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Water For Wildlife Project

Over the Black Summer of 2019/2020 long-term drought compounded by months of horrific fires took a tragic toll on native wildlife. Millions of hectares of habitat were destroyed, nearly 3 billion animals were lost or displaced and the long-term impact of these losses on biodiversity is still unclear.

According to the Bureau of Meteorology 2019 was Australia's hottest on record. Thankfully due to recent rain the coming fire season is expected to be less devastating than last year, however, the longer term climate forecasts are indicating that fire seasons will be longer and extreme weather events will continue to increase in frequency and intensity.

The Expert Panel appointed by the Federal Government assessed post-fires that 119 animal species were at the highest risk of potential extinction, including the koala. Focusing on how best to support wild populations longer-term WIRES began working with Dr Valentina Mella, Postdoctoral Research Associate - Animal Behaviour and Conservation, School of Life and Environmental Science at The University of Sydney in January 2020.

Dr Mella's past research had previously found that koalas used supplemented water extensively throughout the year, even during cooler months. Time spent drinking varied with season and depended on days since last rain and temperature. The more days without rain, the more time koalas spent drinking. When temperature was high, visits to water stations were more frequent, indicating that in hot weather koalas need regular access to free water. The arboreal drinkers were also regularly visited by other native animals including; sugar gliders, squirrel gliders, feathertail gliders, brushtail possums, tree frogs, geckos, pythons, a variety of birds including eastern rosellas, musk lorikeets, noisy miners, galahs, cockatoos, butcher birds, kites, apostlebirds and magpies.

Arboreal Water Drinkers Working with Dr Mella WIRES began a million dollar Water for Wildlife project, thanks to the generous support of the global community this year to help wildlife post fires.

WIRES project is proudly supported by Robert Frend from Wildsip Pty Ltd who designed and produces the TREE TROFF® drinkers, Reece and their suppliers, who have generously donated many components enabling hundreds of additional drinkers to be provided and the University of Sydney who will be managing the applications for drinkers and overseeing installation.

At this stage 800 x 220L drinkers are in production and these will be provided free of charge to recipients in fire and drought affected areas, with the aim of having all drinkers installed before summer 2020/2021, to help wildlife during our hottest months. To find out more please review these frequently asked questions.

Program Overview

Eligibility Guidelines

  • Private and public landowners can apply. 
  • The applicant must be the owner of the land or have the authority to approve installation and ongoing monitoring of drinkers on the land.
  • Applicants must be Australian citizens or permanent residents.
  • Each drinker would need to be a minimum of 500 metres away from any other drinker/source of fresh water.
  • Successful applicants will be required to sign an agreement confirming their committment to the program, including prompt installation, supplying pictures post-installation, ongoing long-term maintenance and the provision of ongoing monitoring feedback.
  • WIRES volunteers are excluded from applying as individuals, however a regional submission can be made by WIRES Branches.
  • Corporations are ineligible to apply but they can email support@wires.org.au to register their interest in the program and discuss partnership opportunities to work together to help wildlife on their land where applicable.
Program Schedule

  • Applications are open now - please apply ASAP via the link below
  • Formal reviews of applications will commence Monday 24th August
  • Successful applicants will be notified in stages
  • Applications are due to close 9th Oct 2020 unless available stock has been allocated earlier
  • Signed agreements are due to be returned within 1 week of receiving the offer of drinkers
  • Drinkers are scheduled for delivery by 30th Oct 2020 but this may vary depending on the location
  • All drinkers are scheduled to be installed by Dec 2020

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