Speed Reads

Australian bushfires

Operation Rock Wallaby is delivering vegetables to hungry animals affected by the Australian bushfires

The government of New South Wales, Australia, is dropping vegetables from helicopters to ensure that the brush-tailed rock-wallabies don't go hungry as bushfires continue to burn across the country.

Last week, officials working on Operation Rock Wallaby dropped more than 2,000 pounds of sweet potatoes and carrots over wallaby habitat. Matt Kean, minister of energy and environment, told CNN that this is one of the "key strategies we are deploying to promote the survival and recovery of endangered species like the brush-tailed rock-wallaby."

The government's initial assessments "indicate the habitat of several important brush-tailed rock-wallaby populations was burnt in the recent bushfires," he added. "The wallabies typically survive the fire itself, but are then left stranded with limited natural food as the fire takes out the vegetation around their rocky habitat." Kean said the operation will continue until natural food resources and water are once again readily available.

It is estimated that in New South Wales alone, close to half a billion animals have been affected by the bushfires, with millions of birds, mammals, and reptiles feared dead. Bats, insects, and frogs are not being counted in this number. Catherine Garcia