The Northern Rivers region did not escape recent catastrophic bushfires, with the Ewingar-Rappville fires taking hold in early October, intensified by widespread drought and record-breaking high temperatures. Coupled with threats such as habitat loss, dog attacks and car strikes, this is putting our wildlife under enormous pressure.
“We noticed changes in mid-August when we became aware of unusually high numbers of animals suffering from food shortage and dehydration. The bushfires compounded the impact,” said Annie Crowley of WIRES Northern Rivers.
Our community went ‘wild for wildlife’ in Byron on 1st March, at a fundraising event hosted by Save Our Species Australia (SOS Oz), a local wildlife conservation group co-founded by Jude Fanton, Suzie Deyris and Cass Lloyd. The vibrant evening of art, auctions and bush dancing to the Larnook Mountain band, raised an incredible amount of over $24k.
Funds were donated directly to WIRES Northern Rivers to pay for much needed possum boxes and intensive care incubators, and Bangalow Koalas to purchase a trailer, large water containers and trees for planting.
“Koalas are suffering from dehydration, starvation and disease. With the constant threat to their fragmented habitat from development and logging it is imperative we address habitat loss now,” said Linda Sparrow of Bangalow Koalas.
“With the assistance from interested landholders, community groups and communities across the Northern Rivers we are making a real difference. To date we have already planted over 22,500 trees and aim to plant 40,000 trees this year alone. Our ambitious goal is to plant 250,000 trees by the end of 2025,” she said.
The Northern Rivers Community Foundation (NRCF) motivated people to dig extra deep on the night, by making a pledge to match every dollar raised. Total matched funds of over $24k have been donated to NRCF’s Animal Welfare & Wildlife Conservation Fund, which has been established to provide ongoing grants to support wildlife projects across the Northern Rivers now and in the future.
“We are overwhelmed by the generosity of our community – and their passion for driving sustainable solutions for our wildlife,” said Suzie Deyris. “The fundraising result was beyond anything we imagined, and NRCF have helped us take that to the next level.”
Cass Lloyd, who is also manager at Marvell Hall, said SOS Oz aims to help build a community that cares for our vulnerable wildlife and environment, through more fun, creative events. If you would like more information, go to the ‘SOS Oz Save Our Species Australia’ Facebook page.