Sightseers are adding to stress of animals

A frightened wallaby hides in long grass by a roadside at Longford after swimming in floodwaters to reach a patch of dry land. Photo: Jessica Woeltjes

A LOCAL wildlife carer is urging motorists to obey ‘road closed’ signs, saying motorists are adding to the stress of animals forced from their homes by flooding.
Lynne Amore said sightseers were compounding the stress of animals seeking refuge on what little high ground they could find.
She said some sightseers were ignoring road block signs driving and walking where they shouldn’t be, scaring already exhausted wet and cold wildlife back into the water.
“There are plenty of places to go take a look — it’s all around you,” she said.
“Stop breaking the law and risking others, including wildlife, by going beyond the signs.”
Local photographer Lotje McDonald, who captured today’s front page aerial image which depicts the extent of flooding in the Sale and Longford area, agreed, saying she was mortified at seeing cars drive so fast.
“Unbelievable,” she said.
“Wallabies are freaking out as they had nowhere to go …water on both sides of the road, and only a little bit of long grass to hide in.
“They can swim or hop in water, but only for short time before getting exhausted.”
Ms Amore said Wildlife Victoria and local rescuers were called and attended to distressed animals, adding only appropriately trained and registered people were allowed to intervene where native wildlife was concerned.
“A wildlife emergency where multiple animals are impacted is a team effort,” she said.
Ms Amore advised a good first point of call for people who saw wildlife in trouble was Wildlife Victoria on 08 8400 7300.
“They have the resources and contacts, and can call the appropriately registered and trained people closest to the area they are needed with the experience specific to the animal,” she said.
“This is the most timely, efficient and quickest way to get help for the animal.
“Following these protocols are even more important under our current restrictions with COVID and the flood conditions.”
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