The busiest, most confronting time of year at the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital.
As the weather heats up in Australia, wildlife begins to move about. Many species are on the lookout for water, a friend for mating season and youngsters are beginning to explore. In our increasingly man-made world, this is a challenging and often dangerous time for wildlife.
CROSSING BUSY ROADS
As our suburban footprint enlarges, roads expand and traffic intensifies. Areas which were once suitable habitat are now fragmented or destroyed, leaving wildlife extremely vulnerable. Many animals must cross busy roads - either on foot or overhead - in the search for food, water, shelter or a breeding partner, and run the risk of being clipped or struck. These injuries can be life-altering and often deadly.
Please, pay careful attention whilst on the roads, particularly at night and around forestry areas. If you find an animal in need and it's safe to do so, use a towel and a box to transport it to your nearest wildlife hospital.
Our domestic pets, cats and dogs, are wonderful companions but can also be predators of native wildlife. In suburban areas where territorial dogs guard backyards and cats are free to roam and hunt, wildlife lives under threat. Everything from koalas to frogs, can sustain serious injuries or even be killed by domestic animals.
Please, keep your furry friends secure or inside, especially during the cooler hours when wildlife are on the move. If you have fences, pools or any barriers in your backyard, consider adding escape routes such as trees, hedges or even a pool cover, to help wildlife who visit your place.
EMERGING BABY BIRDS
Spring is time for new life and learning for young animals. It's during this time that baby birds are taking flight for the first time, practicing their landing and even starting to explore on their own. Like most new things in life, this can take some time to get right. This is why it can be quite normal to find a baby bird on the ground. Sometimes, they may appear to be alone, but more often than not, its parents are close by. Whilst flightless and ground-bound, this can be an unsafe time for the youngster, with vehicles, dogs, cats and other native predators as very real threats.
Please, if you find a baby bird on its own, watch from a distance and look for its parents as it may just be learning to fly. If you think the youngster is in trouble - injured, orphaned or in harm's way - give your local rescue group a call for advice and assistance.
ANIMAL PATIENTS ALMOST TRIPLE
When wildlife is on the move, they are at greater risk of injuries. The team at the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital - the veterinarians, nurses, keepers and volunteers - see this firsthand. From September until February each year, the number of patients in need of treatment and care almost triples. 365 days a year, 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, the team are dedicated to helping each and every one of them.
Please, if you experience an accident involving wildlife, come across an animal in need or spot a deceased pouched animal, contact your local wildlife rescue group. With a bit of help, there's hope for these animals to one day return to a wild life.
EVERY YEAR, IT COMES QUICKER AND LASTS LONGER
In Australia and in many parts of the world, spring-time events are now occurring earlier than they used to. As the planet warms, species are changing their behaviours and movements along with the warmer weather. This is evident at the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital with the peak time starting earlier and lasting longer each year. This means our wildlife's greatest time of need is lengthening, affecting more and more innocent lives.
Please, be prepared to help wildlife in need by keeping the contact details of your local wildlife rescue service and hospital handy, as well as a towel and box in your vehicle. If you are ever unsure how to respond in a wildlife emergency, call our 24/7 hotline on 1300 369 652 for assistance.
NATIVE WILDLIFE IS NEVER TURNED AWAY FROM HELP
Despite the ever-growing numbers and the costs involved in treating and caring for patients at the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital, native wildlife is never turned away from help. No matter how small the patient, a life is worth all the time and effort the veterinary team can give. It's your generous support - through your donations, fundraising, and volunteering your time - that makes this lifesaving possible. It was Steve's belief that by saving one life, we could ultimately save the species.