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WILDLIFE IN BUSHFIRES

Kangaroos in care Photo: Szumai AndersonUpdate: 18th March 2013

 

Victoria experienced widespread fires this season, with regions under threat stretching across the state. Though summer has come to a close and the weather has shifted for now, several zones are still on alert and may still yet produce injured wildlife. Below is a brief update on multiple fire grounds throughout Victoria including information on animals found, in care and those that have been released.


Photo: Szumai Anderson 


UPDATE ON SOME OF THE FIRE AFFECTED AREAS

 

  • Craigieburn fires: The rescue teams in this area are winding down with volunteers checking in every few days to monitor the population of kangaroos in the area. Unfortunately, animals injured as a result of the fires that were not captured earlier are now presenting with advanced wounds lowering their chances of successful rehabilitation. The difficulty of actually identifying the injured kangaroos and then capturing them has risen significantly as the full kangaroo mobs have returned to the area allowing the injured to blend within the group. The use of hay bales and water troughs immediately after the fires allowed the remaining wildlife, particularly kangaroos and local birdlife to hydrate and feed until the earth healed. Kangaroos in care have climbed into double figures across local shelters with most requiring extensive care and bandaging of their paws.

 

  • Gippsland fires: Wildlife volunteers are maintaining close communication with DSE officers in the event of any further wildlife found but at this stage rescue teams are not expecting to be requested for further searches across fire grounds. Shelter operators and carers are continuing the rehabilitation of animals found in previous weeks but new admittances have dropped sharply.

 

  • Kerrie fires: Similar to other fire grounds, now that the fires are extinguished much of the wildlife rescue effort has been scaled down. Calls from members of the public and volunteer searches resulted in multiple echidnas and koalas being taken into care with several more observed in the area. Those koalas observed were given the all clear whilst the two in care will remain for a longer period.

 

  • Grampians: As several regions were still recently burning, volunteers have still not been cleared for most areas. Though teams have been prepared, at this stage they must await call up by DSE when or if required. With DSE and Parks Vic authorisation water troughs have been purchased by Wildlife Victoria for distribution throughout the affected area.

 

  • Kentbruck and Cashmore (Portland Area): The Kentbruck fires saw 27 animals rescued, 4 of which were ringtail possums while the rest were koalas. A great deal of animals required fluids and relocation to a safer more practical site. DSE relocated several koalas in the area whilst a small contingent required euthanasia. Multiple koalas remain in care at this stage. The Cashmore fires resulted in a koala being placed in care with another monitored then released. Sadly two koalas from the fire ground were also euthanised.

 

Update: 19th February 2013

 

Sadly the bushfire season continues with many flare-ups and new fires across the State.

We are gravely concerned for any wildlife caught in these fires and are keen to assist local wildlife groups in all search and rescue efforts to reduce any suffering as soon as it is safe to do so.

Human safety must be the first consideration though. Many of the areas hit with bushfires are still declared unsafe as the continuing hot weather contributes to flare-ups. The very sad deaths of the two DSE officers last week is testament to how lethal these fires can be. The government through DSE and DPI are obviously concerned, as are we, about an area being safe before allowing volunteers to enter to look for wildlife.

UPDATE ON SOME OF THE FIRE AFFECTED AREAS

 

  • In the south west of the State local wildlife volunteers have been allowed to accompany DSE through the area with 11 fire affected animals coming into care.
  • In Gippsland, wildlife volunteers again were able to carry out some search and rescue deployments in conjunction with DSE. A few animals were found and are in care but very sadly many more had to be euthanised due to the extent of their injuries. This deployment then had to cease as major bushfire flare-ups made the area completely unsafe.
  • The CFA pulled a possum and a wallaby out of the fire around Violet Town who are now in care. The local wildlife shelters and rescuers in the area do not believe any further search is necessary.
  • Local wildlife volunteers undertook a search and rescue mission around the Kerrie area (Macedon Ranges) this week after the area was declared safe by the CFA. Three animals were rescued and are doing well in rehab. The search continues by a few very dedicated volunteers working in difficult terrain.
  • The fire raging in the south of the Grampians is still unsafe and is concentrated mostly in inaccessible areas. The local wildlife shelter is working closely with the CFA and DSE and will advise if and when a wildlife search and rescue deployment may be required.
  • The Harrietville fire continues unabated. The local area shelters have reported that the fires are in very remote areas and access will be a problem long after the fires are out and the area is safe.
  • We have received no reports of fire affected animals in the Epping/Craigieburn areas from yesterday’s fires. As this is on the outskirts of Melbourne in a fairly populated area no search and rescue effort will be needed.
  • We have been staying in contact with the local wildlife volunteers in the bushfire areas offering whatever assistance may be needed.


We have also been restocking the emergency response rescue trailers ready for deployment. Wildlife Victoria’s largest trailer known as the “Mothership” is also restocked and ready to be used in a triage situation if and when required.