Bushfire’s effect on animals

Bushfire’s effect on animals

30 January 2006

published by www.abc.net.au

Australia — The effect of bushfire on mankind is obvious; homes and property burned or damaged, fences burned, stock lost.

But, as Fiona Parker and Barry Clugston found on their tour through the Grampians National Park in the wake of the fire, native animals suffer as well.

Naturalist Barry Clugston discovered this ibis, illustrating the plight faced by Grampians wildlife both before and after the bushfire.

Barry found this ibis the morning after the bushfire savagely swept through the farming area around Pomonal on Sunday, January 22.

“It had a broken wing and must’ve had some damage to its legs as well,” he says.

“It probably hit a fence trying to escape [the fire] and broke its wing in the confusion of the dark and the smoke.”

It’s an illustration of the effect that a bushfire can have on native wildlife. Peter Myroniuk, president of Wildlife Victoria, says the effect is devastating, including in the Grampians.

“The extent of the fires is quite vast,” he says.

“That’s going to have a significant impact on wildlife in the Grampians…the ones that are surviving are going to find it quite hard finding shelter and food resources, and perhaps reasonable quality water as well.”

Wildlife Victoria has rescue teams in the area looking for injured animals, but in coming weeks and months, he says that people may see more animals on the edges of the fires, driven out by the need for food.

“That’s where we’ll be making available appropriate, small, parcels of animal food to drop off along those edges,” he says.

“Animals are starting to come out now. They’re going to face smoke inhalation, bad burns, eye injuries from smoke, pneumonia might set in for some of them. They’re very serious cases, but they’ll be triaged by wildlife shelters, there’ll be vets involved and so on.” 


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