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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, nearly 3 billion animals were lost or displaced 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, School of Life and Environmental 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.

Arboreal Water Drinkers Working with Dr Mella 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 WWF Australia, Robert Frend from Wildsip Pty Ltd who designed and produces the TREE TROFF® drinkers, Reece and their suppliers, 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, and in areas where drinkers will support wildlife recovery or minimise risk for wildlife re future emergencies, with the aim of having all drinkers installed before summer 2020/2021, to help wildlife during our hottest months. To find out more please review these frequently asked questions.

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