I've found an injured (sick, orphaned or dead) native wildlife animal.
What do I do?
Personal safety is first and foremost.
Injured animals don’t know if you are going to help them or harm them. They may kick, scratch or bite.
If you are in a vehicle, turn your hazard lights on. Try to warn oncoming vehicles to slow down.
Approach with Caution
Speak quietly and try not to frighten the animal. Remember that injured wildlife will be very scared and in pain.
Keep well away from any animal that may be venomous or dangerous, particularly snakes, goannas, flying foxes or other kinds of bat.
Keep all pets and children away.
Do not pat wild animals as you would a dog or cat as it is stressful for them.
Remove from Road
When it is safe to do so, move the animal off the road.
If it is dead move it well away from the road to avoid a second kill. Birds such as eagles and hawks like to feast on dead wildlife.
If the animal you are with is a deceased marsupial ALWAYS CHECK THE POUCH!
Kangaroos, wallabies, possums, koalas and wombats are often killed on roads leaving orphaned pouch young still alive.
Removing a Very Young Joey
If there is a live joey it needs to be carefully removed from the pouch.
Very young joeys have the teat fused to their mouth to prevent losing the teat when the mother is moving.
If it is still attached to a teat, you may need to cut the whole teat off rather than risk permanent injury to its mouth which would severely impact the chance of survival. This may be unpleasant but you cannot leave a live joey to die.
Obviously, before cutting the teat, it is very important to make sure that the mother is dead and not showing any signs of life.
Cut the teat at the end closest to the mother's pouch and remove the joey and teat from the pouch. Once the teat is cut, it will deflate and can often be removed but if any resistance is felt, leave the teat attached.
Please view the following video provided by Wildlife Victoria. However, caution in that the female adult possum involved is deceased and the pouch has become tight and needs to be cut to remove the joey.
Older Pouch Joeys and 'At Foot' Joeys
Older 'in pouch' furred joeys can be carefully removed from the pouch as the teat is no longer fused to the mouth as they are able to relocate the teat if displaced through movement.
Sometimes the joey will be ejected from the pouch so be sure to search the area. There may also be an 'at foot' joey, one who is still very dependent on mum but who spends time out of the pouch. They usually don't go far and are often found desperately trying to get back into the pouch.
Then there are the bigger joeys who may be hiding close by in the bushes. As quietly as possible, search the area armed with a blanket at the ready. You may only get one chance to catch it.
The pouch of a wombat faces to the rear to protect the joey and pouch from dirt when the female is digging its burrow.
Small Animals - Possums Birds, Reptiles such as Blue Tongue Lizards
If the animal is small enough wrap it in a towel or place it in a beanie or pillowcase before putting it in a well ventilated, secure cardboard box or container. (Pad the container with towels, a blanket or a jumper to make it nice and comfortable!) An injured or orphaned animal will be in shock so it is vital they be kept warm, dark and quiet. Take it to a vet or wildlife shelter immediately.
Large Animals- Kangaroos, Wallabies, Wombats
For larger animals, you may need to call for assistance. There are several emergency hotlines operating in Victoria. They are able to offer advice, put you in touch with the nearest Wildlife Shelter, Vet Clinic or interstate organisation, or organise to have a volunteer rescuer attend. If possible, stay with the animal until help arrives. If unable to do so, the exact location must be highlighted eg. tying something bright to a post or tree, drawing a large cross in the gravel or by placing large sticks to form an arrow. Make it obvious for a rescuer to immediately spot it.
Animals will often crawl away and hide. Kangaroos with broken legs have been found as far as 1.5k away. Injured animals are easily predated upon, usually by foxes. Foxes are not merciful killers. They will first eat the tastiest bits like the tongue, then tear open the pouch of a female roo to get to her milk, leaving the animal to suffer a prolonged, cruel death. Vixen's will take a live joey back to the den for her cub's to practice their killing technique. The old adage 'Let nature take its course' is a cop-out. Take responsibility, show compassion and do the right thing even if it means being a bit late!
WHO TO CALL
Helping Hands Animal Rescue
As we are only a small group of volunteers, most of whom have full-time employment, it is not practicable to contact us in the first instance.
Please use one of the following numbers. If a report is made to Wildlife Victoria and a member of HHAR is available to attend, the job will be assigned to them.
This will avoid any unnecessary delays and further suffering.
You can call the emergency response line on (03) 8400 7300 between 6.40 am and 8.30 pm, 7 days a week, or use this link to report online.
24 hr State-wide Wildlife Emergency Information Service, not for profit charity. Run by volunteers who are usually available 24/7 for rescues. Please remember we are volunteers so may not always be available but will provide other contacts if necessary.
Wildlife Rescuers are trained to assess injuries to animals as to their potential for recovery and release.
For an animal that is obviously badly injured and where there is a danger to the public or other road users and/or there is likely to be a lengthy delay where the animal is suffering unnecessarily.
WHAT NOT TO DO!
Please do not handle the animal more than is absolutely necessary
Please do not allow the kids to touch it or the pets to sniff it!
Please do not attempt to feed or give fluids.
Please do not keep the animal overnight before ringing for help.
Remember to SLOW DOWN and GIVE WAY to wildlife.
YOUR FIRST AID WILL DETERMINE IF THE ANIMAL LIVES OR DIES!
ALL WILDLIFE IS PROTECTED BY LAW AND CANNOT BE HELD BY MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC.
LIVING WITH POSSUMS
The two main possums found in Victoria, often in urban settings, are brushtail and ringtail.
Protected Species and Illegal to Relocate More Than 50 Metres.
All wildlife, including possums, are protected by law in Victoria. If a brushtail possum has taken up residence inside a roof or garage, it cannot legally be relocated more than 50 metres. Possums are very territorial and may be killed by a rival if moved into their area.
The homes of ringtail possums are called dreys and they are nests made of twigs etc found high in trees. Ringtails are unlikely to make their home in the rooves of homes.
If ringtail possums become homeless, for instance, their tree has fallen down, temporary dreys are relatively easy to make and install in another tree. See the instructions on the WIRES website.
We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land where we work and live, the people of the nation and pay our respects to Elders past and present. We celebrate the stories, culture and traditions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders of all communities who also work and live on this land.
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