db02a"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/K3-V1j-zMZw?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p><strong>Streaming On: Netflix</strong></p><p><strong>Premiere Date: Sept. 22</strong></p><p>Between <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/wildfires-california-washington-oregon-photos-2647585008.html" target="_self">wildfires devastating the U.S. West Coast</a> and <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/tropical-storm-beta-landfall-2647760268.html" target="_self">storms battering the Gulf</a>, the impacts of the <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/climate-change/" target="_self">climate crisis</a> can feel overwhelming right now. <em><a href="https://kissthegroundmovie.com/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Kiss the Ground</a> </em>offers an alternative to all of the bad news by focusing on solutions.</p><p>The film, directed by Josh and Rebecca Tickell and narrated by Woody Harrelson, explains how we can heal the Earth through "regenerative agriculture," farming practices that draw carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and into soil as a way to restore soil health, which in turn boosts ecosystems and food supplies.</p><p>"<em>Kiss the Ground </em>shows how feasible it is to make these changes at a grassroots level immediately and make a truly substantive impact with low cost and easy to implement solutions," Executive Producer RJ Jain said in an email. "This is why I got involved."</p>
2. Public Trust: The Fight for America's Public Lands<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="5338f7a2931e356910026e5fd76fac56"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/jsKMTAaj_wQ?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p><strong>Streaming On: YouTube</strong></p><p><strong>Premiere Date: Sept. 25, 2 p.m. EDT </strong></p><p>This <a href="https://www.patagonia.com/films/public-trust/" target="_blank">award-winning documentary</a> tells the stories of Indigenous activists, journalists, whistleblowers and historians working to protect America's <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/tag/public-lands" target="_self">public lands</a>. The film focuses on three political struggles: the shrinking of <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/tag/bears-ears" target="_self">Bears Ears</a> National Monument in Utah, the mining of Boundary Waters Wilderness in Minnesota and the opening of the <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/tag/Arctic-National-Wildlife-Refuge" target="_self">Arctic National Wildlife Refuge</a> to fossil fuel exploration.</p><p><em>Public Trust</em> was directed by David Garrett Byars and produced by Jeremy Rubingh. Patagonia Films, Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard and actor Robert Redford are executive producers. It will be <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OGjnIG7puzY" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">released</a> on YouTube in time for <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/national-public-lands-day-2640656776.html" target="_self">National Public Lands Day</a>.</p><p>"Our country is fortunate to have millions of acres of public lands, including National Parks, Monuments, Wildlife Refuges and Wilderness set aside for future generations," Redford said. "Sadly, these lands that belong to you and me are under unprecedented threats from the greed of big corporations, eager to weaken restrictions in the pursuit of profits. Many of our current politicians are also to blame. <em>Public Trust</em> tells the story of citizens who are fighting back. It's a much-needed wake-up call for all of us who want to preserve our unique and wild cultural heritage."</p>
3. David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="156438a30836a765d7a92982545fc334"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/B_OFZvAd05Y?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p><strong>Streaming On: Netflix</strong></p><p><strong>Premiere Date: Oct. 4</strong></p><p>Beloved nature broadcaster <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/tag/David-Attenborough" target="_self">David Attenborough</a> has spent his career introducing viewers to the wonders of our planet. In recent years, his footage of albatrosses swallowing <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/tag/plastics" target="_self">plastic</a> in <em>Blue Planet II</em> has been credited with <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/2018-fighting-plastic-waste-2624606566.html" target="_self">helping to ramp up</a> the global fight against plastic pollution. Now, in this <a href="https://www.wwf.org.uk/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">World Wildlife Fund</a> (WWF)-produced <a href="https://www.attenborough.film/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">documentary</a>, he reflects on the defining moments of his career and the devastating changes he has witnessed.</p><p><em>David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet,</em> which was also produced by Silverback Films and directed by Alastair Fothergill, Jonnie Hughes and Keith Scholey, features an intimate conversation between Attenborough and Sir Michael Palin as the broadcaster reflects on his life and a career that took him to every continent on Earth. In addition to streaming on Netflix, the movie will be available in select theaters starting Sept. 28.</p><p>"For decades, David has brought the natural world to the homes of audiences worldwide, but there has never been a more significant moment for him to share his own story and reflections," WWF executive producer Colin Butfield said in a <a href="https://www.wwf.org.uk/updates/david-attenborough-life-our-planet" target="_blank">statement</a>. "This film coincides with a monumental year for environmental action as world leaders make critical decisions on nature and climate. It sends a powerful message from the most inspiring and celebrated naturalist of our time."</p>
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