How you can help wildlife in the bushfires
During the fires
The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) are leading the arrangement of the rescue of injured wildlife in firezones. No independent rescuers are allowed on fire grounds unless they have the appropriate training through DELWP and are then requested to attend by Incident Control. We believe a triage centre for wildlife is being set up in Bairnsdale, but if you see an injured animal in a firezone, please report it to the Incident Controller in the region you're in.
If you're driving in an area where visibility is low due to smoke, please slow down to avoid hitting animals that are fleeing fires. A terrified kangaroo or wombat travelling at full speed is surprisingly fast and will appear to come out of nowhere.
Please consider the safety of yourself and those around you before trying to assist any injured animal.
After the fires
Radiant heat from a bushfire can kill a human from up to 300m away, so the horrible reality is that very few animals in the direct path of the fire will survive.
The animals that we stand the best chance of helping are those that fled the firezone or managed to take shelter underground and will emerge from their hiding places with minor burns and injuries over the coming weeks and months. If you see an animal with singed fur, visible injuries or walking as though in pain, please report it to us.
Traumatised animals that escape unharmed may go into hiding for several days after a fire. If you see an animal around your property, please offer it water and report it so that we can assess it.
Displaced animals that have lost their habitat in the fires will be on the move in greater numbers than usual in the weeks following the fire as they seek new homes and food sources. Please slow down and take extra care on the road when driving in areas where there have been recent bushfires. If you see an injured animal by the side of the road, please note its location and report it.
If in doubt, you can always call our Wildlife Emergency Response Service on 03 8400 7300 for advice.
The Australian bush is remarkably good at bouncing back after a bushfire, but it can take several months for food, water and shelter to regenerate, making starvation a very real risk for survivors. We don’t recommend feeding wildlife under normal circumstances, but if you live near a bushfire zone or wildlife corridor, turning your property into a sanctuary for wildlife refugees for a few weeks after the fire can make a lifesaving difference.
If you're on the edge of a firezone, you can help by providing water and safe places to shelter for animals passing through your property.
If you're a little further from the bushfire zone, you can help by putting food out for birds: but it's vital that you do your research first on what native birds should be eating or you could be doing more harm than good (hint: never bread). You'll also need to make sure you clean feeding stations daily to avoid the spread of disease. Birdlife has some great advice on feeding birds after a bushfire.
For your safety, please do not go on to firegrounds to feed animals.
Other useful resources:
- Wildlife Victoria's guide to temporary support feeding of wildlife after a bushfire
- Wildlife Victoria's fact sheet on providing water to wildlife after a bushfire
We are currently receiving hundreds of enquiries a day about volunteering and have had to close applications as we are unable to respond to them all at this time.
If you want to volunteer to help wildlife, please keep in mind that wildlife carers and shelters are so run off their feet during times of crisis that they have limited time to train new people. Unless you already have considerable experience with wildlife or animal care, the best way you can contribute is to make sure you're trained and ready to help during the next bushfire season.
Please visit our volunteering page for more information about types of volunteering opportunities with wildlife. Dates for Wildlife Victoria's basic rescue training sessions for 2020 are still being finalised, but if you submit an enquiry via our website we will keep you updated.
We have been overwhelmed by the kindness of people wanting to donate items for wildlife and are not able to accept any more items at this time.
Some wildlife shelters may have a wishlist of items they need over the coming weeks. We will share these on our website and social media as more information becomes available.
The quickest, easiest and best way to support wildlife shelters and carers in bushfire affected areas is to donate money.
The personal costs to wildlife shelters and carers after a bushfire or extreme heat event can be enormous as more animals require care, and some shelters may lose some or all of their facilities. Each species has a highly specialised diet, orphans need special formula, and the expenses for burns dressings, antibiotics, medical equipment and vet care add up very quickly.
We will be working with affected shelters over the next 12 months to ensure that they have the support they need for all the extra animals that need care and to help them rebuild lost infrastructure.
To donate to our Bushfire Appeal:
Online donations: please click on the big blue donate button, above.
Postal donations: Please send to Wildlife Victoria, PO Box 100, ABBOTSFORD VIC 3067
Account Name: Wildlife Victoria
BSB: 083 004
Account Number: 989 861 477 (Electronic transfers only)
Account Number: 568 047 709 (Over the counter deposits at a NAB branch)
International bank transfers:
Account Name: Wildlife Victoria
Swift Code: NATAAU3303M
Account Number: 083004989861477
Our Go Fund Me Campaign: Donate to our offical Go Fund Me campaign
For information on how funds are being used, please visit our Bushfire Appeal Fact Sheet.
Fundraising is a great way to help with the bushfire appeal. If you'd like to fundraise for Wildlife Victoria, please complete our fundraising application form and post or email it back to us so that we can issue an official authorisation.
If you are setting up a Go Fund Me, our legal name on that platform is Wildlife Victoria Inc.
Unfortunately during times of crisis there are always a few fraudulent fundraisers that spoil it for everyone. If someone reports your fundraiser to Victorian authorities, we need you to be registered so that we can verify that your activity is legitimate.
Wildlife Shelters & Carers