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WIRES' advice on how to help bushfire affected wildlife

WIRES is receiving numerous calls from concerned members of the public across NSW regarding the fate of our wildlife in the bushfire areas, along with many requests of how to help. 

WIRES volunteers are on standby to enter fire grounds once the RFS and National Parks and Wildlife Services (NPWS) declare an area safe to access, however this can take up to three weeks after a fire has passed through. WIRES commends its dedicated volunteers who continue to rescue injured wildlife in these treacherous conditions and thanks the Rural Fire Service members who patrol many of the potential hot spots making sure WIRES volunteers stay safe.

The current bushfires have come on top of the worst drought in decades and our wildlife is in need of assistance like never before with over 1 million hectares of native habitat destroyed this year alone due to fires. WIRES is already coping with an unprecedented number of orphaned animals either abandoned due to the drought and/or the result of road incidents as well as displaced animals from the bushfires. 

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.

• Please 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 we 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 so 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. If you do find any animal trapped call WIRES immediately on 1300 094 737 for advice.

You can also assist WIRES in its mission to rescue and rehabilitate bushfire affected native animals by donating to the WIRES Emergency Fund at all gifts $2 and over are tax-deductible. 

For more information please email

About WIRES (NSW Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service Inc.)
WIRES is Australia's largest wildlife rescue organisation and has been rescuing and caring for native animals for over 30 years. It officially launched as a not-for-profit organisation in March 1986 with its mission to actively rehabilitate and preserve Australian wildlife and inspire others to do the same. WIRES has 28 branches and over 2500 volunteers who are involved in the rescue and care of wildlife in NSW and they assist many thousands of sick, orphaned, injured and displaced animals every year.
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