My Uncle James Fitzgerald has been rescuing and rehabilitating Australia wildlife since he was a child and now owns and operates a wildlife sanctuary Two Thumbs wildlife trust. The sanctuaries have been used as release sites for native animals by 3 local wildlife rescue groups, Wildcare NSW, LAOKO (Looking After Our Kosciuszko Orphans) and NARG (Native Animal Rescue Group). The wildlife sanctuaries are home for many threatened species, including the Koala, Greater Glider, Squirrel Glider, Rosenberg Goanna and the Quoll.
“The Black Range" fire started on 26th November 2019, James spent about 5 weeks staying at the Majors Creek Wombat Refuge helping them prepare for the bushfires, evacuating wombats from the sanctuary and rescuing native animals from the bushfires around the Braidwood area, including a number of koalas from around the fireground at Nerriga.
On the 29th of December 2019 the "Good Good" bushfire was started by lightning and my uncle had to go home to help with the firefighting effort. James has been a Rural Fire Service volunteer for more than a decade and on the 4th of January 2020 he was helping prevent the advance of the "Good Good" bushfire that has burnt more than 36,000 hectares of what was mostly koala habitat. He and his fellow RFS volunteers were working hard putting out spot fires to slow the spread of the bushfire, but in the distance he could see that his wildlife sanctuary (his dream) was on fire. Eventually it was too dark to see but he knew the horror that was unfolding at his sanctuary, as the wildlife he loves would try to outrun the bushfire. The bushfire burnt 2km into Kalandan Wildlife Sanctuary, stopping just 200m from his house. The burnt area which previously abounded with the sounds and activities of native animals, is now heartbreaking, as not even a bird can be seen.
The Good Good bushfire is unfortunately just one of 3 large bushfires in the area that have burnt large areas of koala habitat. Koala habitat is home to many other important native animals, so in saving koala habitat we are also saving habitat for other species.
Please follow us at two thumbs wildlife trust on Facebook for updates on how we can work together to provide much need support and research to help our wildlife.
- Mel Czelakowski
- Paul Noldus
- Michelle Russell