Animal lovers can now access guidance on what to do if they find an injured native animal, as Taronga Zoo releases its top tips to help people help the creatures of the ACT.
Rescue and Rehabilitation Coordinator at Taronga Wildlife Hospital, Libby Hall said first and foremost people should avoid handling potentially dangerous animals, such as snakes, or animals that carried infectious diseases like grey-headed flying foxes, as “these animals should only be handled by trained wildlife rescuers”.
Ms Hall advised people to wear gloves or use a towel or t-shirt when picking up animals as they may be semi-conscious and could rouse when touched.
“Although they look cute, don’t stroke, kiss or talk to injured wildlife,” she said.
“It’s unlikely they are used to human interaction.
“They will be very stressed by being handled and do not know you are helping them.”
Ms Hall asked people to take note of whether the animal was moving, lying down or limping away when they found it, as the information would be very helpful to the vets and nurses examining the animal and could aid in its treatment.
The Rescue and Rehabilitation Coordinator said transporting animals, even short distances, could be very stressful for them.
“Help them stay calm by placing them in a cardboard box lined with soft towels,” she said.
“The box should we well ventilated, with air holes in its sides.”
Ms Hall said people should take the animal to a wildlife hospital or give it to a Wildlife Rescue group and, if this could not be done immediately, they should keep it in a warm, quiet and dark place off the floor in their home and not disturb it.
“Do not offer the animal any food – if it needs treatment under anaesthetic it will need to have any empty stomach,” she said.
“If you must keep the animal overnight, you can leave a small, shallow dish of water in its box, but don’t force it to drink,” Ms Hall said.