Animals need help to beat the heat

Wildlife carers have received an influx of Ringtail possums and Phillip Island penguins as a result of the recent heat wave.

A total of eight possums and 15 penguins have been admitted to the Torquay wildlife shelter over the last two weeks.

Ring Tail Possum

Local wildlife carer Robyn Rule said that one of the biggest problems facing these animals is the weather’s effects on their natural behaviour.

“The possums have been affected by the heat because of how they build their dreys (nests made of leaves).  Unfortunately if the hot weather doesn’t go away, the animal’s organs begin to shut down. At that point the best we can do is make the animal as comfortable as possible.”

Of the eight possums which have been admitted to the shelter, three have been released back into the wild, three were unable to recover from the effects of the heat and two are still under observation.

While some of these animals have survived the hot weather, others have been less fortunate.

Of the 15 penguins which were found between Point Impossible and Moggs Creek, only three are well enough to be released back in to the ocean.

A Phillip Island Penguin
A Phillip Island Penguin

Ms Rule said that if a penguin is found on the beach then they are generally there for a reason.

“Penguins come up on to the beach to because they don’t want to drown in the water and because they are severely underweight. Unfortunately that’s just nature’s way and often there is very little we can do to save or help them,” she said.

As a result of this penguins are unlikely to survive their first night in care.

If you come across injured wildlife there are three important things you can do:

  1. Cover the animal with a towel or blanket, so that it’s level of stress doesn’t increase. If it is a hot day, a wet towel is best to try and rehydrate the animal.
  2. If possible and safety permitting, don’t leave the animal unattended, as there is the potential that it could disappear.
  3. Call Wildlife Victoria on 1300 094 535 or the Torquay Wildlife Shelter on 0402 237 600.

Related blogs:

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Wildlife require expert care, Who let the cats out?

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