The Wildlife Act 1975 is the law which protects native wildlife, making it an offence to harm or relocate an animal from where it is found.
Wildlife Victoria provides assistance to sick, injured or orphaned native wildlife and can be contacted for advice on 1300 094 535 or alternately via their website www.wildlifevictoria.org.au.
If you find a sick or injured animal please take it directly to the nearest veterinary clinic (most vets will not charge a fee for treating wildlife).
Animals can be visibly injured, however they can also be sick or injured without visible signs.
As an example, possums are a nocturnal species, meaning they are only active at night time. Therefore, if a possum is seen in the day time, it is highly likely they are sick or injured and require assistance. Alternatively, a fledgling bird that has just left the nest and is almost ready to fly does is not injured and does not require assistance unless it is visibly injured.
For smaller animals such as possums and birds, use a towel or blanket to cover and gently pick up the animal and put them in a reasonable sized box with air holes or a cat carrier for transportation.
A warm, quiet and dark environment is recommended.
Do not transport an animal unconfined or in the boot of a car and do not try to give any food or water.
When handling wildlife take care not to get bitten or scratched by wearing gloves and using a towel as a barrier.
Larger animals such as kangaroos, wallabies, wombats, koalas, flying foxes, snakes and birds of prey should only be handled by experienced rescuers or wildlife carers so contact Wildlife Victoria on 1300 094 535 for their Emergency Response Service.
If it is possible, please keep an eye on the animal until assistance arrives.
For more information check out Wildlife Victoria’s website.