Thursday, 30 January 2014

All Creatures Deserve Your Help

Would you save a wild animal in distress?

Hot weather harms wildlife as much as it does to humans and pets.

The heat is so dangerous to our native creatures, it often destroys their feed and water, it can make them ill and confused. Many times there is no where for them to go. We've made it even harder for the wildlife to survive hot days with boiling bitumen, arsonists, and little trees for the creatures to hide under.

There are things that we can do to save those poor animals in heat stress and the Macedon Ranges Wildlife Network are the people who have some answers. A rescuer attended a call out in Diggers Rest, just after the fire on the Calder Freeway. A group of nine musk lorikeets were sitting on the ground under a resident's tree. Unfortunately four had already died from heat and possible smoke inhalation. With the resident's assistance, volunteers managed to get water to the others, and four were taken into care, one died in transit.

On hot days, you can help our wildlife by leaving containers of water out where you most commonly see the animals.

Containers should not be metal, as these heat very quickly. Terracotta pot plant bases or ice cream containers are ideal. Place these containers in a shaded area and ensure that you place a stick against the inside edge of the container of water (see photos), as often small animals will fall into the water while having a drink and drown because they can't get out.

If you have a koala on your property, please leave a container of water at the base of the tree they are in.

For possums, if you can, also leave out some fruit, they love grapes, watermelon, apple or pear beside the water.

Please also leave these animals in peace. As much as it is wonderful to see these animals close up, it can place more unnecessary stress on them in these very hot conditions to have humans around them. And please keep your dogs and cats away from where you have left the water containers.

Water, shade and peace will help an animal sufferring from heat exhaustion. Symptoms may include listlessness, confusion, and heavy breathing or panting. Examples of animals suffering from heat exhaustion may include the following :-
  • Possums appearing on people's verandahs;
  • Koalas sighted either on the ground or sitting low in trees;
  • Roos not bothering to move off when approached.
If the heat exhaustion appears severe, or does not improve after the animal has had a drink, Please call Wildlife Victoria's 24hr Emergency line on 13 000 94535.

Also watch for more animals on the roads. Kangaroos, lizards, wombats and emus may be in search of water and too drowsy to see you coming.

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