Yes we do! They are native to Australia as well as to other countries. Many people believe they are ‘too common’ to worry about. They feel pain and stress like all other animals and should be treated with the same respect.
AWARE Inc. rescue Australian indigenous/native wildlife as well as wildlife that naturally pass through our area such as migrating birds. Wildlife shelters are registered with the DELWP (Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning) are not licensed or permitted to rehabilitate non-native/exotic animals.
It is extremely important to release wildlife back into the environment it was found. It will already be familiar with the area, its predators, escape routes, food sources and nesting areas and may also have a family unit there. By relocating an animal elsewhere there is also a possibility of spreading diseases which otherwise may have been contained in one community.
It is a case of ‘the more you learn, the more you realise you didn’t know’.
There is an incredible amount of knowledge out there and each bird and animal is unique and therefore treated differently. Even hand rearing a healthy orphaned possum can turn to disaster with a lack of knowledge. Feeding them the wrong diet can be fatal! Not recognising correct weight gain (and therefore an underlying problem) can be fatal! Giving them oral antibiotics can be fatal! Our wildlife should not have to suffer a prolonged death because somebody wanted ‘to give it a go’ and did not have the correct training and support to do so.
As much fun as it is (and lets face it we have all done it!) we unfortunately only tend to feed those animals which are already numerous and ‘people friendly’. We can therefore provide an advantage to these animals and birds by making them stronger and a disadvantage to those not so aggressive.
Other disadvantages of feeding our wildlife include:
– foods are often given which are detrimental to an animals health, such as bread.
– they may not develop the correct skills in finding their own food.
– not all people are ‘wildlife friendly’ so it is sometimes better if an animal learns not to approach humans for food.
If we can’t stop you from feeding wildlife the minimum we ask is that you feed them at irregular intervals (a morning one week, an afternoon the next) so they cannot rely on this food source and will retain their hunting/foraging skills.
It is the rescuer/carer who foots most of the bill! Wildlife rescue and rehabilitation is not government funded (although as an organisation we can apply for grants). One of the reasons AWARE was formed was to assist these passionate people with the huge expense of helping our wildlife. AWARE and its carers therefore rely on donations and the hard work of our volunteers to keep on caring.