Wildlife in need after fire

WILDLIFE carer group WIRES Northern Rivers is preparing for an influx of emergency calls over the next few days during the bushfire clean-up along The Coast Road.

Among the survivors, the wildlife service is expecting orphans abandoned by their parents trying to escape the blaze, alongside burn and smoke inhalation victims.

Wallabies and possums are expected to be the most prevalent, while species such as sugar and feathertail gliders - who live in hollows of trees - often don't make it, according to WIRES carer Joanne Chassey.

"At the moment we're not getting a great deal of calls in because, obviously, it's a bit of a hotspot," Ms Chassey said.

"We do tend to get a lot of burn injuries, as in possums' feet or hands and kangaroos' pads, or a bit of smoke inhalation and they're absolutely exhausted from trying to escape the fire so they're a bit dehydrated.

"Most wild animals can sense the danger, so they get out and go. Whether they survive depends on whether they're disorientated enough to go in the wrong direction.

"A lot of our gliders, which are in trees, unfortunately don't make it because the trees burn before they can get out."

Ms Chassey said residents around the fire perimeter could also expect guests looking for refuge in sheds and even homes.

"They will possibly come home and find wildlife, which have actually gone into their yards and houses where they don't normally go looking for a safe spot to be," she said.

"Our biggest suggestion to people is to make sure they can put water out around their property so if the animals do come looking for water they can find it without too many problems.

"And, of course, locking up dogs and cats, because there will be a lot of wildlife who have got nowhere to go, and they end up in weird and wonderful places."

WIRES is busy already with the peak summer holiday season.

FIRST AID

For injured wildlife:

Don't offer any food, but provide water.

Contact WIRES on 6628 1898. Staff will give advice over the phone.



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