Australia: a secret mission to save prehistoric trees

While Australia is burning, an unprecedented operation took place in deepest secrecy…

It’s a secret mission to save some of the world’s rarest trees

It took place in New South Wales, an Australian state ravaged by the 2019-2020 bushfire season. These trees are Wollemi pines, a prehistoric species nicknamed “dinosaur trees”. Although some specimens are conserved in botanical gardens around the world. They are nevertheless absolutely unique trees in the wild.

Long thought extinct, they were rediscovered in 1994 in a remote gorge located in a 5,000 km2 nature park. To protect them, their exact location was kept a secret. But in January of 2020, that park fell victim to the flames.

The operation, kept a secret, consisted in dropping fire retardant on the trees and deploying firefighters on the ground to set up an irrigation system to increase humidity in the area. Although some trees were blackened by the flames, they managed to be saved. Nonetheless, the government reiterated in a press release that these wildfires weren’t the only threat to these trees.