The Surf Coast community is being urged to be take simple steps to protect native wildlife and to know what do when they come across an injured, sick or orphaned animal.
Native animals can be injured, orphaned or killed as a result of human activities or natural disasters and around 7,000 native animals are treated in Victorian animal shelters each year.
Stan Williams, Department of Sustainability and Environment Wildlife Officer said the best way to look after an animal in distress was to call the right people immediately.
“If you hit an animal it is important to check whether they are alive or deceased and whether they have any young.
“If they are alive and need help DSE have a customer service centre which will direct you to the closest local animal shelter or refuge.
“Wildlife can only be taken in by people who have a permit, who are registered wildlife shelter operators or foster carers,” he said.
Tehree Gordon, Jirralingha Koala and Wildlife Sanctuary Founder and Co- Director said it was important that people didn’t try to care for injured or sick wildlife themselves, which could often lead to more damage to the animal.
“People often make the mistake of thinking they should feed them, animals aren’t like humans they don’t need three meals a day,”
The most common injuries amongst the animals being cared for by Jirralingha Wildlife Sanctuary are a result of animals being hit by cars, or attacked by dogs or cats.
A simple measure you can take to protect native animals in your area is to ensure that your cats and dogs are not able to run free at night.
“Kangaroos are often injured by dogs running free at night. The dogs chase them and they run on to the road and get hit by cars,” said Ms. Gordon.
There are many volunteers working tirelessly to care for injured and sick wildlife but more help is needed.
“We are looking for extra people to train to be wildlife rescuers and carers right along the Surf Coast,” said Ms. Gordon.
For more information on caring for wildlife please visit the Department of Environment, Water, Land and Planning website, call the DSE Customer Service Centre 136 186 or contact Surf Coast Wildlife Shelter Group on 0490 035 006.
Have you ever encountered a sick or injured animal? Let us know in the comments below.