As we brace ourselves for another Australian summer, our animal pals are inevitably doing the same. So, in order to minimise the harm done to our beloved creatures, Zoos Victoria has outlined a few pointers that’ll help Aussies do our part to protect.
Whether you have your own pets or you live near a particularly wildlife-heavy area, have a peruse below and get in the know.
Leave water out on toasty days
Pet owners will know it’s common sense to leave water out for the animals you care for, but we often forget to think about the thirst of other wildlife.
If you live near some thick bushes / somewhere where wildlife are prone to hang out, fill up a bowl (anything but metal) with water, pop a little stick in the bowl so tiny creatures can crawl out if they fall in, and leave it near somewhere you know they like to catch up for their daily goss session.
Keep your dogs on a leash (and cats at home) near areas known to house other wildlife
During the scorching summer season, vulnerable animals will likely be recovering, and don’t need a nosey dog sniffing around their business and potentially hindering that recovery period.
If you’re unfamiliar with the area or you happen to know there is an abundance of wildlife about, keep your little sniffer on a leash just to be extra cautious.
Similarly, ensure your kitty cats are kept safe at your home to avoid the possibility of them roaming around, getting hurt and causing havoc among the birds who might also be struggling.
Give the birds in your backyard a headcount
People often tend to scoff at the idea of bird watching, but I for one will not stand for such an attack on a very innocent – and in this case, potentially lifesaving – past-time.
Next time you’re gazing out the window and spot a bird, you can document what species of bird you’re looking at over at Bird Data, which will help scientists determine why birds migrate to specific areas after a fire destroys their original living quarters.
A handy tool to help you distinguish the species can be found here.
If you want to go a step further, you can wildlife-proof your backyard to ensure the creatures and critters roaming about are as safe as possible by ensuring the netting you might be using over your fruit trees or flowers has holes no bigger than a pinky, so the smaller creatures don’t get themselves in a pickle.
Drive slow and steady on country roads to protect wildlife
My parents told me when I was a wee lad that most of the car accidents occur out in the country, which was wild to me because every time we’d drive through country roads to visit my aunt, I’d see another car every 20 minutes.
I deadset assumed cars would just run into each other on purpose like bumper cars. Kids, what duffers.
Regardless, the country roads can certainly be dangerous to drivers and wildlife alike, so just make sure you’re taking it easy on the pedal and keeping an eye out for any animals moseying across the road.
Help wildlife you spot under stress
This is where it gets a touch tricky.
For the average passer-by, knowing exactly what is wrong with an animal you find can be hard to determine.
Your best bet, if you stumble across an animal in need, is to contact an emergency wildlife centre and wait for them to come and use their expertise to deal with them.
You can find some contacts here. If you have a good memory, try and remember a couple. If you have a memory like a siv (i.e. me), you can whack the numbers in your phone for safe keeping.Image: iStock / georgeclerk