Thursday, January 25, 2018
During bushfires and emergency events, WIRES can be inundated with inquiries from people wanting to assist wildlife.
Many calls we take are from people wanting to assist with the rescue of injured wildlife in a direct way. While these offers are appreciated as it’s very encouraging to know that people want to help wildlife in times of tragedy, it is necessary for WIRES rescuers and carers to be trained and licensed before they are able to do this safely. Only appropriately trained members are authorized to carry out emergency wildlife rescue and care activities and even they must not enter fire areas until authorized to do so by local Fire Control Officers.
Currently, the bushfires are being controlled and an emergency / severe weather event has not been declared, therefore WIRES has not been notified to respond via the Department of Primary Industry (DPI) Agriculture and Animal Services Functional Area.
Bushfires present a significant risk to the safety of volunteers and the activities conducted during and after a fire event are managed by first responder organizations such as RFS, Fire & Rescue NSW, and SES.
First responder volunteers who are authorized to be on the fire grounds do help wildlife where they can. These animals are brought out of the fire zone and taken to vets for emergency treatment and from there to WIRES volunteers for ongoing care.
One of these animals was a tiny ringtail possum joey rescued from the Royal National Park area. She has burns on her tail, ears, and all four paws and is having daily vet checks for signs of respiratory problems. Her WIRES carer, Ludy says she is responding well but burns can take weeks and sometimes months of recovery.
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer with WIRES we encourage you to find out more about becoming a volunteer so that you can join a local branch and assist with ongoing wildlife rescue and care in the future.
In addition, you can also assist wildlife during fires as outlined below.
General advice for helping wildlife after bushfires
- Download our free Wildlife Rescue App and register your email so that you have emergency wildlife rescue advice immediately available if you need it & you can report a rescue to our rescue team direct from the app.
- Take domestic animals with you if you evacuate or keep cats indoors and dogs under control wherever possible so that wildlife can flee safely through your yard if needed.
- Leave out bowls of water for animals and birds escaping fires, and use shallow bowls with a few sticks or stones on one side to allow smaller animals to escape if they fall in. Only place water out for animals on your property. Do not put containers in National Parks or other areas as this can cause pollution problems in the future.
- Keep a cardboard box and towel in the boot of your car in case you find an injured animal that you can safely contain without putting yourself in any danger.
- If you rescue an animal that has been burnt, do not attempt to feed it, please wrap it very loosely, ideally in 100% cotton fabric, place it in a ventilated box with a lid, and keep it in a dark, quiet place whilst waiting for a rescuer or for transport to the nearest vet.
- If you can safely take injured animals to your nearest vet please do so, as injured animals will require urgent vet assessment. If you can please also call WIRES to let us know which vet you’ve taken the animal to so we can follow up with the vet to bring the animals into care when they are ready.
- Do not approach injured snakes, flying foxes, large macropods, raptors, or monitors as these must be rescued by trained specialists, for these species please call WIRES first for rescue assistance on 1300 094 737.
Please remember WIRES is a registered charity and we rely on the generosity of the public to continue our rescue and care services. Donations $2 and over are tax deductible and you can donate online at any time, either once off or become a Virtual Carer by donating regularly.