WILDLIFE warriors around the region are encouraging humans to look after their animal friends during the current heatwave.
Chief executive officer of the Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife Susanna Bradshaw said while humans were taking shelter in air-conditioned buildings and cooling down with a glass of ice water it was important to spare a thought for native animals living in and around your backyard.
“Bats, possums, birds and many other animals can become dehydrated or die due to extremely hot weather,” she said.
“The easiest thing you can do to help your local animals is to provide them with water.”
Ms Bradshaw suggested before going to work or school each morning households should fill a shallow dish with water and place it in a shady spot in the backyard next to some shrubs or bushes.
“So that it has some protection from predators and doesn’t heat up too much,” she said.
“When you get home, use the leftover water on your garden, and place fresh water out again each day.”
The shallow dish will not only provide a drink for native birds, lizards, bugs and other animals be able to get a drink, but if they are extremely hot, they can always climb in and splash around to cool down.
“Keep your cat indoors as the hot weather forces wildlife out of their trees and hollows and onto the ground, making them more vulnerable to cat attacks,” Ms Bradshaw said.
Ms Bradshaw said during the 2009 drought and bushfires, a few very desperate animals suffering from the extreme heat approached people for help.
“One of our conservation project managers, Dr Dan Lunney, senior principal research scientist of the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, photographed a wild koala accepting water offered from a water bottle by his teammate, as it sat overheated and exhausted at the base of a tree,” Ms Bradshaw said.
“Another koala in Victoria entered the laundry of a family farmhouse in Maude, and climbed into a bucket of water to cool down. And there was also “Sam the Koala” who became world famous for accepting help from a firefighter after surviving in a bushfire.”
Ms Bradshaw suggested it was a good idea to keep wildlife group numbers near the fridge too.
“If you see a native bird or animal really under stress from the heat, it’s a good idea to call someone,” she said.
“You can ring a wildlife carer, a local vet, your local council, or the state’s environment department for help.”