Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary owner, Greg Irons shares his tips on caring for injured or orphaned animals and how to be prepared.
If you think you are
about to collide with an animal:
- Stay in your lane and
gradually slow down
- Do not swerve or slam on the
If you think you have
collided with an animal:
- If it is safe to do so, pull
over to the side of the road to assess the situation
- Call Bonorong Wildlife
Rescue for advice available 24/7: 0447 264 625
But regardless of how the
animal came to be injured or orphaned, there are a few key items that you can
keep in your car to speed up their rescue and recovery.
1. Mobile Phone
This may seem redundant - who
doesn’t have a mobile phone with them these days? - but there is one thing you
can do right now to make your mobile so much more useful in the event of a
wildlife emergency - and that’s add our number to it!
By saving our rescue number in
your phone (or the number of you're local wildlife rescue if your not based in
Tasmania), you eliminate the stress and save time in an emergency. So grab your
phone and add this number to your contacts: 0447 264 625. Bonorong Wildlife
Rescue is available 24/7 for wildlife emergencies or advice Tasmania-wide or the number of your
local wildlife rescue if you're not based in Tasmania.2. Safety Vest
Before you do anything, it's
important to remember that your safety always comes first. And that includes
pulling over to assist: only pull over when or if it is safe to do so. A safety
vest is the next step. Found at most hardware stores, they will keep you visible
while moving out of and around your car. If you have found a safe spot on the
side of the road, be sure to put on your safety vest before, or immediately
after exiting your vehicle.
There are two types of gloves
we recommend here. You can pick up a pack of latex gloves at your local
supermarket, and they’ll protect both you and the animal. We also recommend
keeping a pair of gardening gloves in the car as well - these can provide you
with a bit of extra protection at times where you can’t avoid an animals sharp
4. Torch and/or head torch
Most animal incidents happen
at night, and a torch is much more versatile than your car headlights. A head
torch is extremely useful as it allows you to use both of your hands while
still shining light in the right direction.
5. Hessian Sack
Usually stocked at pet stores,
you may recognise these as perfect dog beds - but they are also invaluable when
dealing with our larger wildlife. The largest size available is perfect for
transporting pademelons, wallabies and more. They block out the activity around
them while letting them breathe comfortably. Our rescue team can provide advice
on how to safely get an injured animal into a sack at the time.
6. Pillowcase & Beanie
These two go hand in hand when
it comes to orphans. Even if the mother has passed away, she may still be
carrying precious cargo: a joey. And we often forget that a joey means any
animal that lives in a pouch - possums, pademelons, quolls, devils and more -
most of our mammals in Tassie have pouches, so it's important not to overlook
them. Our rescue team can advise how to check for pouch young, but if you do
find an orphan, they need to be kept warm. A pillowcase turned inside out (to
prevent the joeys trying to suckle on stray threads) and tucked inside a beanie
is a perfect makeshift pouch. This can be popped down your top (for both warmth
and a reassuring heartbeat) until the joey can get to a carer.
Note: It’s important never
to feed an orphan if you find one - no matter how hungry they look!
Want to be extra prepared?
At Bonorong we run free
Wildlife Rescue Training. If you’d like to be even more prepared, our training
will take you through the basics of animal rescue, including how to prepare a
fully stocked rescue kit. Our training runs regularly, and you can find out
more and register for the training on our website www.bonorong.com.au/become-a-wildlife-rescuer/. Everyone who completes the training also has the option of becoming a
registered wildlife rescuer with Bonorong.