The Department of Environment Land Water and Planning (DELWP) is the lead agency for managing wildlife welfare arising from bushfire.
DELWP has qualified Wildlife Assessment Teams that are deployed to fire-affected areas, to undertake wildlife assessments when it is safe to do so. Injured wildlife are either monitored, euthanised or, if practical and safe to do so, captured for further assessment by a veterinarian.
Access and safety in and around fire-affected areas
- Firegrounds are considered dangerous and access to these areas is restricted.
- Even after a fire has passed, the fire ground poses a very high risk to human safety.
- DELWP has qualified Wildlife Assessment Teams that can be deployed into fire-affected areas to undertake wildlife assessment.
For current fire warnings and emergency information visit Vic Emergency
For the latest information on road closures in fire-affected areas visit VicRoads
Reporting injured wildlife
If you see wildlife that appears to be injured or distressed as a result of fire, please contact your local DELWP office or the DELWP Customer Service Centre on 136 186. For other injured wildlife reports, please call Wildlife Victoria on 03 8400 7300.
Please take care if you attempt to help injured or distressed animals. Please be aware that improper capture and handling techniques can cause further distress or injury to the animal, and put the rescuer at risk.
Response to social media concerns regarding the euthanasia of fire affected pouch young
Recent allegations that regulations exist to euthanise all surviving wildlife are incorrect. The current Wildlife Shelter and Foster Carer Authorisation Guide states that ‘wildlife experiencing unreasonable and/or incurable pain, distress, trauma, sickness or injury; or marsupials that are un-furred with eyes closed and ears down should be euthanised.’ Our preference, where possible, will always be to rehabilitate wildlife in the first instance, however, we must acknowledge that in some cases, the most humane option to avoid prolonged suffering of individual animals is euthanasia.
This is about the welfare of the animal – and we will not unnecessarily prolong pain or suffering of animals. Our approach to caring for our wildlife has been developed in consultation with wildlife veterinary experts.
What you can do to help
- If you see wildlife resting in your garden, you should keep people and pets away to allow the animal to rest, recover or move through the landscape.
- To help wildlife around your home, leave out shallow bowls of water that wildlife can access – make sure to add some rocks or sticks in the bowl to allow smaller animals to escape should they fall in.
- If you have a swimming pool and live near a fire affected area, wildlife may seek water or refuge in your pool. Drape something over the edge of the pool so that animals can climb out should they fall in. Check your pool and the skimmer box regularly for any trapped animals
- A number of organisations have indicated that they are overwhelmed by the donation of items including towels and knitted goods. The best way of contributing to support fire-affected wildlife is to donate to the Zoos Victoria Bushfire Emergency Wildlife Fund. 100% of funds raised will be used to support bushfire impacted wildlife.
Page last updated: 03/08/20