Posted on 13th November 2019 by Media Relations
The veterinary team from Taronga’s Wildlife Hospital share their advice for caring for fire affected native wildlife.
Put your own safety first
Consider your own safety when approaching wildlife that may be injured through bushfires. Be aware of ongoing danger from fire, embers, downed power lines or trees and only attempt to rescue animals if it is safe to do so. Bats should only be handled by a trained person who has appropriate vaccination. Snakes should be handled by a trained reptile handler unless confirmed as non-venomous.
When picking up an injured animal use a towel or gloves to prevent injury to yourself.
Keep the animal cool (not cold) and in a quiet area
Animals may be affected by heat during fires and hot weather, but may also rapidly lose body temperature if large burns are present. It is best to keep them at comfortable room temperature. It is a good idea to keep a cardboard box or light pillow slip in your car to contain injured wildlife rather than keeping it wrapped in a towel.
When transporting an injured animal, turn on the car air conditioner, turn off the radio and get the animal to help as soon as possible. If you cannot transport it immediately, keep it in a quiet, dark room. Do not disturb the animal once rescued as it will be highly stressed and frightened. Minimise noise (e.g. radios, loud voices) and keep household pets away.
It is okay to offer the animal a shallow dish of water to drink. Water may also be offered from a syringe or dropper but do not force the animal to drink.
Seek veterinary care as soon as possible
It is essential that the animal gets assessed by a veterinarian as soon as possible. The treatment and care will depend on the species and the extent of its injuries. Do not attempt to treat the animal yourself and do not apply cream or ointments to injuries. Take injured wildlife to your local vet, or call WIRES (1300 094 737) or Sydney Wildlife Carers (9413 4300) for assistance. You can also call the Taronga Wildlife Hospital for advice on 9978 4785.