The effects of bushfires on native wildlife can be devastating. Aside from the immediate fatalities that occur, most surviving animals will have lost their homes and find sourcing food difficult for at least the three months it takes for new growth to occur.
The Effects Of Bushfires On Native Wildlife
So what are the most common impacts on native wildlife? Most of the wildlife encountered on the fringes of affected areas will be suffering from varying forms of trauma physical, emotional and psychological. Animals may be dehydrated, frightened or stressed, or suffering from burns and smoke inhalation. Many will be starving due to loss of food sources, or even orphaned. Warm weather makes their plight worse, contributing to animals becoming fly-blown where they have burns or wounds.
What can you do to help?
On the simplest level, help to our native animals after bushfire can be given by placing water out around the house, on and above ground. To prevent small animals from drowning simply place a stick inside the container to allow them to crawl out. When dealing with injured wildlife, it is important not to frighten them. All wild animals should be treated with caution. Untrained members of the public should only tend to those animals that are severely injured or unlikely to be able to care for themselves. Wild animals that may bite, or are otherwise dangerous, should only be handled by trained wildlife carers. Untrained members of the public should only provide initial care to injured wildlife. Ideally, they should take the animal as quickly as possible to a qualified vet or carer.
Due to the extreme vulnerability of these animals it is best to keep domesticated animals restrained at night for at least 10 days after a fire. You also need to be careful what food you leave out and where, as predators will also stake out feeding areas to prey on any weak wildlife. Seek advice before feeding injured wildlife.
Due to the loss of places to hide as a result of fires, you see an increase in reptiles such as snakes and/or blue tongued lizards taking shelter in various human environments such as garages, gardens, verandas and around pool areas. Take extra care when outside.
Possums and gliders may appear unexpectedly in chicken sheds, under bushes and flower pots or under carports looking for a safe place to sleep. Keep domestic animals away. Finally, when travelling through burnt areas drive carefully to protect the remaining wildlife.