How you can protect and save wildlife during the bushfires

CARE: Native Wildlife Rescue is authorised to help animals through Wildlife Rescue South Coast. Photo: Native Wildlife Rescue

CARE: Native Wildlife Rescue is authorised to help animals through Wildlife Rescue South Coast. Photo: Native Wildlife Rescue

Look out for wildlife. That's Native Wildlife Rescue carer Kerstin Schweth's message for the residents, as bushfires continue.

Ms Schweth encouraged residents to call a wildlife group or veterinarian if they come across an injured or burnt animal.

"Don't assume they're fine [if an injury looks minor]. It may look fine but a few weeks down the track infection sets in," she said.

"Most carers are trained to deal with the first aid response.

"Burns victims need to be seen by a vet. Not just for injuries, it can be smoke inhalation."

Ms Schweth also encouraged people to leave out food and water for animals and birds that have fled fires.

Suitable foods to put in feeding stations for wildlife include pellets (except chicken pellets), hay (except lucern hay), rolled oats as well as some types of fruit and vegetables.

It is recommended fruit and vegetables are cut into different sizes to accommodate all animals.

WIRES has the following advice on how the public can assist wildlife during and after the fires:

  • Leave out bowls of water for animals and birds escaping fires - use shallow bowls with a few sticks or stones on one side to allow smaller animals to escape should they fall in.
  • Keep cats indoors and dogs under control so that wildlife can flee safely through backyards and properties.
  • Keep a cardboard box and towel in the boot of your car in case you find an injured animal so you can safely contain it without putting yourself in any danger.
  • If the animal has been burnt, do not attempt to feed it, just wrap it loosely, ideally in a towel or cotton fabric, place it in a ventilated box with a lid and keep it in a dark, quiet place and wait for a rescuer or for transport to the nearest vet.
  • If you can safely take an injured animal to your nearest vet please do so, as it will require an urgent assessment. Please also call WIRES on 1300 094 737 so the organisation can follow up with vet and take the animal into care for rehabilitation.
  • Please do not approach injured snakes, flying-foxes, large macropod (adult roos or wombats), raptors (eagles or hawks) or monitors (goannas) as these species must be rescued by trained specialists - please call WIRES for rescue assistance on 1300 094 737.
  • If you have a swimming pool in the bushfire area pleas drape something over the edge of the pool so that animals have a surface to grab hold of and climb out such as heavy duty rope or a piece of timber secured at one end to something heavy outside the pool.
  • Pool steps can also prove a hazard as can be too high for smaller animals to get out. Placing a few bricks bricks or large stones to the side of each step will allow them to get a foothold. If possible check your pool twice daily including the skimmer box.

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This story How you can protect and save wildlife during the bushfires first appeared on Southern Highland News.