Australian government airdrops more than 4K pounds of food to hungry animals

Wallabies and other native animals have been left with little to no food as millions of acres continue to burn.
/ Source: TODAY
By Erica Chayes Wida

As more than 1 billion animals have been wiped out by the Australian wildfires, the New South Wales government has found a way to help some at least some of them survive.

On Saturday, NSW officials delivered food to groups of brush-tailed rock-wallabies in parts of the state that have been devastated by the fires. While initial assessments showed that the wallabies survived the fires, their habitats (already disturbed by ongoing droughts) did not. In an effort to ensure their well-being, the NSW packed helicopters full of carrots and sweet potatoes and airdropped them to the native creatures in different regions.

NSW's National Parks and Wildlife Service staff prepare to air-drop carrots for animals in bushfire-stricken areas.Reuters

According to NSW Environment Minister Matt Kean, the wallabies were stranded with little vegetation left in their rocky environments. The airdrop, one part of several post-fire wildlife recovery efforts, was the largest delivery ever made for brush-tailed rock-wallabies. And Kean believes it's paramount to their recovery.

A wallaby eats after NSW's National Parks and Wildlife Service staff air-dropped carrots and sweet potatoes in bushfire-stricken areas.Reuters

"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.

In a week's time, Kean and his team sent around 2,200 pounds (1,000 kilograms) of sweet potatoes and carrots to six colonies in the Capertee and Wolgan valleys, another 2,200 to Yengo National Park and 220 pounds of food and water to each the Kangaroo Valley, Jenolan, Oxley Wild Rivers and Curracubundi national parks.

NSW's National Parks and Wildlife Service staff fly with carrots and sweet potatoes before air-dropping them for animals in bushfire-stricken areas.Reuters

In addition to the mass-scale food deliveries, the NSW will install cameras where they can to monitor how well the wallabies consume the resources provided and see what other types of animals inhabit the areas and need their help. They will also take serious measures to control the rock-wallabies' predators so the endangered critters can remain safe in the face of harsh environmental pressures.