Heatwave takes a toll on region's wildlife

HEAT-stressed wildlife are starting to come into local shelters as the unrelenting heatwave takes its toll on native animals.

Koroit wildlife carer Tracey Wilson said she received a heat-stressed ring-tailed possum and its baby yesterday that had been found at Albert Park in Warrnambool.

She expected to receive more wildlife as the heatwave dragged on.

Wildlife Victoria said it was experiencing unprecedented demand to treat heat-stressed animals with more than 1500 calls to its Emergency Response Service during the first three days of this week’s heatwave. 

The wildlife charity said possums, birds and flying foxes in particular were falling victim to severe heat stress. 

It said the scale of the impact had not been seen since the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires with many animals falling from trees and dying.

Wildlife Victoria spokeswoman Amy Amato asked people to place water around their yards or outside their workplace to give relief to heat-stressed animals. 

“Even a lunch box full of water with some sticks and stones to allow the small animals to get in and out is an easy way to help out your local animals,” Ms Amato said. 

“We’re finding a lot of ringtail possums with pouch young are just not coping with the heat.

“By the time they’re found the poor animals are so weak that they won’t survive without intervention.

“In most cases, offering a bird or possum a few hours in a cool quiet spot indoors with access to water can make a world of difference and bring them back from the brink,” Ms Amato said.

Heat-stressed or injured wildlife can be reported to Wildlife Victoria’s Emergency response service on 1300 094535 or via its website (to avoid waiting in a phone queue) at wildlifevictoria.org.au

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