More food drops for bushfire-hit wildlife

Food will be air-dropped in an effort to feed wildlife in Victoria's bushfire-ravaged regions.
Food will be air-dropped in an effort to feed wildlife in Victoria's bushfire-ravaged regions.

Victoria is the second state to airdrop food into inaccessible, bushfire-ravaged regions in an effort to save starving wildlife.

A reconnaissance flight on Tuesday determined the immediate priorities and locations for the drops, while food is being made available to teams on the ground in Buchan and Mallacoota in the state's east.

Zoos Victoria veterinary staff are staffing three wildlife triage centres and are providing special pellets for kangaroos and wallabies, as well as their critically endangered cousin, the brush-tailed rock wallaby.

"Our triage units, assessment teams and experts in the air and on the ground are working hard to get the best possible outcomes for our precious wildlife," Environment Minister Lily D'Ambrosio said in a statement.

"This targeted approach means food relief is being delivered to the areas that will have the greatest benefits for our macropod species."

It comes after thousands of kilograms of carrots and sweet potatoes have already been dropped from helicopters in fire-affected areas of NSW.

More than one billion animals are thought to have perished in the unprecedented bushfires across Australia, but the final extent won't be known for some time.

Data published on Monday by the Department of the Environment and Energy showed 49 species had seen more than 80 per cent of their known or likely habitat damaged in the fires.

For a further 65 species, at least half of their habitat was affected.

The threatened species include hundreds of plants, 16 mammals, 14 frogs, nine birds, seven reptiles, four insects, four fish and one spider species.

Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley will visit Queensland's RSPCA Wildlife Hospital in Brisbane on Tuesday afternoon, having pledged an initial cash injection of $50 million to wildlife and environmental groups.

"The workload here over the last few months has been extraordinary, and it is a tribute to the dedication of the staff at this facility," Minister Ley said in a statement.

"Habitat loss means animals are needing to be kept for longer and that underlines the importance of the Morrison Government's initial $50 million wildlife and habitat restoration package, which seeks to identify habitat impacts and restoration strategies."

RSPCA Queensland Wildlife Hospital Chief Executive Darren Maier said more than 80 animals - including birds, koalas, kangaroos, possums, snakes, gliders and lizards - were arriving at the hospital daily.

"Now is already a peak time for the hospital and the combination of drought and fires has had an extraordinary impact," he said.

Australian Associated Press