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Park management

Bushfire recovery

Bushfire recovery

South Australia’s recent bushfires have burnt over 90,000 hectares of national park land resulting in the closure of some parks on Kangaroo Island, in the Adelaide Hills and in the South East until future notice. 

On 6 February the Kangaroo Island fire zone was declared safe by the CFS, which marked all bushfire-affected areas in South Australia as now safe. 

National Parks and Wildlife Service South Australia (NPWSSA) are making daily assessments of the parks and are working to provide public access as soon as possible. 

The western end of Kangaroo Island, home to the internationally renowned Flinders Chase National Park, was heavily affected by the bushfires — 96 per cent of Flinders Chase and the adjoining Ravine des Casoars Wilderness Protection Area was burnt, and all of Kelly Hill Conservation Park

Which Kangaroo Island parks are open? 

* Flinders Chase National Park has only reopened to commercial tourism operators to provide guided tours along a safe corridor. Please contact a Kangaroo Island tour operator for more details.

Which parks are closed?

The following Kangaroo Island parks are closed until further notice:

The following Adelaide Hills parks are closed until further notice:

  • Porter Scrub Conservation Park
  • Charleston Conservation Park

The following South East/Limestone Coast parks are closed until further notice:

  • Bunbury Conservation Park
  • Carcuma Conservation Park

See the closures and alerts page for up to date information.

When will these parks reopen?

Currently closed parks will reopen as soon as it is safe and possible to do so.

Flinders Chase has reopened to commercial tourism operators to provide guided tours along a safe corridor. Please contact a Kangaroo Island tour operator for more details. 

What is the impact on wildlife? 

Work is underway to support the recovery of South Australia’s wildlife following the bushfires.

Wildlife rapid assessments, on-ground surveys and monitoring are happening to better understand the bushfire impact on native wildlife. This work is essential and is being adapted to COVID-19 social distancing measures. 

The exact number of native animals that perished has not been confirmed. 

Some of the more widespread, abundant and mobile species, such as koalas, kangaroos and wallabies, have suffered significant mortalities, but their populations are expected to recover as the habitat recovers. 

Thousands of hectares of native habitat have been lost and animals have perished. Several endangered species have been severely affected. Specific recovery actions are underway for the Kangaroo Island dunnart and the glossy black-cockatoo.

Land-based food and water drops continue to be delivered on Kangaroo Island for native animals in bushfire-affected areas. 

Feral animal management continues on Kangaroo Island (pigs and cats) and the Adelaide Hills (rabbits). This supports native plant and animal recovery.

Find out more in this Environment SA News story.  

What should I do if I see injured wildlife? 

If you come across an injured animal contact a local wildlife rescue for advice, you can find out more in this Good Living blog.

For future reference, you can also help bushfire-affected wildlife by learning what sorts of food are suitable for them.

 What is NPWSSA doing?

We have already taken action to support park and wildlife recovery, including:

  • Reimagining Kangaroo Island Parks engagement process
    This engagement is underway and will involve the community and stakeholders in reimagining Kangaroo Island parks to support the recovery of the island’s tourism economy, and balance this with environmental recovery and protection. You can get involved.
    Find out more about upcoming reimagine and rebuild works by reading the news story
  • Establishing a Wildlife Recovery Fund
    The Wildlife Recovery Fund is a partnership between National Parks and Wildlife Service SA and Nature Foundation SA to assist with the recovery and restoration of flora and fauna, particularly re-establishing habitat for wildlife in the state’s bushfire-ravaged regions.
    Donate to Wildlife Recovery fund
  • Creating an independent Wildlife and Habitat Recovery Taskforce
    The Wildlife and Habitat Recovery Taskforce has been established to provide advice on the coordination of activities to benefit wildlife and habitat recovery. 
  • Developing a Wildlife and Habitat Bushfire Recovery Plan
    NPWSSA with advice from the Wildlife and Habitat Recovery Taskforce is developing a comprehensive Wildlife and Habitat Bushfire Recovery Plan with the assistance of conservation and rescue organisations, as well as other community and volunteer groups.

  • Using cameras to monitor wildlife
    Cameras have been installed in unburnt areas of Kangaroo Island to monitor wildlife. Once it’s better-known what has survived, options can be considered for how to protect these species.

  • Delivering food drops with the RSPCA
    Land-based food and water drops continue to be delivered on Kangaroo Island for native animals in bushfire-affected areas.

  • Carrying out feral animal management
    A significant portion of the island’s feral cat and pig populations are believed to have perished during the bushfires. However, feral cat and pig management continues on the island to support the recovery of native wildlife. Management actions include working with landholders to report sightings and then implementing control measures such as trapping and humane destruction. 

  • The translocation of Kangaroo Island koalas to Cleland Wildlife Park
    Kangaroo Island’s koala population is unique in that they are free of chlamydia, a disease that is widespread in Australian mainland populations. In a partnership between Kangaroo Island’s Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary and Adelaide’s Cleland Wildlife Park, about 30 koalas have been rescued and transferred to Cleland Wildlife Park to prevent them from dying of starvation and to help establish a special disease-free population on mainland South Australia.

How can I help?

Donate to the Wildlife Recovery Fund

The Wildlife Recovery Fund is a partnership between National Parks and Wildlife Service SA and Nature Foundation SA to assist with the recovery and restoration of flora and fauna, particularly re-establishing habitat for wildlife in the state’s bushfire-ravaged regions. 

News

More information

Kangaroo Island story map

Visually learn about the summer 2019-20 bushfires on Kangaroo Island and the recovery efforts underway.
Click below and scroll to learn all about KI parks and wildlife recovery journey.

Image and video packages

Flinders Chase National Park - Bushfire recovery imagery and footage package is available for promotional use. To request a copy of the package, please email DEWtourism@sa.gov.au

Downloadable fact sheets

SA fire and disaster recovery

Visit www.dhs.sa.gov.au/recovery for the latest state recovery information. If you are not able to access the website please call the Bushfire Recovery Hotline on 1800 302 787.

The recovery of South Australia’s national parks and reserves is ongoing. This page will be updated as more information becomes available.

 *Page last updated: 2 April 2020