SPECIAL REPORT PODCAST: Australia’s bushfires & what’s next for our animals

At least 1 billion animals have already lost their lives in Australia’s bushfire crisis – and this catastrophe is far from over. But while it seems a bit hopeless right now, the reality is that the fires won’t burn forever and our natural environment will eventually rebuild itself. How will that all work?

In this Special Report we chat to 3 wildlife experts to find out what will happen in the months and years after this disaster – and their good news may surprise you.

Professor Christopher Dickman
By December, 480 million animals had lost their lives in the New South Wales fires alone – Professor Christopher Dickman is the globally acclaimed ecologist who originally calculated that number. He talks us through the possibility of extinction, the specific behaviours of fire-affected animals, how our city critters are coping with the smoke, and most inspiringly, explains how our bush will rebuild itself. He also talks about some pretty cool little animals you’ve probably never even heard of, as well as about what’s happening with our bats/flying foxes, potoroos, and the resilience of our wildlife.
Listen: 2:33 to 26.28

Tim Faulkner
Aussie Ark president Tim Faulkner explains what’s happening with our koalas. Before the fire they were already in real trouble due to habitat loss, with experts predicting they were on the trajectory to be extinct by 2050. We’ll need to think laterally to help them bounce back. Thankfully, Tim and his team have just the thing to help them do that, and to also keep them safe for decades to come – the Koala Ark project.
Listen: 26:28 to 39:03

Chad Staples
Chad Staples has long been one of Australia’s favourite wildlifers thanks to his epic work at Featherdale. Now working as the Director of Mogo Wildlife Park, Chad and his team rescued Mogo’s 200+ animals – including everything from giraffes to lemurs to big cats – when the 31,000-hectare Clyde Mountain blaze threatened their home on New Year’s Eve. In this interview, Chad reveals how the rescue unfolded, and he also shares some exciting plans for the park in the wake of this crisis.
Listen: 39:03 to 51:55

What You Can Do
In the months to come we may still encounter animals with burns and fire-related illnesses, so our mate Denis Duggan shares WIRES’ practical tips on how you can help them.
Listen: 51:55 to 53:18

Listen to the podcast here:

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And Omny.

If you’d like to get involved and/or show your support, here’s where to get started: Mogo Wildlife Park, Aussie Ark’s koala project, Wildlife Victoria, WIRES (NSW only), Kangaroo Island’s Dunnarts, Kangaroo Island’s Koalas & Wildlife. If there are any more wildlife-related rescue organisations that you personally recommend, please tell us about them in the comments below.

This is the antechinus that Professor Chris talks about – the most common marsupial on Australia’s East Coast, even if very few folks know they exist! Image: © Rob McLean

*With sincere thanks to the incomparable Denis Duggan for not only being such a fantastic mate, but also for sharing his ridiculously awesome voice-over talent on this episode (and every other WILD LIVES podcast). Absolute LEGEND!

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