Issue 1
Monday, 02 March 2020
Charles Darwin University
E-news
Professor John Woinarski has joined an expert panel to help steer the wildlife recovery in the aftermath of the devastating bushfires
Professor John Woinarski has joined an expert panel to help steer the wildlife recovery in the aftermath of the devastating bushfires

CDU expert helps steer wildlife recovery

By Leanne Miles

Charles Darwin University Professor of Conservation Biology John Woinarski has joined an expert panel to help steer the wildlife recovery in the aftermath of the devastating bushfires in the south of the country.

The group of leading wildlife experts and environment groups have met at Parliament House in Canberra to help guide the recovery process after the announcement of the Australian Government’s $50 million Wildlife and Habitat Recovery Package.

Professor Woinarski’s work has focused on threatened species for more than three decades, and he said the situation for wildlife in the wake of the bushfires was catastrophic.

“The bushfires have set back conservation in Australia for a very long period,” Professor Woinarski said. “Even if wildlife escaped the immediate fire front, there’s essentially no food for them in a burnt landscape.

“There is an immediate need for strategic response. This is an extraordinary opportunity for the governments and the community to help many species recover.”

Threatened Species Commissioner, Dr Sally Box is chairing the expert panel of ecologists, conservation biologists and other scientists, along with environment experts from states and territories to:

* Advise the Minister for the Environment on further critical interventions required to support the immediate survival of affected animals, plants and ecological communities and to control pests and weeds

* Assess and map the scale of the impacts of the bushfires on the environment and prioritise recovery efforts, which will inform development of a strategy for rebuilding populations of native plants and animals and ensuring their resilience into the future.

Following the Expert Panel meeting, the Commissioner also chaired a Ministerial roundtable with leading environmental and wildlife organisations, and zoos, the first of a series of round tables she will hold focussing on the bushfire response.

The Expert Panel includes: Dr Sally Box (Threatened Species Commissioner), Professor John Woinarski (Charles Darwin University), Professor Sarah Legge (Australian National University), Dr Stephen van Leeuwen (Indigenous Advisory Committee), Dr Libby Rumpff (University of Melbourne), Associate Professor Dale Nimmo (Charles Sturt University), Dr Jenny Gray (Zoos Victoria), and Dr Dan Metcalfe (CSIRO).