Flooding in New South Wales has left animals stressed and injured, with wallabies hit by cars, turtles swept away, opossums and birds left waterlogged and baby marsupials likely drowned, conservation workers say. wildlife.
Prishani Vengetas, wildlife recovery project coordinator and WWF Australia veterinarian, says conservation groups are also anticipating an increase in animal diseases from contaminated water.
Sydney Wildlife Rescue, which is supported by WWF, cared for a swamp wallaby joey who was orphaned when his mother was hit by a car in the pouring rain, as well as turtles, birds and opossums wounded.
Based on experience from previous floods, WWF expects to see an increase in disease in koalas due to stress on their immune systems and slug parasites in birds and wallabies.
Dr Vengetas said the future of the country’s wildlife must be protected as rescue services work through disasters.
“We are in a time of rapid climate change. We have to readjust our policies, the way we act in our daily lives,” she said.
“Our Earth is truly suffering.”
Wild winds and rain toppled trees and damaged predator fences at Aussie Ark’s Barrington Tops Wildlife Sanctuary, a regeneration site where endangered species like eastern quolls and Tasmanian devils are at safe from wild cats and foxes.
Aussie Ark’s Tyler Gralton said crews are working 12-hour shifts to find fallen trees at the 400-hectare site and ensure fencing is intact.
“There are big concerns with herbivorous marsupials. They are really prone to stress,” Mr Gralton said.
“Falling trees, high winds, that can be enough for them to get rid of their joeys, which is the whole point of having these insurance people, to make them happy and safe and comfortable, ready to raise the next generation.”
Mr Gralton said baby kangaroos and koalas were at high risk because they are not strong enough to cope with the wild weather.
“Drowning is a huge risk for these animals,” he said.
“There is a great panic and the animals are generally going in all directions.
“People who are already vulnerable, whether old, young or sick, usually do not survive these kinds of events.”
Dr Vengetas said while it was too soon to know the full impact on wildlife populations, there were ways people could help. WWF and Aussie Ark run flood fundraisers to support their work.
“In the wake of the bushfires and floods, I saw an outpouring of love that I had never experienced before on this level, for nature, for our wildlife, for our Earth.”