This week we had the joy of having some of our animal friends visiting us. Where we live we have plenty of rabbits and because of this, we often have a few sightings of foxes in the backyard. So much for our Golden Retriever, Lester keeping an eye on things.
But this week we had a few stray sheep venture up our driveway. They had taken a liking to some of my flowerbeds. Not long after that, we found a bluetongue lizard in our basement. The kids were in awe, which is lovely to see that even with all the technology that surrounds them, they appreciate beauty in nature.
After gently coaxing this bluetongue into a cardboard box and letting him go to wilds of our backyard it got me thinking, do many people know what to do if they happen to find some wildlife in their backyard. So, I put some information together that might help you.
Did you know that in Australia all native wildlife is protected under the Wildlife Act 1975? It is an offence to harm native wildlife or move them from where they are found. Now I know people might say I moved the bluetongue from where I found it, but it was a short distance to our backyard where I had seen him previously and he was uninjured.
If you happen to find wildlife and you are unsure what to do, here are some guidelines:
Have as little contact with the animal as possible
Do not offer food or water.
Make sure your dog is securely fenced in or is on a lead away from the animal. House your cat or other pets.
Always make a note of the location that you found the animal, the time of day and what condition it was in when you found it. This is particularly important if the animal is injured and needs to be cared for and released later.
Leave the animal alone. Look at it from a distance. Most often wild animals, if healthy and not injured, will find their own way home. Approaching wildlife can stress them and actually threaten their survival.
If you find sick, injured or orphaned wildlife, the best thing you can do to increase their survival chances is to take them to an experienced wildlife rescuer or vet.
Injured wildlife will be frightened and stressed, and can be very dangerous. So take care if you have to handle them. Always seek advice before moving them. When moving an injured animal, you can wrap it with a towel or article of clothing carefully before placing it in a well-ventilated cardboard box (if one is available). Then, bring it to a vet or a registered wildlife carer.
Always wash your hands thoroughly after handling wildlife. Remember your own safety as well as the safety of the anima is important.
There are many organisations that help with wildlife, particularly if they are injured:
Your local veterinarian. Call their practice first before arriving with the animal. They will suggest either to bring it to them or to some other organisation.
Contact your local WILDCARE Helpline. Remember they can only advise on native wildlife, not on domesticated animals.
RSPCA can help with emergencies and acts of cruelty.
Your local council. They should have a list of the appropriate organisations to contact in the area.
Another resource is your local government department that looks after wildlife. In Victoria (Australia) the Department for Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) is involved with caring for our Wildlife. Refer to this link for further advice: http://bit.ly/1Vca0AW
We are lucky to have a large backyard with a lot of native plant life to encourage such animals. It is why I live here. It is something many people can forget about as they live in their manicured backyards and gardens. If we don’t care for our wildlife we will lose a very important part of our environment. To encourage wildlife, we need to provide a proper habitat for them to live in. No matter how large or small your backyard is, there are a few simple things you can do to encourage our wildlife friends to live in harmony with you:
Providing a bird bath in your garden, especially in hot weather.
Don’t feed wildlife as it can cause a number of problems, such as aggression, unnaturally increase the population wildlife and disease.
Keeping your cat in at night
I know I have said it before, but making sure your dog is securely fenced in and on a lead when out and about
Planting local native trees and plants.
Provide a nest box. They are a great alternative to the loss of natural nest sites in the wild by providing suitable nest sites for birds, bats and even possums.
Avoid using pesticides in the garden.
I hope you find these few tips helpful. By the way, our neighbour rang the council to collect the sheep and to return them to their rightful owner, after they had a good nibble on my flowers and her vegie patch.
Until the next time, have an earthly passionate few days.