Report Injured Wildlife

There is only One Rule: Personal Safety Is Your Main Objective, ALWAYS!!!!!!

Never attempt an animal rescue unless it is safe for you to do so.

It's always a good idea to have the phone numbers of your region's, native wildlife rescue services already in your phone. You are most likely to come across injured native wildlife while you're out in your vehicle. It's also a good idea to have the POLICE, LOCAL FIRE BRIGADE, LOCAL AMBULANCE, SES, VET, LOCAL PORT AUTHORITY, RSPCA, and LOCAL AIRPORT programmed into your phone. You never know what you may come across. Always be prepared. It's also a good idea to carry a First Aid Kit, a couple of pillowslips, a couple of towels, a blanket or two, a pair of welding gloves and a pair of riggers gloves in your car.

If you find a dead animal on the side of the road, if it is safe to do so, remove it as far away from the roadside as possible, keeping in mind your personal safety, always. Birds of prey, including Wedge Tail eagles will feed on the dead animal and if it is close to the road, they will be hit by passing traffic and probably killed.

If you do come across a dead female native animal with a live joey in the pouch and the joey is attached to dead mum's teat, please do not try to pull the joey off the teat as this can cause irreparable damage to the joey's mouth (pallet). Pick up dead mum and joey and take them to your closest licensed native wildlife shelter/foster carer or vet and they will have the skills to remove the joey, without causing more damage.

You can fit a lot of different types of injured animals into a pillowslip (birds, reptiles, possums, joey macropods, mammals) etc, for the short term. Unless you are prepared to carry an animal transport cage in your car, the pillowslip will work just fine, if a rescue is required. You should never handle any native wildlife without wearing a pair of gloves, with every animal rescue. All of Australia’s native wildlife has the ability and the courage to defend itself. It is not advised for people to try and rescue an animal that is lively or aggressive.

Some of Australia's native wildlife has the ability to kill, e.g. most snakes, right through to an Eastern Grey Kangaroo. There are many documented cases of injuries and fatalities, e.g. someone approaches an injured roo, it has two broken legs with sharp broken bones protruding, and unfortunately the humans who are trying to help the roo, get attacked. They can receive horrendous injuries from the roo striking out with its broken legs, hitting the human in the groin or the stomach. Some people have been disemboweled. I make no apology for being so graphic. I only do this so you are aware of your personal safety and to make you aware that these are wild animals and if you are unsure, uneasy or nervous, then leave the animal alone and CALL FOR AN EXPERT - A WILDLIFE RESCUE PERSON. And do not rescue a snake, venomous or not.

Unless it is a slow moving small animal, an unconscious animal, or an animal that you are comfortable and confident with, leave it to a professional. If you find injured native wildlife on the side of the road, be aware that you are very close to a road. Make sure that people know that you are there and that you can be seen, i.e. if you’re stopped on the side of the road assessing an animal, put your head lights on high beam and put your hazard lights on.

On all native wildlife rescues I perform on or near a road, I am wearing a high visibility vest, my high beam is on, my hazard lights are on and my roof mounted emergency flashing lights are turned on. And we have two large reflective A-frame caution signs packed in the rescue vehicle that we can use if needed.

So remember rule number one PERSONAL SAFETY COMES FIRST.

Now, if you have come across an injured possum on the side of the road that can’t move, it’s probably been hit by a car. First, you must take care of all your personal safety precautions. You will need a pair of welders gloves, I wear my welders gloves for every Brushtail Possum rescue I do. Before you approach the animal, make sure that any other people who are watching are quiet. You need to keep all noises to a minimum so you don’t stress the animal. Make sure you have everything you might need for the rescue, with you - gloves on, towel and a pillowslip in hand. Approach the animal slowly and calmly, do not make eye contact with the animal. Once you are close enough, drop your towel over the Possum, scoop it up and put it straight into your pillowslip. Tie off the pillowslip, securely, you don’t want an angry possum running amuck in your car.

Don’t try and examine the animal, just take it directly to a Vet or a licensed Native Wildlife Shelter and let them attend to the animal. They will check the pouch, if it’s a female to see if there is a joey in there. So even if mum dies from her injuries, there could be some good come from it if there is a joey. A Vet will know who to call to raise it and a native wildlife shelter will know if the animal is viable and they will know how to raise it. If you are unsure, ring your local native wildlife shelter or wildlife rescue call centre for advice on what to do.

If you find a pinky possum or kangaroo you will need to keep it on a heat source. Pinky marsupials cannot generate their own heat, so you will need to provide a source of heat, a hot water bottle etc. When we rescue a pinky marsupial we put them directly against our skin to keep them warm till we get them back to the shelter and they can then be put into a pouch and put into one of our heat boxes for hand raising. If you do find a baby of any species, it will need heat.

The plan I have given you for a possum rescue could be used to capture a bird or a lizard as well. It will work on almost all native wildlife rescues.

To reiterate, for any rescue: you always approach any animal with all the rescue equipment you may need with you. You approach slowly, confidently, never making direct eye contact with the animal. You never talk to the animal as you approach it, you do not smile at the animal, the display of teeth is seen by most species as aggression.

I hope these words Help with your ability to Rescue an Injured or Orphaned Native Animal in a safe manner. If anyone is in our region and finds injured native wildlife please call us any time of the day or night. We are on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. We will be more than happy to help.