BE ON THE LOOKOUT: Wires is reminding residents to keep an eye out for injured wildlife following bush fires. This sugar glider Cinders was found after the Tabulam fires earlier this year.
BE ON THE LOOKOUT: Wires is reminding residents to keep an eye out for injured wildlife following bush fires. This sugar glider Cinders was found after the Tabulam fires earlier this year. Contributed

A bushfire's silent victims

AS BUSHFIRES rage across northern NSW, Wires Northern Rivers are reminding residents in fire-affected areas to keep an eye out for injured wildlife.

Wires Northern Rivers' spokeswoman Renata Phelps said during bush fires wildlife are often forgotten about.

"The unfortunate reality is that the majority of wildlife in the immediate area of the fire, those which are unable to escape, generally perish," she said.

 

BE ON THE LOOKOUT: Wires is reminding residents to keep an eye out for injured wildlife following bush fires. This sugar glider Cinders was found after the Tabulam fires earlier this year.
BE ON THE LOOKOUT: Wires is reminding residents to keep an eye out for injured wildlife following bush fires. This sugar glider Cinders was found after the Tabulam fires earlier this year. Contributed

"Where fires are less intense, however, there is likely to be some animals which are burnt and need immediate critical care."

She said in the days, and often weeks, after a fire passes through many injured and displaced wildlife start to appear.

"Often it is not till much later, after the fires have passed, that wildlife come into care with Wires," she said.

"Injured wildlife can be found months after the fires and may move in to populated areas seeking food, water or shelter."

 

BE ON THE LOOKOUT: Wires is reminding residents to keep an eye out for injured wildlife following bush fires. This sugar glider Cinders was found after the Tabulam fires earlier this year.
BE ON THE LOOKOUT: Wires is reminding residents to keep an eye out for injured wildlife following bush fires. This sugar glider Cinders was found after the Tabulam fires earlier this year. Contributed

Wires said animals might not initially seem injured but may have burns to their feet or tails or may be experiencing smoke inhalation, dehydration or starvation.

Ms Phelps said the main thing people can do to assist wildlife is provide food and water around your property.

"In the weeks following the fire, wildlife tend to appear near people's homes looking for food and water, and they're often needing just a little bit more help than usual," she said.

Ms Phelps said it is extremely important that any wildlife that is found following a fire is reported to a wildlife group or taken to a vet.

"Animals will be in need of specialist attention and trained and licensed wildlife carers are best to provide this assistance," she said.

"Please do not attempt to care for native animals yourself."

Wires Northern Rivers said there are many ways that people can assist wildlife in distress:

  • If you are living in or near Bushfire affected areas area you can help affected wildlife by leaving water bowls out for wildlife in your garden.
  • Don't enter fire affected areas to search for wildlife - please leave this to trained personnel
  • If you do find injured wildlife, if it is safe to do so, please wrap the animal in a towel and place in a secure box. The call your local wildlife group (see below) or take the animal to your nearest vet
  • Don't attempt to handle dangerous animals such as koalas, adult kangaroos and wallabies, snakes or bats - always call for help.
  • After the fires, continue to make water available. If wildlife in your area are short of food contact Wires for advice and assistance.

For landholders near Drake and Ewingar phone Wires Northern Rivers on (02) 6628 1898 for wildlife assistance.

For injured wildlife near Tenterfield and surrounds, phone Northern Tablelands Wildlife Carers on 0408 555 719.