THOSE who encounter sick or injured native animals are being urged to contact an authorised wildlife shelter.
Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) forest and wildlife officer Phuong Tran said sometimes people tried to look after the animals themselves but sick native wildlife needed specialised care.
‘‘Even though members of the public mean well when they find sick or injured wildlife and take them home to care for them, it is critical for the animals’ survival that they are treated by trained carers,’’ Ms Tran said.
‘‘There are volunteer wildlife shelter operators and carers who are authorised by DELWP and they know how to provide appropriate handling, feeding and housing as well as rehabilitation.
‘‘There have been cases where people have found a native animal and cared for it at home rather than contacting an authorised wildlife carer.
‘‘As a result, the animal becomes attached to the person who found it and so it becomes almost impossible for the animal to survive if it was to be released back into the wild.
‘‘Not only can it be harmful for the animal if it does not receive appropriate care, it is also an offence under the Wildlife Act to unlawfully possess protected wildlife.
‘‘If you do find an injured animal, approach with caution, keep physical interaction to a minimum and contact an authorised wildlife shelter immediately.’’
If you find a native animal that is orphaned, sick or injured, call DELWP on 136186 or a wildlife rehabilitation organisation listed at wildlife.vic.gov.au