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  Wildlife affected by fires

The following may provide valuable advice if you are needing to help animals injured by bushfire. Please remember, you must not enter a fire affected area unless you are trained and/or under the supervision of fire authorities.

What should I do if I find a native animal suffering from burns?

It is vital to remember that animals which have experienced, or have been injured in a fire, will be very stressed. It is important to take measures to reduce their suffering as much as possible. Only intervene if absolutely necessary.

Your personal safety is the most important consideration when dealing with injured or distressed animals. All wild animals should be treated with caution. Only trained wildlife carers should handle animals that bite, or scratch, or those that are venomous.

Handling small animals

  • Place the animal in a pillowcase or cloth bag; if neither is available wrap it up in a towel or jumper. It is a good idea to wear gloves, or protect your hands in some other way.
  • Place the animal in a slightly larger box or container.
  • Place the box in a cool, quiet and safe place.
  • Contact a wildlife shelter to arrange to drop off or collect the animal.

Handling large animals

  • Supervise the animal if possible, while keeping a safe distance and without disturbing it.
  • Keep pets and traffic away from the animal.
  • Note the location, and what the problem with the animal is.
  • Contact a wildlife carer who will advise the best action to take.
  • Do not attempt to feed or give water to the animal until you have spoken to a wildlife carer; the carer may advise you differently once an assessment of the animal has been made.

Are their other ways I can help injured or orphaned wildlife?

In line with Victorian law, you must be a licensed and trained carer to rehabilitate wildlife. The best way to assist is by providing financial support to animal welfare organisations, which are always in need of medicines and equipment.

What other steps can I take to protect and assist animals affected by fires?

Due to injuries and reduced food and shelter, native wildlife is particularly vulnerable following a bushfire.

Securely confine domestic animals, such as cats and dogs, which are likely to prey on, or harass native wildlife. Provide watering points for wildlife and remember to provide an exit point with a rock or branch in deep containers to avoid the animal getting trapped.

Refrain from offering feed close to heavily populated areas or where they are at risk from predators. Discuss with wildlife agencies on the best ways to provide food for animals.

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