Mammals, birds and reptiles need your help to survive! Unprecedented bush fires around the Blue Mountains and across NSW have had a devastating impact on local wildlife with major loss or destruction of fauna habitats, refuges and food sources. Animals are under considerable stress and in these conditions there is often much displacement.
- Provide drinking water for all types of animals, birds and reptiles.
- Birds - a range of shallow curved-floored bowls and bird baths can be used by both large and small birds. Keep in a shady but open area and where possible place near a shrub to provide refuge.
- Terrestrial (land) animals – many terrestrial animals may need to drink including reptiles, echidnas and bandicoots. Poultry drinkers are better than open dishes.
- Arboreal (tree) mammals – some species such as the Greater Glider and Ringtail Possum receive adequate water from their diet, but supplementary water can be provided by securing a Poultry Drinker in branches of trees using ropes and ladders.
- Things to think about:
- Be aware of predators - keep pets (cats and dogs) away and raise water on a pedestal to limit predation.
- Reduce risk of animals drowning - avoid deep dishes that limit access in and out
- Avoid using metal bowls that heat up in the sun.
- Place water and refuges near trees and shrubs
- Provide shade and safe refuge where possible such as rocks, logs, pipes and man-made structures.
- Keep water clean and refilled.
- Please consider keeping your cats and dogs inside.
- Some NGOs and government agencies are undertaking food drops and there are organisations collecting donations to purchase special food pellets.
- There are some increased risks of leaving food out including predation risk, nutritional problems and competition from aggressive animals.
More information from wildlife care and rescue organisations
Peter Ridgeway, Senior Land Services Officer (Biodiversity) at Greater Sydney Local Land Services, has created a series of useful fact sheets that you can read here.
- Take domestic animals with you if you evacuate or keep cats indoors and dogs under control wherever possible so that wildlife can flee safely through your yard if needed.
- 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 if they fall in.
- Keep a cardboard box and towel in the boot of your car in case you find an injured animal that you can safely contain without putting yourself in any danger.
- If you rescue an animal that has been burnt, do not attempt to feed it, please wrap it loosely, ideally in 100% cotton fabric, place it in a ventilated box with a lid and keep it in a dark, quiet place whilst waiting for a rescuer or for transport to the nearest vet.
- If you can safely take injured animals to your nearest vet please do so, as injured animals will require urgent vet assessment. If you can please also call WIRES to let them know which vet you’ve taken the animal to so they can follow up with vet to bring the animals into care when they are ready.
- Do not approach injured snakes, flying-foxes, large macropods (kangaroos, wallabies etc.), raptors (birds of prey) or monitors (lace monitors, goannas etc.) as these must be rescued by trained specialists, for these species please call WIRES first for rescue assistance on 1300 094 737.
- If you own a swimming pool there are some simple things you can do to assist wildlife who may be seeking water. Always drape something over the edge of your pool so that animals have a surface to grab hold of and climb out. A length of heavy-duty rope or even a body-board, secured at one end to something heavy outside the pool, is ideal as it does not absorb water and provides a platform for an exhausted animal to rest on. Pool steps are also frequently too high to allow animals an easy exit and placing bricks or large stones to the side of each step can make it easier for animals to gain a foothold and climb out. Always check your pool regularly (twice daily) including in the skimmer box. If you do find any animal trapped in a pool, call WIRES immediately on 1300 094 737 for advice.
Please remember WIRES is a registered charity and they rely on the generosity of the public to continue their rescue and care services.
For more information please visit WIRES.
If you can wield a needle, thread or hook there are many craft projects that can assist in the care of native animals, such as pouches for rescued joeys. Contact your local animal rescue organisations to find out what they need, then get making! There are many patterns and tutorials available online. The Animal Rescue Craft Guild has collated much of this information to make it easy for you.
These are some of the organisations providing urgent care for wildlife impacted by bush fires:
- WIRES Wildlife Rescue Line: 1300 094 737 (13000 WIRES)
- Animal Rescue Collective ARC
Download Council's fact sheet
Council has collated the useful information on this page into a fact sheet.