Local rescuer the face of Regenerate Australia
A TORQUAY-based wildlife rescuer is the face of a $300 million initiative aiming to kickstart the nation’s regeneration following the devastating bushfires.
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) launched a new campaign on July 18, titled Regenerate Australia, shot from the perspective of animals who faced habitat loss and devastation during the 2019/2020 bushfires.
The familiar face rescuing the koala in the campaign is Jodie Oliver, an independent rescuer under Wildlife Victoria with more than 30 years’ experience who also works with the Marine Response Unit and local shelters.
Ms Oliver said she has been unofficially rescuing animals since she was a little girl both locally and internationally.
“It goes back to my grandparents, they taught me to be gentle with animals and humanity in general which was really lovely,” she said.
The campaign program was announced in late 2020 with an ambitious goal to double koala numbers on the east coast and fund habitat recovery projects.
Ms Oliver said she was recommended for the campaign which sought local authentic rescuers, farmers and Indigenous rangers.
“It happened pretty quick, this all happened within two days,” she said.
In the campaign, Ms Oliver can be seen performing a mock koala rescue filmed at the West Barwon Reservoir in a recently backburned area.
Other local locations included the Freshwater Creek Farm and Jirrahlinga Koala and Wildlife Sanctuary.
The campaign, while appealing to the Australian identity, transports viewers into a wombat burrow during a fire storm, behind the scenes at a koala hospital and taking flight with a flock of cockatoos.
In a bid to restore the loss of habitat, the campaign finishes with the message “plant a tree to Regenerate Australia now”.
“It is an honour to be a part of the WWF campaign,” Ms Oliver said.
“I have been following them for decades and it is a fantastic campaign and it inspires people to plant trees and to get behind projects like this and Spring Creek.”
While noting that recovery from a disaster takes time, the campaign calls on viewers to create action and to be proud of the natural qualities that make Australia home.
A tree will be planted on behalf of every person who signs up to support the Regenerate Australia campaign that appears on the World Wildlife Fund Australia website.
It is a multi-year campaign that will repair the past damage while future-proofing Australia against a changing climate.
“I am passionate about educating and getting people to do more for the environment,” Ms Oliver said.
“This campaign comes from the heart and I feel like in the last couple of years with lockdowns people are appreciating nature more than ever.
“I think the whole message is inspiring for us to regenerate the future, for the kids, the wildlife and the landscape.”