What do I do if I find sick, injured or orphaned wildlife?
WARNING - DO NOT HANDLE BATS OR FLYING FOXES UNLESS YOU ARE SUITABLY VACCINATED AGAINST LYSSAVIRUS AND RABIES.
Finding a sick, injured or orphaned native animal is very stressful for BOTH the animal and you! There are a few simple things that you can do to immediately minimise stress and increase the animal's chance of recovery.
Check for Young
Always check the pouches, and around the bodies of dead females on the road. Most people are very surprised to learn that, despite the extensive injuries to female marsupials killed on our roads, the little 'joeys' cocooned safely inside Mum's pouch very often survive the impact unharmed.
In fact, they're so well insulated that joeys can survive for up to 10 days in a dead mother's pouch, and can then go on to suffer a slow, lingering death of starvation and dehydration.
Also, young marsupials, if old enough to leave the pouch, frequently hang around Mum for many days, often watching from just a few metres away in the undergrowth. So if you've taken the time to stop and check a mother, please take just a couple of minutes more to check the immediate surrounding area for the Joey.
First Aid Guide for Wildlife
The basic first aid for native animals is very similar to domestic animals or people. By applying basic first treatment you might be able to save an animal's life. The major differences are that a wild animal only comes into physical contact with other species, which includes humans, as a part of predator or prey association.
Therefore, any contact with humans will be very stressful and frightening. Trying to comfort the animal by stroking it or talking to it might even stop the heartbeat. You'll need to give special consideration to tansportation of the animal. You may even have to feed the animal and supply temporary housing for it until it gets into proper care.
The animal should be kept warm depending on the season, in a quiet and dark place such as a cardboard box. After the first aid treatment, the animal should be taken to a veterinarian as soon as possible. There may be internal injuries that are not visible to the untrained eye.
Safety - Your own safety is most important, especially whilst checking the injured animal on the road.
Airways & Breathing - Check that the animal is breathing.
Consciousness - Check responses by checking pulse or breath.
Circulation - Stop external bleeding.
Maintain Body Temperature - Place the animal in a soft towel or cloth to keep it warm.
Seek Advice - If you live in Tropical North Queensland, call FNQ Wildlife Rescue on (07) 4053 4467.
If you have followed the steps outlined above, you have given the animal the best chance it has towards a speedy rehabilitation and release back into the wild.
Resist the temptation to cuddle the animal - they are not used to human contact.
DO NOT try to care for the animal yourself - All Australian animals in care require a highly specialised and intensive feeding programme.
It is illegal to keep a native animal without a rescue permit. If you are interested in becoming a wildlife carer, we would love to hear from you. Simply go to our Contact Us page and complete an online enquiry form.
If you find an orphaned, sick or injured native animal, please contact our 24 Hour emergency hotline on (07) 4053 4467 as soon as possible after you have stabilized the animal (using the steps outlined in the First Aid Guide for Wildlife above). The faster the animal comes into care, the better the chances of a full and successful recovery. Every minute counts.
One final note.....
Yes, they are cute, helpless and 'different', with a few exceptions of course, but please remember -