How to help flood-affected wildlife

28 February 2022

Our thoughts are with all Australians — whether people or wildlife — at this time of catastrophic flooding across many parts of Queensland and New South Wales.

Over the past few years, extreme weather conditions have brought many parts of Australia first extensive drought and then widespread bushfire, and now … extreme flooding similar to the devastation of 2011.

Through all of these challenges, our wildlife has struggled too. In the coming weeks and months, as those whose homes and businesses have been destroyed clean up and recover emotionally and financially, our wildlife will also bear the brunt of displacement and the destruction of their homes, habitat and ecosystems.

Please remember that while Wildlife Queensland is a conservation group, we are not a dedicated care organisation for injured wildlife. We do not have the capacity or authority to perform call-outs to assist with injured wildlife directly.

We urge those who find flood-affected wildlife in Queensland to call the RSPCA on 1300 ANIMAL (1300 264 265) or Wildcare on 07 5527 2444. Both operate 24/7.

We also know that the coming months and years will require intensified efforts from our project managers and volunteers to survey populations of threatened species, restore habitat, and rehabilitate vegetation crucial to species placed further at risk by this flood event.

If you encounter wildlife fleeing from floodwater, the following tips may help …

5 tips for helping flood-affected wildlife

  1. If you find an injured or disoriented animal, give it space. Unless you are an experienced carer, it is best not to attempt to capture injured wildlife. These animals will likely be in shock and may act unpredictably under duress, even for usually placid species. Call the RSPCA on 1300 ANIMAL (1300 264 265) or Wildcare on 07 5527 2444. Both operate 24/7.
  2. Avoid driving if possible, even in non-flooded areas, to reduce interfering or colliding with frightened wildlife on wet roads.
  3. Many native animals that survived the flooding may have been swept a long way from home and be confused, anxious, and in need of care. Watch out for displaced wild animals seeking temporary refuge in areas where they might not normally be found and report them to local council authorities, wildlife catchers, or specialist wildlife carers such as the RSPCA on 1300 ANIMAL (1300 264 265) or Wildcare on 07 5527 2444.
  4. If you find an unharmed animal taking shelter, you can create a warm, safe space nearby and leave some clean fresh water and appropriate food (wildlife-specific food only) in a place where affected wildlife may find it, but never try to force comfort, food, or water on a wild animal. Remember, native wildlife cannot be kept as pets without a specific carer licence, and fines apply.
  5. Ensure your pets are contained and kept away from any wildlife seeking refuge near your home. Also report any loose or stray pets or any wildlife that might pose a threat to humans or wildlife (such as venomous snakes, sharks, crocodiles or aggressive animals) to your local council animal management team or to the police.

Stay safe out there, and thank you for caring for Australia’s native species at this time.

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