"This is the most widespread food drop we have ever done for brush-tailed rock-wallabies," said Matt Kean, minister of energy and environment

By Dave Quinn
January 13, 2020 11:57 AM

The New South Wales government is working to help feed hungry wildlife left starving by the deadly Australian bushfires, which have claimed the lives of at least 27 people and an estimated one billion animals so far.

Over the weekend, officials launched Operation Rock Wallaby, a bid to help save the endangered brush-tailed rock-wallaby, Australia’s 9 News reported.

The post-fire wildlife recovery effort mission found the state government dropping nearly 4,500 lbs. of sweet potatoes and carrots on a total of 11 different brush-tailed rock-wallaby colonies, according to ABC News and a release obtained by CNN.

Click here for more information on how to help those affected by the Australian fires.

Matt Kean, minister of energy and environment, shared photos from the vegetable-drop on his Facebook page.

The provision of supplementary food is one of the key strategies we are deploying to promote the survival and recovery of endangered species like the brush-tailed rock-wallaby,” Kean said in a statement, the Huffington Post reported. “Initial fire assessments indicate the habitat of several important brush-tailed rock-wallaby populations was burnt in the recent bushfires. The wallabies typically survive the fire itself, but are then left stranded with limited natural food as the fire takes out the vegetation around their rocky habitat.The wallabies were already under stress from the ongoing drought, making survival challenging for the wallabies without assistance.”

“This is the most widespread food drop we have ever done for brush-tailed rock-wallabies,” Kean added. “At this stage, we expect to continue providing supplementary food to rock-wallaby populations until sufficient natural food resources and water become available again in the landscape, during post-fire recovery.”

RELATED: Barack Obama Says Australia Fire Crisis Is an Example of ‘Very Urgent’ Effects of Climate Change

Since September, high temperatures and dry conditions have fueled the blazes in Australia, which have so far burned through more than 15.6 million acres, according to the BBC.

Thousands of homes and buildings have been destroyed.

In the state of New South Wales, which shares a border with Victoria, 2,500 firefighters were deployed to battle blazes in that area alone. According to the New South Wales Rural Fire Service, as of midnight on Saturday, there are 147 fires in the state. Of those blazes, 67 are not contained, with officials warning residents to be wary of “strong and gusty winds.”

Around 1.25 billion animals are estimated to have died due to the blazes, according to the World Wildlife Fund. Thousands more are believed to be injured and homeless.

For the brush-tailed rock wallabies, according to Australia’s Department of Environment and Energy website, most of the 15 species in Australia are considered threatened and have disappeared. In New South Wales, they’re officially endangered.
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