News

Wildlife Rehabilitation Annual Report

2019-2020 Annual Report

This is a bumper Annual Report for the Rehabilitation Sector for the 2019-2020 year. 

It makes compelling reading and every group should be proud of its efforts that are reflected in the whole.

For full access to the Wildife Rehabilitation Dashboard go to: https://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/topics/animals-and-plants/native-animals/rehabilitating-native-animals/wildlife-rehabilitation-reporting

To access the annual report go to: https://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/-/media/OEH/Corporate-Site/Documents/Animals-and-plants/Native-animals/wildlife-rehabilitation-annual-report-201920-200336.pdf

NSW Community Wildlife Survey

The NSW DPIE needs your help to conserve koalas and other local wildlife, to understand the impact of the 2019-20 bushfires and to assess trends in feral animals such as deer and fox.

In 2019, they released the NSW Community Wildlife Survey. The survey aimed to improve our understanding of the distribution of koalas and other mammals, including both native and introduced species, in New South Wales, to indicate how their populations have changed over time and to investigate what might be causing that change.

They ran the survey from May to December.

They have now reopened the survey to help them understand how our wildlife and introduced mammals are faring, and how they have been impacted by the 2019-20 bushfires.

More than ever, we need your sightings of koalas and other mammals from before and after the fires, as well as sightings from areas not affected by the fire.

The information you provide will build on findings from earlier community surveys, allowing us to compare mammal populations in 2006 with those in 2019-20. This data will help us decide the priority sites for action as part of the NSW Government’s Koala Strategy. It will also provide us with vital information about where mammals were affected by fire and where populations remain within and near the fire grounds.

The survey questions include

  • which of the 10 target animals in the image gallery occur in your local area
  • when you last saw the animals in your local area and if you think their numbers are increasing, decreasing or staying the same
  • the health of the koalas in your local area and whether they have young (joeys)
  • what you think are the main threats to koalas in your local area
  • where in New South Wales you have seen any of the 10 target animals over the last 2 years.

The survey should take between 20 and 30 minutes to complete.

For more information, links to the tools that you need to use and to take the survey go to:

https://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/topics/animals-and-plants/threatened-species/programs-legislation-and-framework/nsw-koala-strategy/koala-and-other-wildlife-survey

Staying healthy during a mouse plague

Mice, rats and other rodents may carry infections that can spread to humans. These infections can spread through direct contact with infected mice or through contact with soil, food or water contaminated by infected mice. These infections are rare, but people should take steps to reduce their risk.

To read the full article go to the NSW health website at – https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/environment/factsheets/Pages/mouse-plague.aspx

Download a PDF factsheet at – https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/environment/factsheets/Factsheets/mouse-plague.pdf

Tips for protecting your health

Minimising rodent contact

  • Seal any holes or gaps inside your home.
  • Store food inside thick, well-sealed containers and clean up any spills/leftover food promptly to avoid attracting rodents.
  • Do not set mouse traps near food preparation areas.

What to do if you are bitten by a rodent

  • Immediately clean the wound with soap and water.
  • Dry the area, apply an antibiotic cream and a clean bandage.
  • Seek medical attention. You may need a tetanus immunisation, and in some circumstances (not always), antibiotics are given to prevent infection.
  • As the wound heals, keep an eye out for signs of infection such as skin that is warm to the touch, redness or pain. See a doctor if these signs develop.

Clean and disinfect mouse contact areas

  • Mop floors and clean countertops with disinfectant or bleach solution.
  • Steam clean or shampoo upholstered furniture and carpets with evidence of rodent exposure.
  • Wash any bedding and clothing with laundry detergent in hot water if exposed to rodent urine or droppings.

Clean up of mouse carcasses

When cleaning up mouse carcases or working in areas where mice have been:

  • Wear gloves
  • Wear waterproof protective clothing and footwear.
  • Cover cuts and abrasions with a waterproof dressing.
  • Wash hands with soap and dry your hands after completing the clean-up, and especially before eating.
  • Ideally, any handling of mouse carcasses should be undertaken by household members who are not pregnant or immunosuppressed.

Guidelines for the initial treatment and care of rescued sea turtles

Hi turtle rescuers & carers, please see the link below to recently published resources relevant to the inital treatment and care of rescued sea turtles.

Guidelines for the initial treatment and care of rescued sea turtles

The purpose of this document is to provide licensed wildlife rehabilitators in New South Wales with guidelines for the initial treatment of sea turtles requiring rescue or rehabilitation.

https://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/research-and-publications/publications-search/guidelines-for-the-initial-treatment-and-care-of-rescued-sea-turtles

Guidelines for the initial treatment and care of rescued sea turtles

Updated – DPIE/NPWS Macropod rehabilitation resources

Hi Macropod carers, please see the links below to recently published resources relevant to macropod rehabilitation.

These have been developed in consultation with the sector and veterinary experts.

Guidelines for the Initial Treatment and Care of Rescued Macropods:

https://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/research-and-publications/publications-search/guidelines-for-the-initial-treatment-and-care-of-rescued-macropods

Link to the guidelines for the Initial Treatment and Care of Rescued Macropods on DPIE website
Click the image above to go to the guidelines for the Initial Treatment and Care of Rescued Macropods

Macropod Training Standards and Trainers’ Guide for the Volunteer Wildlife Rehabilitation Sector:

https://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/research-and-publications/publications-search/macropod-rehabilitation-training-standards-for-the-volunteer-wildlife-rehabilitation-sector

Click the image above to go to the guidelines for the initial treatment and care of rescued macropods

Coxiella burnetii seroprevalence and Q fever in Australian wildlife rehabilitators

Wildlife rehabilitators give blood, sweat and tears in their work with wildlife. 

At the Australian Wildlife Rehabilitation Conference in July 2018 in Sydney well over 100 volunteers from multiple states contributed to a study on Q Fever by offering blood samples. 

This report published November 2020 concludes that more work needs to be done to promote awareness of this disease and encourage vaccination of wildlife rehabilitators, one of the groups at risk of contracting Q Fever.

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.onehlt.2020.100197

There’s a Fungus Among Us

Deadly Fungal Disease Could Threaten Australia’s Iconic Lizards

A team of scientists have announced the discovery of a deadly fungal disease affecting wild lizards across Australia.

The condition, sometimes referred to as ‘Yellow Fungus Disease’, is dreaded by captive reptile keepers across the globe, who know all too well how contagious and deadly the infection can be. This research, published overnight in Scientific Reports, describes the first cases of the disease detected in the wild anywhere in the world.

The cause of the outbreak is a fungal pathogen, Nannizziopsis barbatae, which feeds on keratin, the main protein in skin. Infection causes severe skin lesions and can progress to systemic infection. Affected lizards have been identified in Western Australia, Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland, with focal outbreaks in Brisbane parklands.

The research was led by USC Science Honours student Nicola Peterson, who worked as part of an interdisciplinary team that included USC academics Associate Professor Celine Frere and Dr İpek Kurtböke, Dr Karrie Rose of the Taronga Conservation Society, Dr Stephanie Shaw of the Department of Environment and Science, Dr Tim Hyndman of Murdoch University, Professor Lynne Sigler of the University of Alberta, and Brisbane-based veterinarian Dr Josh Llinas.

“It’s awful to see what this infection does to reptiles,” said Ms Peterson. “The lizards we examined presented with extensive skin lesions, severe emaciation, and loss of toes and tails. They were in terrible condition and clearly suffering.”

Sadly, the infection usually leads to death, even with treatment. Professor Sigler, a world-leading mycologist, said, “The presence of this contagious fungal pathogen in free-living Australian lizards poses a serious conservation threat.”

Reptiles are comparatively understudied and often elusive, so there is real potential for population impacts to occur undetected. Public vigilance can play an important role in identifying and limiting impacts of the disease. Dr Karrie Rose, who is the manager of Taronga’s Australian Registry of Wildlife Health said, “This research highlights the importance of monitoring and investigating emergent disease to protect our iconic species and environments.

The community has a role in this process and can report unusual signs in wildlife to the Animal Disease Watch Hotline on 1800 675 888, or their Wildlife Health Australia State Coordinator.” (https://wildlifehealthaustralia.com.au/AboutUs/ContactDetails.aspx)

This group of fungi, Nannizziopsis species, includes several species known to cause disease and death in reptiles. Although rare cases of infection have also been reported in humans, the species affecting reptiles and humans are different. Ms Peterson’s research showed that Nannizziopsis barbatae was not able to grow at human body temperature, largely mitigating concerns that the fungus could pose a threat to humans. Nonetheless, it is important that only trained individuals using appropriate biosafety measures should handle reptiles with suspicious skin lesions.

Dr Frere said the USC-led study described the first cases of Nannizziopsis infection in free-ranging reptiles, details a new method to culture fungi, and highlights characteristics of the fungus that makes it a high-risk threat to wild reptile populations. “This was the first step in our research into this novel fungal pathogen,” said Dr Frere, who recently received a $967,439 Australian Research Council Future Fellowship for further research into fungal diseases in animal populations. “USC will continue to lead research into how the social behaviours of animals contribute to the spread and transmission of infectious fungal diseases.”