Australian Bushfire Crisis FAQ

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LAST UPDATED: 28 January 2020

To the many caring people reaching out to us at this time, thank you so much! We appreciate your understanding if we’re not able to get back to you, or if it takes a bit longer than you would expect. It is an incredibly busy period for us right now (as is the case for many charities that are assisting in bushfire relief efforts) and our small team is doing its very best! We have put together some of the most frequently asked questions here, we hope this helps empower you to help animals during this crisis period.

Where can I send goods and food?

If you would like to donate goods or food – please listen to shelters and carers and follow their instructions carefully. If they are in need of specific items, they will ask, and often provide clear instructions on how to get items to where they need to go. If they haven’t asked for an item – chances are, they don’t need it (at least, not now). So if you have goods ready to donate, maybe hold onto them just now rather than contacting carers who are overwhelmed currently with crisis response. They may be needed at a later date.

If you have old furs to donate, there is a volunteer-run organisation in Australia called Snuggle Coats who will take old furs and provide them to carers as needed. You can find out more about their work here.

Where can I volunteer to help animals?

During this current period of emergency, trained staff (such as veterinarians, nurses, wildlife carers and emergency personnel) are what is needed on the ground. The situation in many fire-affected areas is often still quite dangerous, and access (by road or foot) is also a significant issue. It’s so important that the specialised work that currently needs to be done is completed by those who have specific training in the needs of Australian wildlife after a bushfire.

If you are a veterinarian registered in Australia and would like to help with bushfire relief efforts in Victoria, you can register with the AVA Victorian Bushfire Response database here.

If you are a veterinarian, vet nurse or veterinary student registered in Australia and would like to help with disaster relief efforts now and/or in the future, you can register with Vets Beyond Borders’ AVERT database here.

In the coming months, more help will be needed to restore ecosystems so that the surviving animals have homes to return to. Conservation Volunteers Australia are currently asking for those interested in helping with this to register their details. You can do this here.

How can I donate directly to smaller wildlife rescues and shelters? 

Our friends at Voiceless have a handy list of organisations you can donate to here.

I have heard that a particular animal sanctuary needs funding. Can Animals Australia help?

Animals Australia has provided significant funding to an equitable and accessible grant program for wildlife carers. This program is being run through the Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife. You can refer licenced wildlife shelters and carers in need to this grant program through the application here

Animals Australia has also been pro-actively reaching out to wildlife specialists and veterinary clinics in fire-affected areas and directing immediate funds where needed. 

What course or training should I do so I can become a wildlife carer? 

Wildlife carers must be licensed and trained, as it's illegal to care for native wildlife if you do not have a permit. Normally it is best to get in touch with your local rescue group to find out what options there are available in your area to learn how to be a wildlife carer, however due to the fact that wildlife carers in fire-affected areas are incredibly busy currently with direct rescue and care efforts, it might be worth waiting a little while before reaching out to them to ask about this. If you’re wanting to learn a bit more about what’s involved in caring for wildlife, you can read more here.

How can I help from overseas? Can I post donated items? 

If you’re not living in Australia but want to help, the best ways to do this are to donate money as this allows those working directly with animals to get the supplies that they need quickly and efficiently (it's a much better use of your money than postage fees 😉). Another way that you can help is to continue sharing content about the bushfire crisis from Australia. When the immediate threat of fires fades, the outpouring of support and media coverage will naturally wane as well – but the reality is that this is when support will be most-needed, with animals in care requiring intensive veterinary support, and survivors in the wild facing starvation. Be sure to follow us on facebook, instagram and twitter and help share bushfire-related content to help keep the world’s focus and support on this ongoing and devastating situation.

If I have fruit/vegetables to distribute, where are the best places to do so? 

Feeding of wildlife is not normally recommended. However, if you are in a bushfire-affected area and spot wildlife that are in clear need of assistance, we have provided some helpful guides to make sure that caring people are empowered with the knowledge they need to help these animals that might otherwise face starvation.

Head here for more information and to access these helpful guides.  

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