11 April 2023

Volunteers wanted to help monitor bushfire-affected wildlife on the South Coast

| Evelyn Karatzas
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Put up your hand to volunteer and help observe wildlife on the South Coast. Photo: gggpellas, inaturalist.org.

Locals living on the South Coast are invited to offer a helping hand and dedicate their time to observe wildlife post bushfires.

After the 2019 and 2020 bushfires occurred across Australia, many animal species were heavily impacted, with thousands left severely injured or dead.

As part of a collaborative effort to support the recovery of the local wildlife, people are invited to join the local community group, The Coastwatchers Association, become ‘citizen naturalists’ and record their sightings of koalas, greater gliders, glossy black cockatoos and other critters they see in the wild.

This project is funded through Great Eastern Ranges and WWF-Australia as part of a broader bushfire recovery effort.

People involved are asked to record their observations on the nature app iNaturalist, which will then be documented in the Animals of the Eurobodalla and Lower Shoalhaven survey.

The aim of the survey is to record data of various species and uncover priority areas along the South Coast where habitat will be protected and regenerated to assist wildlife.

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The Coastwatchers Association’s Keith Joliffe said the previous bushfires had devastated forests, woodlands and animals.

“Many of those species are still struggling to recover due to the loss of hollow-bearing trees, habitat and food,” Keith said.

“The iNaturalist survey is helping to build a picture of how our wildlife is faring post fire and where animals are located so that we can ensure we are working in the highest priority places.”


Spot a kangaroo on the South Coast? Record it via the iNaturalist app. Photo: Arthur Chapman, inaturalist.org.

The nature app, iNaturalist, provides people with an easy way to record sightings, while allowing them to interact with others, identify various plants and animals and learn about their environment.

There are no special skills or knowledge required to participate in the observations, however, for those who are less tech savvy, iNaturalist additionally offers free training sessions for South Coast community members, landholders and businesses who want to get involved.

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“Anyone can go online and become one of our citizen naturalists and help to support their local wildlife – whether you have a PhD or just love the bush,” Keith said.

“The survey is also a great way to connect with nature and like-minded people.”

If interested in joining the survey, people are asked to visit the iNaturalist website, set up an account by clicking on the ‘Sign Up’ button on the top right-hand corner and then complete a short form.

Once their registration is complete, people can directly join the survey via ‘Animals of the Eurobodalla and Lower Shoalhaven’ on the iNaturalist app or on the website.

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