Kangaroo Island projects successful in Wildlife Recovery Fund following devastating bushfires

The recovery of the Island's Little Pygmy Possum will be enhanced by a grant. Photo: Topa Petit
The recovery of the Island's Little Pygmy Possum will be enhanced by a grant. Photo: Topa Petit

Almost $450,000 in donations will be granted to 20 Wildlife Recovery Fund recipients across the state to help wildlife and native flora recover from last summer's devastating bushfires.

Importantly, funds support unique projects on Kangaroo Island, including the recovery of the Little Pygmy Possum.

State-based projects will soon receive between $1000 and $50,000 to re-establish habitat, help the recovery and protection of remaining wildlife populations.

The Wildlife Recovery Fund responds fires that burnt 285,000 hectares on the Island and part of the Adelaide Hills, South East and Eyre Peninsula.

It is a collaborative project between the state government and the not-for-profit Nature Foundation.

Environment and Water minister David Speirs said overwhelmingly, 68 applications were lodged.

"The amount of applications received shows just how many South Australians are dedicated to protecting our unique plants and animals and unfortunately we saw much of their hard work destroyed in the summer fires," he said.

The initiative will provide restoration tools including fencing naturally regenerating habitat, weed control, and revegetation, as well as innovative methodologies such as trialling supplementary nectar for the pygmy possums.

Nature Foundation Board Chair Jan Ferguson (OAM) said pleasingly, donations to fund were received from across around the world.

"There was a high level of demand for funds, and this made the assessment process that much harder," Ms Ferguson said.

"Nature Foundation believes in using the best available science, and inspiring people to connect with and conserve nature - this is reflected in those 20 projects that will benefit from the Wildlife Recovery Fund.

"Recipients include individual landholders, other not-for-profit organisations and local universities.

Ms Ferguson assured the generous donors that 100 per cent of donation will be directed to recovery activities.

"...And we encourage those who can, to continue to donate to the Wildlife Recovery Fund to support more projects that help secure the future of our fire-damaged landscapes," she added.

Threatened species to benefit from the WRF include:

  • Bassian Thrush
  • Behr's Cowslip Orchid
  • Diamond Firetail finch
  • Fine-headed Spear Grass
  • Glossy Black Cockatoo
  • Kangaroo Island Dunnart
  • Little Pygmy Possum
  • Malleefowl
  • Red-tailed Black Cockatoo
  • Southern Brown Bandicoot
  • Southern Emu-wren
  • Western Pygmy Possum

Background

Almost $460,000 has been raised (as of 30 June 2020) with donations received from all over South Australia, Australia and the world.

Applicants were able to apply for funding from three different tiers:

  • Tier 1: $1000 to $5000
  • Tier 2: $5001 to $20,000
  • Tier 3: $20,001 to $50,000

Applications closed on Friday, June 12 with 68 applications to the value of about $1.8 million received, meaning the Fund is significantly over-subscribed.

All eligible applications were assessed by expert representatives of the Department for Environment and Water and Nature Foundation, before the final successful list of grantees was approved by the Nature Foundation Board.