Depending on the time of day, visitors to Centennial Parklands can expect to see a wide variety of animals throughout the various environments.
Although the Parklands attract more than ten million visits each year, generally the wildlife remains relatively undisturbed and continues to use the grounds as a valuable sanctuary and breeding area.
However, there are times when animals in the Parklands may need our help and knowing the correct procedure for handling injured animals may be the difference between a successful rehabilitation and an unfortunate casualty.
To touch or not to touch?
The Centennial Park and Moore Park Trust (Trust) does not encourage park visitors to pick up injured animals, as not all injured animals should be approached by humans.
The first step should be to contact a Parklands Ranger (phone 0412 718 611 or at the Parklands Office.
If you do pick up an injured animal, the Trust will need to know some information, including:
- location - more often than not, injured animals tend to be quite young and in many cases, still reside in the nest with their mothers. It is therefore crucial that we know exactly where the injured animal was found so that we can return the infant back to the nest once it has healed.
- extenuating circumstances - while dogs, foxes and cars cause a large majority of the injuries to wildlife in the Parklands, another major factor is rubbish. If you are aware of any extenuating circumstances such as plastic bags or other rubbish that may have led to the injury, report this. But be careful if you try to remove obstacles from animals, you can actually make it worse - If it doesn't seem life threatening, leave it to the experts.
When it comes to handling injured fauna, a few simple precautions will ensure that your intervention is a help not a hindrance to the health of wildlife in the Parklands.
By wrapping the whole animal in soft material and placing it in a carton or container, any damaged limbs are immobilised and are therefore protected from further injury. Towels are the most appropriate material, but any sort of cloth will do.
Remember to cover the head as well because in most cases this will calm and relax the animal.
Finally, make sure the carton or container is soft and won't damage the animal and be careful not to bump the box when transporting the 'patient' to the rangers or local WIRES branch.
By following these simple guidelines, we can all play an important role in protecting and reserving the animals of Centennial Parklands.
Helpful do's and don'ts
- feed animals bread. While visitors may enjoy feeding bread to the ducks and other wildlife, they may not realise they are actually causing harm. White bread has limited nutrients but birds and other animals will continue to feast on this easy meal, ignoring their natural food sources and causing an imbalance in the ecological food chain. The bread can also contribute to water pollution, endangering the rich, native aquatic life of the many ponds in the Parklands.
- feed the pigeons. Pigeon populations, particularly near Duck Pond, are on the rise and are a very real pest, spreading disease among humans and animals and causing chemical deterioration to the Parklands buildings and infrastructure with their droppings.
- clean up any rubbish you see, particularly plastic products. Every plastic bag is capable of killing a whole range of native wildlife and its removal will certainly reduce injury to animals.
- note the exact details of the location of any injured animals, right down to the specific tree or scrub. Remember to leave your name and phone number with the rangers in case any further information is required.