We provide additional support and coordination to wildlife rehabilitation groups and work with experts to assess the health and status of affected plant and animal populations and develop and license recovery actions, such as supplementary feeding, emergency collection and captive breeding programs.
How you can help
Only licensed wildlife rescue and rehabilitation providers or qualified vets may take injured or orphaned native animals into care. You can use the IFAW Wildlife Rescue App to quickly find the closest one to you to contact. Most wildlife is not used to being handled and can become very stressed. If you find an injured animal, and it is safe to do so, contain it in a covered box in a dark, quiet place while waiting for a rescuer or taking an animal to a wildlife carer or vet.
During an emergency such as drought, fire or flood some native animals may need short term help. Although not injured, they may need access to water, food or shelter until their natural environment recovers. Only provide water or food for native wildlife if you have the permission of the land owner or manager, including in national parks, state forests, council and crown land.
Many animals can only survive a matter of days without water. You can help a range of native animals by giving them a safe supply of clean water, changed daily to prevent the spread of disease. Never add electrolytes or sugar to the water as it can be harmful.
Considerations for water containers
- containers or water dispensers put in the shade, at a range of heights, including in trees
- strong containers to avoid collapse with a stable rock or stick in them to give safe access out of the water for birds and reptiles
- firm surfaces to put the containers on, so they don’t tip if a heavy animal tries to use it
- a cleared area with shade to allow nervous wildlife to watch out for predators and keep cool.
Swimming pools can present a danger to thirsty wildlife if no other water source is available. Keep your pool covered or secure a flotation device to the side of the pool such as a rope threaded through a pool noodle to allow wildlife to escape if they fall in while drinking. Check it daily.
Feeding native animals is generally not recommended because they have very special and diverse dietary needs. Although it’s always best for the health of wildlife to forage for food and water naturally, in times of natural disaster when natural food resources are scarce, you may want to help by providing food. Only supplementary feed until nature begins to recover. If there is still vegetation, providing water only is the best way you can help.
- What can be offered to one animal in small amounts may be harmful to another and could result in debilitating disease or even death. Over feeding can be fatal. Always offer fresh water.
- Remove uneaten food. Wash your hands before and after cleaning and drying all food and water containers. Change them daily to prevent the spread of disease and attracting pests. Disinfect containers using a dishwasher or by soaking them in a solution of one cup of bleach added to four litres of water.
- Secure food containers in trees. Never throw food, including bird seed, directly onto the ground as it attracts predators and can make some wildlife sick.
- Never feed wildlife bread, honey, sugar, avocado, chocolate or dairy products as they are very harmful.
- Do not feed wildlife mixtures of peanut butter, honey and rolled oats (known as bait or wildlife balls) as they are harmful to some animals.
- For information about koalas see Helping Koalas in emergencies.
- For information about flying-foxes see Helping flying-foxes in emergencies. Do not approach flying foxes without vaccination for Australian bat lyssavirus and wearing protective gear.