Make a Habitat of Hope Reality

  • Government
  • Asia Pacific

How a team of rescuers moved rapidly after a wildfire to save Australia’s Kangaroo Island for future generations.

Before the pandemic took hold, horrific wildfires swept through Australia and put many parts of the country and its wildlife in danger. After devastating 32,000 square miles of Australian forest (equivalent to the size of Ireland), the wildfires spread to Kangaroo Island, causing devastation deemed among the worst in modern history. But even with the damage these fires caused, the recovery project undertaken by local ecologists was truly incredible.

Bush fires have always threatened this island where communities and families share a kind of paradise with kangaroos, koalas, dunnarts and bees. But no one could have predicted the scale of fire that ravaged Kangaroo Island. When lightning struck in January, it started a fire that spread across half of the land. It tore through natural habitats, farms, and homes, and left masses of animals burned and in desperate need of help. Tens of thousands of animals died in the blaze.

To tackle the chaos, local ecologists collaborated with the South Australian Veterinary Emergency Management, the Australian army’s Joint Task Force, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), Zoos SA, and local veterinarians to treat the animals.

Without stopping to ask permission, they moved in rapidly with a flexible approach made to leave no species behind. This started with an assessment of the damage from a field hospital, identifying animals that had survived to maximize their resources to help keep them alive. Then, they developed a project plan to protect animals from the aftermath, while deciding how to best to use their volunteers, funding, fences, aerial food drops, and food and water stations, constantly adapting along the way.

Thanks to the team’s quick thinking and flexible ways of working, Kangaroo Island has experienced new growth and is now on a path to recovery. Threatened species, lives, and land have been protected, but the team can’t stop just yet. Due to the impact of the fires, the team is futureproofing the environment and preparing Kangaroo Island to meet dangers in the future—a project never truly finished. They might not be able to stop fires from happening, but with fierce determination, collaboration, and organization, they can stop a National Park from disappearing forever, while giving creatures an island off Australia on which they can survive and thrive. This team has truly shown how you can make a habitat of hope for future generations reality.

Make Reality Survey

Is your organization ready to create the future? See how you stack up against global business leaders in our Make Reality survey.

The changing business climate continues to test people and organizations with business leaders juggling multiple priorities.   What are you most determined to prioritize to empower your company?