The Australian government is throwing some serious money at carrot drops. Over the last week, the New South Wales (NSW) National Parks and Wildlife Service began airdropping carrots and sweet potatoes from helicopters to starving wildlife affected by the nation’s record brush fires, now estimated to have killed more than 800 million wild animals. Missions were flown over 11 separate sites in the Capertee and Wolgan valleys, Yengo National Park, Kangaroo Valley, Jenolan, Oxley Wild Rivers, and Curracubundi national parks.
Officially dubbed “Operation Rock Wallaby,” the mission was designed to feed at-risk colonies of endangered brush-tail rock wallabies who have seen large amounts of their habitat destroyed in the ongoing conflagrations. This morning, the government announced $50 million in new funding for “emergency wildlife and habitat recovery,” with half that amount earmarked for activities, including “emergency intervention actions” such as these airdrops. Environment Minister Matt Kean said the food drops are part of a coordinated wildlife recovery effort across NSW.
Kean said, “This is the most widespread food drop we have ever done for Brush-tailed rock wallabies and will help maintain these colonies and allow them to recover. 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."