Animals in danger from Australia bushfires

The Australian government reports that the fast-moving fires and subsequent smoke has impacted wildlife and destroyed areas of their habitat near Wye River, Separation Creek and Lorne.

As a result of the devastating bushfires in Victoria, the effects on some local animals including kangaroos and koalas has been significant, with many more casualties expected in the coming weeks.

A wildlife triage station is being established in Lorne to assess and treat injured wildlife found by firefighters and Wildlife Officers in nearby bushfire areas. Veterinarians will assess wildlife for burns and other injuries, arrange treatment or humanely euthanise injured animals, as required.

Animals that require rehabilitation will be placed into the care of licenced shelters and foster carers from the triage station. For those carers in fire affected areas, Australia’s Department of Environment Land Water and Planning (DELWP) has announced an emergency grant fund for wildlife shelters dealing with injured wildlife.

On the ground, vet and burns expert Dr Anne Fowler is heading up the triage station, coordinating vets and vet nurses.  Dr Fowler stresses that any injured animal should receive urgent veterinary treatment.

The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) has been in touch with DELWP, the government organisation co-ordinating rescue efforts. DELWP reports that the fast-moving fires and subsequent smoke has impacted wildlife and destroyed areas of their habitat near Wye River, Separation Creek and Lorne.

READ: Preparing for bushfire season in NSW

Dr Fowler has requested that any offers of help are restricted to assisting wildlife carers with the most critically needed items, including:

  • Fuel cards – Rescuers need to travel up to 100km to collect eucalyptus leaf for injured koalas to eat, and that equates to around $25 a trip.
  • Secateurs or long-handing pruning shears – If you live locally and have spare secateurs to cut leaf, this ensures that the environment is not damaged and promotes leaf regeneration.
  • Multi-store gift cards – These give people the freedom to buy what is really needed from a variety of stores.
  • Vetwrap and cotton bandages – Animals need dressings changed regularly so a constant supply of these is important instead of mittens.

More updates to come once the fire grounds have been deemed safe by DELWP. If you want to help, please contact local wildlife shelters in affected fire areas to ask them what they actually need.

--JS

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