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Rescuing Injured Wildlife

Unfortunately it is not uncommon to see injured wildlife, particularly on the roads. Here are some steps to follow if you find an injured wild animal or bird.

  • Pick the animal up in a towel or blanket.
  • Place the animal in a cardboard box lined with an old towel or blanket. Make sure the box has some ventilation holes.
  • Make sure the box is placed securely in the car, not the boot, and that the animal can not escape from the box.
  • If you cannot obtain immediate assistance, keep the animal in a warm, dark place and keep noise to a minimum to avoid stress.
  • Do not offer the animal any food or water.
  • Take the animal to your nearest vet or contact your local wildlife rescue organisation or government wildlife authority as soon as possible.

Sometimes baby birds are found, but they do not always need rescuing. They are often left by their parents while they go out looking for food. Unless the bird is in immediate danger it is best if you just watch it and make sure that its parents return to care for it. Removing a baby bird unnecessarily from its parents can be detrimental to their well being. If in doubt contact your local wildlife organisation for advice.

If you find a kangaroo, wallaby, possum, koala or wombat that has been injured, try and check the pouch to see if their is a joey. It is possible for joey’s to survive several days in the pouch after the mother has died. If there is a joey, do not remove it from the pouch. Either take the mother to a vet or contact your local wildlife organisation for assistance.

Do not attempt to handle snakes or bats as they can be very dangerous and cause serious injury or illness if you are bitten. If you find a snake or bat that is in need of assistance contact your local vet, wildlife rescue organisation or government wildlife authority for advice on what to do.

Your safety should always be considered when helping an animal and you should only attempt to rescue an animal if it is safe for you to do so. When handling any injured wild animal it is very important to be cautious, calm and quiet. When an animal is injured the are already stressed and having a human, a possible predator, coming close to them can be frightening. Out of fear the animal may become aggressive and try to struggle or defend themselves. It is possible that a person could be injured or the animal may hurt themselves further. Large animals like kangaroos, wallabies and koalas are very strong and can be dangerous, especially when stressed or injured. If they must be handled, do so with extreme care, however it is best if you can contact a vet or wildlife rescue organisation or government wildlife authority, for help or advice.

If you are trying to find a local wildlife organisation the Australian Fauna Care website has a directory service which can locate local wildlife carers by entering you postcode. Alternatively if you require assistance or advice you can contact your local veterinarian clinic who should be able to help you.

Further information on how to help injured wildlife and who to contact if you find injured wildlife can be found at the following websites.

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