FAQs Bushfire Funding

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

The level of compassion for the plight of wildlife and the outpouring of support for our rescue and care work with wildlife has been unprecedented. Please find below the answers to some common questions being received.

How is WIRES spending the funds donated to the Emergency Fund during the 2019-2020 drought and bushfire crisis?

In response to the tragic toll of the catastrophic 2020 bushfires, extreme weather and drought on our native wildlife, we are implementing significant projects to help wildlife more broadly across Australia, including partnering on projects to improve long-term outcomes for native animals. You can read the latest updates on our emergency and bushfire projects here.

Why aren’t carers getting money from WIRES to help animals?

WIRES strongly refutes unsubstantiated claims on social media that they are not releasing funds to people caring for animals affected by recent bushfires or drought. It is essential we confirm what the funds will be used for aligns with the Wildlife Emergency Relief Fund and that we are supporting individuals and organisations licensed to rescue and care for wildlife before approving the distribution. As a registered Australian Charity, we have to be able to accurately report back to our donors, auditors and ACNC how funds have been used.

No licensed carer with WIRES or any other licensed wildlife organisation in Australia, needs to be out of pocket for any critical expenses e.g. food and medication, related to helping wildlife impacted by the recent emergency events. If there is anyone still needing help related to the emergency events they can contact us:


Why do people need to be registered or licensed carers/rescue groups to receive funding?

People need to meet the requirements of their state to legally be allowed to rescue, rehabilitate and release native animals in Australia. WIRES respects these regulatory conditions which create a higher standard of animal care. Each state and territory have a different wildlife licensing structure regulated by a state government body. If there are any questions regarding your individual or group license in regards to grant eligibility, you can contact the team at [email protected]

Does WIRES provide funding to cover the cost of food for carers?

On the 21st January 2020, WIRES confirmed that 100% of wildlife food costs from the approved subsidy list for animals in care, would be covered for WIRES volunteers/branches. This was made possible from the significant community response to the 2019/20 bushfires and will be reviewed on an annual basis.

Between 2014-2019 WIRES conducted an annual Wildlife Food Fund to help raise funds specifically for food, and for several years this was split equally across WIRES 28 branches, prior to that it was given to the branches most in need of food support.

In response to the fires WIRES provided $500,000 of emergency funding to Animal Rescue Cooperative (ARC) which was used for national food distribution to assist other carers and groups. WIRES is continuing to work with ARC to provide support for the distribution of food nationally.

As part of the 2020 Emergency Relief Grants program WIRES was able to provided further food support nationally to licenced rescuers, rescue organisations and vets following the fires.

WIRES is also partnering with Woolworths on their Food for Wildlife Program 

Why aren’t you helping starving animals in the wild?

NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service has to provide approval for any food drops in National Parks for native animals in NSW. WIRES has supported and funded food drops when is has been recommended by NPWS and Wildlife Health Australia – this has occurred post the 2019/20 Australian bushfire crisis.

NPWS has advised feeding wildlife in the wild can be detrimental to their wellbeing so it is an issue that has to be managed with utmost care. If there are any areas where approved food drops are needed we will support them.

What regulatory bodies is WIRES accountable to?

WIRES reports to ASIC (Australian Securities and Investment Commission), the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profit Commission (ACNC) and NSW Fair Trading. As a public charity with DGR status everything WIRES does is checked by two Boards, auditors and the ACNC.

Will the funds received be used to help animals?

WIRES singular priority is delivering the highest possible benefits for wildlife, including the immediate provision of priority assistance for individual animals in distress and the long-term survival of remaining species in the wild. All money received during the bushfire crisis will be directed towards projects that support our native animals. 

Does WIRES advertise as a way of raising funds?

WIRES was gifted a wide variety of advertising by individuals and media companies wanting to help during and post the bushfire crisis - this included billboards, radio campaigns and shopping centres lightboxes/banners. WIRES did not pay for these opportunities or divert any funds that should be used for animal rescue to advertising. 

WIRES will continue to provide updates on where funds are being distributed on our website and social media channels.

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