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RESCUE

So you have come across an injured creature and you want to know what to do.

  1. Protect yourself.
    Although most humans have a deep love of wildlife you must never risk your own life,
    or place others at risk, to rescue wildlife.

    Do not attempt to rescue injured wildlife from a road if it puts you or other road users at risk.
    Get help or report the incident to the police.
    Be aware of injured birds near power lines. Make sure there are no fallen, or broken, power lines.
    Report such incidences immediately to the police or the state power company.
    Do not climb power poles or pylons to rescue birds caught up in power lines.
    Again report such incidences immediately to the police or the state power company.
    Do not attempt to rescue injured wildlife on train lines. Report to the police.
    Do not attempt to rescue wildlife from fast flowing rivers or the ocean.
    Keep yourself safe at all times and be aware of any risks or dangers before you decide to act.

    Any injured creature is going to be terrified of humans and will try to protect itself.
    It will try to bite, scratch, or kick.
    Do not put yourself at risk. You cannot help the creature if you are injured too.
    Be aware that serious diseases can be transmitted from wildlife to humans.
    Seek medical attention immediately: If you are bitten or scratched or come into contact with bodily fluids.

  2. Before taking any action make a long distance assessment of the situation.
    Can you safely handle the animal alone?
    Do you have something to wrap the animal in?
    Are you a local, or are you passing through this area?
    Do you know where you can take this animal for treatment and care?
    Can you safely transport the animal to a carer or a veterinarian?
    Answer these questions honestly and get help if you need help.

  3. Minimise stress to the creature.
    Keep children and dogs away from the animal.
    Keep noise to a minimum. Turn off your mobile phone, or leave in the vehicle. Turn off your car engine.
    Try not to shine bright lights directly in the creature's face.
    Approach quietly and slowly, even if you think the animal is unconscious - it might not be!

  4. First Aid at incident scene.
    Injured wildlife do not make good patients. They do not know we are trying to help them, and they will bite.
    You are now in the danger zone - do not put yourself at risk. Get help if you need help.
    Visually assess injuries.
    If the creature appears uninjured and you think it is just stunned move it to a place of safety (such as off a road, but only if it is safe to do so) make sure it is placed in the shade, and try, if possible, to protect it from passing predators until it recovers.
    Do not interfere with any young in the pouch.

    If it is a large animal or bird
    and there are obvious open fractures do not move the animal.
    Return to your car, or move away from the creature to minimise stress.
    Do not attempt to move any large marsupial or bird without professional help.
    Kangaroos especially are susceptible to stress, and capture myopathy is a real and very serious risk, often resulting in the animal dying.
    Call for professional help to sedate and prepare the creature for transport, or for someone to humanely destroy the creature at the incident scene.
    Stay where you can see the animal and protect it from predators, if possible, until help arrives.
    If it is a small animal or bird
    wrap tightly in something thick, such as a coat or blanket, and try to prevent the injured limb or wing from moving.
    Then transport immediately, but quietly, to a veterinarian or to professional help.
    Remember you can still get bitten and scratched even when the creature is wrapped.
    It is difficult to stem severe bleeding in conscious wildlife without stressing the creature or putting yourself at risk. If it is safe do so, wrap the creature in a thick blanket or coat, and then apply pressure to the bleeding from the outside.
    It is inadvisable to perform mouth to mouth resuscitation on any creature where the history is unknown.
    You are at risk from disease, and of course you are dangerously close to the biting end if it suddenly wakes up!

    If the creature dies
    place the body away from roads so carrion do not endanger themselves or road users.
    Check the area for any dependent young, and report the incident and its location to a wildlife rescuer.
    Check inside the pouch for any pouched young that might have survived.

    REMOVING A MARSUPIAL FROM THE POUCH
    Please be aware that the kangaroo is one of the few marsupials that, for obvious reasons, has a top opening pouch. Many marsupials have a rear opening pouch. The entrance situated just above the cloaca - the urogenital opening.
    The Older Joey -
    This little animal will be terrified and will show it. It will hiss at its rescuer and verbally protest.
    It can also bite, scratch and kick.
    If you feel you cannot remove it from the pouch then please find someone who can, because it will face a long lingering death, from the cold, or the heat, or die from slow starvation, inside its dead mother's pouch.
    Either that or suffer a cruel death from a passing predator.

    Young possums, bandicoots and many other marsupials are notorious biters, but surprisingly very few Western Grey kangaroo joeys bite - however the one you rescue could be the exception to the rule, and sink its teeth, so take care!
    Older joeys fit tightly inside the pouch, and we had to remove one young Tammar wallaby by cutting open his dead mother's pouch with a pair of scissors. But usually the mother's pouch muscles go slack during the act of dying and the joey can be removed by gently slipping your hand inside and underneath the joey, and then easing the youngster out. Keep a good hold of the joey though, because if it gets the chance it will wriggle free and run. Please do not think because it can run away that it will survive. If it is a pouched joey it will not. It will die!
    Wrap the joey immediately in something warm. There are many dos and don'ts with joey pouches but in an emergency anything will do as long as the joey is warm, quiet, dark and held tightly. Hold it close to you, and get it to a carer as soon as possible. They will make sure it goes inside the correct pouch. For now it needs rescuing.
    The Younger Joey - Because of its smaller size it might appear easier to remove this joey, but there are other problems. For at least one third of its pouch life a joey is attached to the teat. Apart from a small circular opening in the front of the mouth where the teat enters, the lips are sealed with skin that has yet to break, and it cannot fully open its mouth. Pulling the younger joey off the teat will rip the sides of the mouth and cause more problems for carer and joey. Therefore the first thing the rescuer needs to do is look at the joey's mouth. If the sides of the mouth are sealed cut the teat as close to the mother's stomach as possible, and leave it in the joey's mouth. Pin the teat to the artificial pouch. In a few hours the mother's teat will shrink and can then be pulled out gently without causing any damage.
    If the joey's eyes are open it is able open its mouth and can release the teat. Therefore by gently pulling on the mother's teat it will slide out.

  5. Before Transportation.
    If the injured animal is a female marsupial
    check around to make sure any pouched young have not been thrown from the pouch. Look and listen for any young at foot that might be hiding, or lying injured near by.
    If the injured wildlife is an emu assess its age. If it is a young emu there may be other injured emus near by. Young emus tend to cross roads in groups. Although it is the father that cares for the chicks you will not be able to sex the emu, so check around for chicks if it is an older emu that is injured.
    If you are local
    take a mental note of the exact location of the incident. If the creature can be treated successfully it will need to be released back into its own territory. Also it could have dependent young near by.
    Echidnas, especially, must be returned to their territory within days if they have suckling young in a hollow log.
    Birds also could be caring for young, and some wildlife, including many species of lizards, form mating partnerships that last for life and therefore need to be reunited.

    If you are passing through an area
    make a rough note of the location and leave a marker, such as something tied to a tree so you can return with a wildlife rescuer.
    And of course before you leave the scene, especially if it is a road accident, make sure you check the nearby bush for any vehicles or injured humans.

  6. Transporting.
    Make sure the creature is securely wrapped before and during transportation, especially if you are driving alone. Unsecured wildlife will panic if it suddenly regains consciousness inside your vehicle, and can be a danger to you and other road users.
    Keep the creature WARM, QUIET AND DARK throughout transportation.
    Use your heater or turn on your air con, depending on the temperature.
    Turn off your radio or CD player.

    Drive immediately to help, or somewhere were you can ring for help. Do not stop off en route to finish the shopping!

  7. On Arrival.
    Do not unwrap the creature until the carer or veterinarian is ready.
    Give the carer or the veterinarian a complete history of the incident, any obvious injuries and the location.

    Leave your name, address and phone number so you can be contacted for any follow up.

  8. After the Event.
    Check yourself, your car and any bedding, or clothing, used for ticks.
    Shower and wash your hair, checking for any scratches or open wounds that could become infected.
    Seek medical attention immediately if you find any scratches, or if you feel ill within the next few weeks.
    If you do inform your doctor you have been dealing with wildlife.

 

Roo Gully Tip
for the
Professional Rescuer
Sedating Western Grey kangaroos

Roo Gully uses 'Pamlin' (Diazepam 5mg/ml) to sedate the older Western Grey kangaroo including wild Western Grey kangaroos. This drug is proving to be very successful.

It appears to have a wide safety margin which is important when estimating
the weight of a wild kangaroo at the scene for the dose needed.
It is effective with minimal stress to the Western Grey kangaroo,
appearing to give smooth sedation within approximately 20 minutes,
a good sedated period of a few hours, and allows a smooth steady recovery.

So far Roo Gully has not observed any adverse reactions, but these can occur.
Before use discuss any possible adverse reactions with your veterinarian.

For WESTERN GREY KANGAROOS:
'Pamlin' - Diazepam 5mg/ml - 1ml per 10kgs of body weight by IM injection.

This drug is only available under prescription
and can only be administered with the permission of a veterinarian.

Roo Sedated