WIRES calls for help to deal with influx of starving native wildlife

A wombat joey being cared for by a WIRES volunteer
A wombat joey being cared for by a WIRES volunteer

WIRES is asking for the public's help to continue saving the increasing numbers of underweight and undernourished native animals coming into care from across NSW as the ongoing drought and bushfires decimate their natural food sources.

According to WIRES CEO Leanne Taylor, many animals are coming into care due to food shortages, and the ongoing food and medication costs continue to mount as the drought drags on.

"We need community support for our Wildlife Food Fund to help with the orphans currently coming into care. With no forecast of substantial rain in the foreseeable future, the situation is only going to get worse as summer approaches," Ms Taylor said.

"You only have to drive on any country highway to see the numbers of native animals being killed by vehicles as they search for what little pick is left on the roadside - many of these are carrying joeys."

There are increasing numbers of kangaroo joeys needing to be cared for, after their mothers are killed in car accidents

There are increasing numbers of kangaroo joeys needing to be cared for, after their mothers are killed in car accidents

October is traditionally the busiest time of year for WIRES as native animals give birth or hatch their young with the Rescue Call Centre receiving 700 - 800 calls each week from concerned members of the public.

WIRES branches such as Clarence Valley, Mid North Coast, Northern Rivers, New England and Central West are experiencing overwhelming numbers of native animals coming into care, especially kangaroo and wallaby joeys and flying-fox pups.

WIRES volunteers are even reporting that native birds including Honey Eaters, Friar birds and Bower birds being impacted as many eucalypts are either not flowering at all due to the drought or producing little or no nectar if they do flower.

Injured brushtail possum

Injured brushtail possum

In the Coffs Harbour and Yamba areas, WIRES recorded a big increase in Grey-headed flying-fox rescues with the majority believed to be suffering from starvation.

The Grey-headed flying-fox is listed as Vulnerable by the NSW Departments of Planning and Industry, and Environment which also acknowledges the important role they have for our forests.

"Flying-foxes help pollinate plants and spread seeds, ensuring the survival of our native forests. They do this over much larger distances than birds or insects," the department website reads.

WIRES has also received calls about dead and starving bandicoots in areas ranging from Safety beach (North of Coffs Harbour) through to the New England region. It appears that in some cases adults are also abandoning their young as a survival instinct response to the drought and food shortages.

"Our native animals are being confronted with the worst conditions we have experienced in decades," Ms Taylor said.

"We encourage the people of NSW to help save the lives of these orphaned animals while we wait for this terrible drought to end."

To donate to the WIRES Food Fund please visit wildlifefoodfund.org.au - all gifts $2 and over are tax deductible.

If you should find an injured, orphaned or displaced native animal please call WIRES on 1300 094 737.

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