Native Wildlife Safety & Health Issues
Accidents involving native animals and motor vehicles are a common occurrence. Ground-dwelling species such as bandicoots, wallabies and echidnas are frequently hit by cars when crossing roads.
Koalas, possums, birds, snakes and frogs are also regular road victims. Native animals are especially at risk at night (many species are nocturnal), during their breeding season, and when leaving the care of their parents (i.e. dispersing, fledging).Habitat loss caused by vegetation clearing can leave native animals stressed and disorientated.
How can you assist Injured WildlifeDisplaced animals wander through unfamiliar territory searching for safe shelter and are at very high risk of violent contact with motor vehicles during this time. Dogs also pose a big threat to wildlife and data shows that at least one koala a week is killed by domestic dogs. It is against the law not to take action to prevent dogs from injuring native wildlife.
If you come across an injured or distressed animal it can be very upsetting for both you and the animal. However, it is always best to take moment and assess the situation first, it is never recommended to place yourself in danger.
A wild animal and even more so, an injured and frightened wild animal can be very dangerous and unpredictable. Even though you may have the very best of intentions and desperately want to help the animal, they generally don’t understand this and may bite or scratch in defence.
If you believe it is safe to pick up the animal or have a blanket or towel to wrap it in or box to confine it, then it is recommended to safely get it to a vet or wildlife carer as soon as possible.
Remember that even the cutest little possum has the ability to bite very hard and can slice a finger with its claws. Never try to pick one up without protection for yourself.
Unless you are a registered wildlife carer never try to care for injured wildlife yourself you could do more harm than good and it is illegal to keep native wildlife without a permit.
Wildlife Carer’sThere are many groups in the community who are registered wildlife carer’s. A registered wildlife carer is a specially trained and experience volunteer who care’s for sick and injured wildlife. Wildlife carer’s raise young babies who have been abandoned by their parents or their parents may have been killed or injured by motor vehicles, cats, dogs or humans. They care for and rehabilitate wildlife of all species until they are well enough and strong enough to be released back into the wild.
Wildlife carer’s are volunteers who love animals, they generally pay for all the costs associated with caring for animals themselves and receive no financial assistance or payment to towards their costs.
Wildlife Spotter CatchersA wildlife spotter catcher is qualified and trained professional who is engaged / employed to undertake and survey of a tree or bushland area prior to any vegetation removal or felling of trees to assess what animals maybe living in the trees or surrounding habitat. A wildlife spotter catcher is responsible for capturing and relocating any wildlife animals that maybe impacted on by vegetation removal and future development of the area. They may also place new nest boxes in adjacent bushland areas (where appropriate) to provide new homes for any animals that my loose their home as a result of the development or tree clearing.
The wildlife spotter catcher is also require to present during all vegetation clearing activities to watch, monitor and capture any animals they may still be in the trees or bushland area during the clearing process.
Useful Contacts for injured, sick or distressed animalsIf you find a sick or injured animal or accidently injure and animal you should contact either your local wildlife carer organisation or vet as soon as possible.
Some local vet clinics will treat native animals for free or contact a local carer on your behalf.
For Further Information
Links and Other Resources
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Useful Tips and Facts
- Create urban wildlife corridors and stepping stones to larger local bushland or parkland areas.
- In nature there is no such thing as waste everything is linked and contributes to the cycle. As a plant reaches the end of its life cycle it is not discarded by nature, instead it provides habitat for animals and food for micro-organisms as it lies on the ground, the waste from the micro-organisms, bacteria and fungi feeding on it replace nutrients and organic material to the soil for new plants to grow.
- Plant local native species
- The best way to attract native wildlife to your backyard is to provide a variety of healthy natural foods in the form of seeds, leaves, flowers, nectar, pollen, fruits and nuts throughout the year.
- The use of pesticides and herbicides can damage your soils and kill non target species. The poisoning of insects with chemicals can also cause larger species relying on those insects as a food source to become sick or even die from eating poisoned insects.
- To create habitat for smaller native birds you can grow shrubs close together to create dense corners or pockets in your garden which will provide protection and refuge from larger aggressive birds such as noisy miners
- Wattles (Acacias). While most wattles only live between 6 - 10 years, they are an important pioneer species which colonise disturbed areas, where other plants find it hard to grow. They improve soil conditions enough to allow other species to germinate and thrive by fixing nitrogen into the soil through their roots and adding high levels of organic leaf litter.