NEARLY a month on from the devastating Scotsburn fires, animal welfare agencies are tending to wildlife who are the silent victims of natural disasters.
BADGAR wildlife rescue, led by Donna Zabinskas, have be trawling the fireground for sick and injured animals to rehabilitate, or in the worst cases euthanize.
They have found hundreds of animals who have lost their feed, families and are traumatised from the experience of the fire.
BADGAR work under DELWP who spent the first three days on the ground retrieving burnt wildlife. A group of around 16 BADGAR volunteers have been in the fire ravaged area since December 28.
Ms Zabinskas said the team of experienced volunteers, ranging from qualified vets to professional dartsmen, worked tirelessly to help animals in need.
“Sadly, as is often the case in bushfires, there has been a high number of animals who have suffered horrific burns and have not been able to be saved,” Ms Zabinskas said.
For those who suffered horrific burns, but survived, the journey to a full recovery is a long one. Animals are suffering skin infections, burns and stress.
“Echidnas, kangaroos, wallabies, joeys and possums have been retrieved and sent to triage, so we have our fingers crossed that they will survive,” she said.
Now that the majority of the severely injured animals have been found, the group is turning its focus to the problem of starvation and dehydration among surviving wildlife. Their usual feed is burnt and animals are showing signs of starvation such as protruding bones.
“An animal sitting or standing alone for long periods of time will more than likely be in need of help,” Ms Zabinskas said.
“There are still animals needing assistance, there are a number of joeys who have lost their mum that we are monitoring and some that we are still trying to dart (to then rehabilitate) because they are not coping. Stress and starvation are their next challenges.”
The aim is rehabilitate the animals so they can live in the wild. The group has focused on food drops to sustain the animals. Anyone who sees animals who looked injured or need of assistance are urged to call 1300 BADGAR.
“Our thoughts are with the local people who have lost their homes and those that have been affected by the fire,” Ms Zabinskas said.
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