As the weather heats up, Australia’s native wildlife becomes more mobile, looking for water, a mate, or just generally exploring. As they explore, many native animals find themselves in dangerous, often life-threatening situations, and require assistance; this is especially true during the warmer months, the trauma season. The trauma season brings with it massive numbers of injured wildlife, meaning wildlife carers are working harder. We’ve compiled a list of things you can do to help the native wildlife around your home, to keep wildlife out of harm’s way.
Hot days can be just as unpleasant for wildlife as they are for people (if not more so), so providing your local animals with fresh water can be a great way to help them handle the heat. Get to know the wildlife in your area and place the water accordingly.
Lots of birds around? Try a birdbath!
Lots of possums? Place a bowl somewhere off the ground where they are likely to find it. You get the idea.
The Animal Rescue Craft Guild is a global (yes, global) network of dedicated volunteers who produce much-needed crafted supplies for wildlife carers, used to help orphaned and injured wildlife such as pouches, nests, and hanging “possums pods” to name a few. If you can crochet or sew, get in touch with the Craft Guild and see what you can do!
It can be difficult for native wildlife to find homes in suburbia, so why not make them one? The simplest and easiest animal home to make is a Ringtail Possum Drey, which will provide a creche of lovely little Ringtail Possums with a safe place to sleep. We’ve written about this previously, you can read our instructional here.
Nesting boxes will attract a wide range of animals, most commonly Brushtail Possums and birds. All you need is cheap plywood, waterproof varnish and the tools to assemble it. Plenty of great instructions can be found online.
Similarly, if you have spare wood lying around but don’t have the tools or the time to make a nesting box, consider donating it to someone who can. Perhaps find a “Men’s Shed” who are willing to take it on as a project.
Native plants are integral to native animals’ diets. Some local councils have “Free Native tree” programs, so check out the website of your local council to see what is on offer. Brisbane City Council give you a voucher for a nursery every year, you just need to present your rates notice at the library in exchange for a voucher. Imagine if every yard in Australia planted one native tree a year! There’d be a highway of native trees throughout our beautiful suburbs for our wildlife to enjoy.
Unfortunately, many of our native wildlife lose their lives on our roads each year. If you see an animal that has been hit by a car, always remember to check its pouch (if it has one). Many of the orphans that come into care were found by kind people who performed a simple pouch check and saved their lives. Don’t want to touch a dead animal? Use gloves or a towel, but if you don’t have these options with you remember that hands can be washed! It’s worth it to save a joey’s life.
If you have kids or grandkids, think of ways you can teach them about the local wildlife. It might be as simple as encouraging them to put out water for the lizards, stopping to check pouches while they are with you or if you have the time and tools, making a possum drey with them. There are countless options, so don’t be afraid to get creative, and make it fun!
Dogs and cats cause injuries and death of our native wildlife population. Fran from BARN can’t put it any more simply “Please keep your cats inside at night.”
If you are part of a Rotary, Probus, CWA or similar, why not suggest taking on your local wildlife rescue group as a fundraising project? Similarly, if you know of or hear of any community grants, nominate your local wildlife group as recipients.
If all else fails, you can always donate to your local wildlife rescue group. Even if it’s a small amount; every dollar makes a difference and will be greatly appreciated. Wildlife care is expensive and carers are often self-funded, so reach out, they’ll appreciate it and you’ll feel great!