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Water For Wildlife Project

Over the Black Summer of 2019/2020 long-term drought compounded by months of horrific fires took a tragic toll on native wildlife. Millions of hectares of habitat were destroyed, conservatively over a billion animals were lost and the long-term impact of these losses on biodiversity is still unclear.

According to the Bureau of Meteorology 2019 was Australia's hottest on record. Thankfully due to recent rain the coming fire season is expected to be less devastating than last year, however, the longer term climate forecasts are indicating that fire seasons will be longer and extreme weather events will continue to increase in frequency and intensity.

The Expert Panel appointed by the Federal Government assessed post-fires that 119 animal species were at the highest risk of potential extinction, including the koala. Focusing on how best to support wild populations longer-term WIRES began working with Dr Valentina Mella, Postdoctoral Research Associate - Animal Behaviour and Conservation, Faculty of Science at The University of Sydney in January 2020.

Dr Mella's past research had previously found that koalas used supplemented water extensively throughout the year, even during cooler months. Time spent drinking varied with season and depended on days since last rain and temperature. The more days without rain, the more time koalas spent drinking. When temperature was high, visits to water stations were more frequent, indicating that in hot weather koalas need regular access to free water. The arboreal drinkers were also regularly visited by other native animals including; sugar gliders, squirrel gliders, feathertail gliders, brushtail possums, tree frogs, geckos, pythons, a variety of birds including eastern rosellas, musk lorikeets, noisy miners, galahs, cockatoos, butcher birds, kites, apostlebirds and magpies.

Working with Dr Mella and using the design researched to be incredibly successful, WIRES began a million dollar Water for Wildlife project, thanks to the generous support of the global community this year to help wildlife post fires.

WIRES project is proudly supported by Robert Frend from Wildsip Pty Ltd who produces the TREE TROFF™ drinkers, Reece who have generously donated many components enabling hundreds of additional drinkers to be provided and the University of Sydney who will be managing the applications for drinkers and overseeing installation.

At this stage 800 x 220L drinkers are in production and these will be provided free of charge to recipients in fire and drought affected areas, with the aim of having all drinkers installed before summer 2020/2021, to help wildlife during our hottest months.

The detailed application process for those interested in receiving drinkers will be shared shortly. If you would like to be notified as soon as these details are available please register your interest below.

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