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This video is adapted from 10.3390/ani11061515
In the summer of 2019–2020, a series of more than 15,000 bushfires raged across Australia in a catastrophic event called Australia’s Black Summer. An estimated 3 billion native animals, and whole ecosystems, were impacted by the bushfires, with many endangered species pushed closer to extinction. Zoos Victoria was part of a state-led bushfire response to assist wildlife, alongside government, non-government organisations, and key partners. Here, researchers detail the role of Zoos Victoria in wildlife triage and welfare, threatened species evacuation and recovery, media and communications, and fundraising during and after the fires. Researchers provide case studies on the triage, care, release, and monitoring of injured koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus); the evacuation and return of endangered eastern bristlebirds (Dasyornis brachypterus) and brush-tailed rock wallabies (Petrogale penicillata); and the development of nutritionally suitable supplementary food and emergency feeding of critically endangered mountain pygmy-possums (Burramys parvus). Researchers share their strategies for future resilience and readiness for similar catastrophic events, as well as the development of triage protocols, emergency response kits, emergency enclosures, captive breeding programs, and nature-based healing for communities directly affected by the fires. Researchers hope that by outlining these contributions from a zoo-based conservation organisation, other zoos and wildlife organisations, both nationally and internationally, may be assisted or encouraged to commit resources and build expertise to assist wildlife in catastrophic events.