If you’ve ever found an injured native animal by the side of road, you know it can be quite nervewracking if you don’t know what you can do to help them. Often if you come across an injured animal, they’ve been hit by a car, so they’re traumatised and need medical attention – just like a person would!
First of all you need to remember that unlike household pets, wild animals are not used to being handled and are very susceptible to stress. You want to minimise their human contact and thus their stress level!
There are numerous groups dedicated to rescuing and rehabilitating native animals, including WIRES - the NSW Wildlife Information Rescue and Information Service. Their website has a guide on what to do with an injured animal:
Remove any threat to the animal. This may mean locking up cats and dogs until the animal is rescued by a licensed rescuer.
Minimise stress by placing a towel or blanket over the animal, then gently place in a box. Put the box in a warm, quiet, dark room and DO NOT DISTURB. The stress associated with human contact can result in death.
Fauna Search is a handy online tool which lets you look up a wildlife rescue or rehabilitation group in your local area. Or if you're in NSW you can call WIRES on 1300 094 737. Your local parks and wildlife service is another option.
WIRES (or the equivalent group in your state) will give you advice on what to do until a trained rescuer comes to take the animal to a vet or foster carer. The foster carer will look after the animal until it is ready to be returned to the wild. You may be tempted to care for the animal yourself, but remember that it's against the law to keep native animals taken from the wild. They must be passed on to an authorised carer with a licensed wildlife rescue organisation.
According to WIRES, Australia holds the world record for the country with the greatest number of species extinctions in the last 200 years. Considering the amazing and unique species we've already lost - like the Tasmanian Tiger - let's take care of our four legged friends.