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Mon Mar 23, 2020, 08:28 AM

Helicopters Dropping Tons Of Carrots & Sweet Potatoes To Wallabies In Burned Oz Forests

The helicopter known as the Squirrel is typically used to douse fires and shoot pests. But these days it has a new mission: scattering tons of carrots and sweet potatoes in New South Wales, Australia, for threatened wallabies on the brink of starvation.

A long-running drought had already drastically reduced the marsupials’ food supply. Then came the bush fires that devastated southeastern Australia in recent months. “There was absolutely nothing left,” said Michaela Jones, a senior project officer at the National Parks and Wildlife Service in New South Wales.

Some ecologists have estimated that more than a billion wild animals were lost in the fires that began burning in July and eventually blackened millions of acres. For threatened species like brush-tailed rock wallabies, conservationists have rushed to figure out ways to support local populations.


In addition to the carrots and sweet potatoes, the helicopter is dropping water. The first time Ms. Jones visited the area, she brought about 50 gallons. In one night, the animals drank almost all of it. “You always think that the animals will just move to the nearest bit of unburned bush land — but where is it?” she said, adding that there was almost no land untouched by fire for 25 miles.



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