Helping wildlife during heatwaves and bushfires
Thursday, November 19, 2015
While most native animals are well adapted to changes in climatic conditions they can still suffer during heatwaves. Animals can cope with extremes in temperatures they are used to, but if these extremes are unusual for a particular area the animals there will struggle.
If you can, please put fresh, cool water out for wildlife. Make sure you have a few sticks or stones in bowls or containers so that if small creatures fall in they can make it back out. Where possible refresh the water frequently throughout the day.
Flying-foxes are particularly susceptible to several days with low humidity and very high temperatures. If you see flying-foxes, young or old, on the ground please call WIRES 1300 094 737 or use our report a rescue form to report. If you see flying-foxes moving to lower branches or to the ground below their roost trees please call WIRES. It is important that only trained and vaccinated carers rescue distressed and injured flying-foxes or bats.
If you are on a rural property and are concerned about water bowls attracting snakes near the house then you can choose to place shallow bowls around the perimeter fences. This can also assist in providing a water source to deter reptiles from seeking water from dripping taps closer to the house.
Animals with health issues, or are very young or old, will find it harder to cope - just like in people.The increasing loss of suitable habitat including the loss of leafy vegetation and older growth trees with hollows for shelter means more animals are at risk in the heat.
Tree hollows are particularly essential for our native parrots and many of our marsupials and as less and less are available for shelter it means more creatures may suffer from exposure and more animals may seek refuge in unusual places e.g. garages, sheds or houses.
Please keep an eye out for animals exposed to the elements, but remember DO NOT approach snakes, monitors, flying-foxes, microbats, large macropods or raptors. These animals require specialist handling and MUST be rescued by trained wildlife rescuers.
Advice for assisting wildlife in bushfire prone areas
If you live in bushfire prone areas please take some time to read a few tips on helping wildlife
If you are in a bushfire area please follow the NSW RFS advice to protect yourself and your family.
If you are in an area near the bushfires you can be prepared to help local wildlife, especially those fleeing the fire front, where you can do so safely.
1. Read, share or download our bushfire factsheet
2. Leave bowls of water out for animals and birds, shallow bowls with a few sticks or stones on one side to allow smaller animals to escape if they fall in.
4. Download the free WIRES Wildlife Rescue app to your smartphone and register your email so that you can report a rescue via email in an emergency, or find a nearby vet.
5. Keep a cardboard box and towel in the boot of your car in case you find an injured animal. If you rescue an animal that has been burnt, do not attempt to feed it, please wrap it loosely, in 100% cotton fabric, place it in a ventilated box with a lid and keep it in a dark, quiet place for transport to the nearest vet or whilst waiting for a rescuer.
All injured animals need vet assessment urgently.