The Brumby Government is providing up to $350,000 in cash grants to wildlife carers in Western Victoria to support their rescue and rehabilitation effort in Victoria’s devastating bushfires.
Member for Western Victoria, Gayle Tierney said the fires had led to an influx of injured animals that needed treatment and this was placing an extra pressure on wildlife carers.
“Lives have been tragically lost in these fires and homes and possessions destroyed. They have also had a terrible effect on the health of our animals,” Ms Tierney said.
“These fires have caused extraordinary circumstances – experts have estimated the number of dead and injured animals could run into the millions.
“As we begin the recovery effort and people return to their communities, it is expected that more injured animals will be discovered. There are 340 licensed Wildlife Shelters across Victoria and 363 registered animal foster carers, including several in Western Victoria and many are involved in caring for our fire-affected wildlife.
“Many injured animals and birds have been found, assessed and are now receiving treatment and resources are stretched in caring for them.
“The majority of this work has been done through shelter operators, carer networks and volunteer vets. It is expected that the number of people involved will grow as more areas are declared safe and open to wildlife search and rescue teams.
“Shelter operators across the state are gearing up for the expected increase in the number of injured birds and animals and the Government wants to help them meet that challenge.”
The grants include:
• Up to $50,000 will be available to pay for temporary care arrangements for wildlife shelters that have been destroyed or severely damaged in the fires. These grants will be provided as one-off payments of up to $2000 for each shelter;
• Up to $200,000 will be available to licensed wildlife rehabilitators and registered foster carers. This will enable licensed shelter operators involved in the fire effort to obtain cash grants of up to $1000 for additional equipment and supplies. Registered foster carers will also be eligible for cash payments of up to $300;
• Up to $40,000 will be made available for payments to veterinarians who are volunteering services and equipment to help in the rescue and rehabilitation of fire-affected wildlife. Cash payments of up to $500 will be available per veterinarian to cover the costs of supplies and materials for treating native animals; and
• An additional $60,000 is to go to the Healesville Sanctuary’s Australian Wildlife Health Centre to support wildlife welfare and rehabilitation efforts directly related to the devastating fires. Already dozens of fire-affected animals have been treated at the AWHC with many more expected in the coming weeks.
All grants are to be one-off payments aimed at meeting additional wildlife welfare needs that have resulted directly from the recent fires. For more information and eligibility criteria contact the DSE on 136 186.