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Bushfires and wildlife advice

When bushfires occur the Wildcare Helpline and wildlife rehabilitation centres are inundated with calls from the public needing assistance with injured wildlife. It is encouraging to know that people care so much about our wildlife, but please always remember that your safety comes first.

Many calls we take are from people wanting to assist with the rescue of injured wildlife in a direct way and while these offers are appreciated at times of crisis, it is best for any wildlife found to be cared for by vets or registered rehabilitators. To find your nearest vet or registered rehabilitator call the Wildcare Helpline on 9474 9055.

It is important for people who are in areas affected by fires to keep these things in mind to help wildlife:

  • Do not attempt to enter any fire areas until authorised to do so by fire control officers.
  • Keep pets indoors and under control wherever possible.
  • Leave bowls of water out for animals escaping the fires – but do not leave food out for wildlife in national parks
  • 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, wrap it loosely, place it in a cardboard box and keep it in a dark, quiet and warm place.
  • Then, call the Wildcare Helpline for advice, or take it to a local vet or wildlife rehabilitation centre for assistance if you know where one is.
  • Make water available in bowl or similar.
  • Do not try to feed the animal, as it may impede any treatment.

The Wildcare Helpline’s network of wildlife rehabilitators are dedicated volunteers who in most cases are employed in full time jobs and rescue and care for wildlife in their own time. As such we cannot always guarantee that someone will be immediately available to care for the animal so please be patient.

In the meantime please confine any injured animal safely and keep it warm in a dark, quiet place until you can get it to help. Please do not feed the animal or give it water as this will delay treatment and may compromise the animal's outcome.

If you wish to donate equipment or your time as a volunteer please contact one of the wildlife centres for advice on how best to do so: