The days are getting longer, the sun is shining brighter, and new babies are springing up all over Victoria.
Unfortunately, for the team at Healesville Sanctuary, this comes with a spike in the number of wombats, kangaroo and koala joeys, and even a baby emu being treated for road trauma at the Australian Wildlife Health Centre.
Since 1 September, the AWHC has seen 137 patients, who have come into contact with cars, other animals, and also the heavy rains of the past month.
AWHC manager Gerry Ross said the hospital sees a marked rise in wildlife cases in spring and summer because of the breeding conditions.
“It’s tough out there come breeding season, with an increase in competition, leading to a reduction in resources,” Ms Ross said.
“As a result, you see animals wandering across roads in search of more food for their new young.”
Zoos Victoria is asking motorists to be especially watchful at dusk and dawn and to slow down if they see an animal on the road.
Wildlife have a strong flight response when scared and the sight and sound of a vehicle may trigger this response.
Headlights can ‘blind’ our native animals so if you do see a group of animals roadside, your best bet is to slow down to a safe braking speed as you pass them.
Remember that animals often gather and travel in groups. One can be a sign of others nearby.
Zoos Victoria urges motorists to stop and assist an animal following a collision or sighting, if it is safe to do so.
The animal may have a young joey in its pouch so the pouch should be checked.
Animal behaviour can be unpredictable, especially when stressed, it is important to assess the risk before assisting the animal. If you are unsure it is best to call for assistance.
Call your local, state or territory wildlife rescue group. Wildlife Victoria is the best point of call in Victoria on 03 8400 7300.
Even if the animal has moved away we recommend you still call Wildlife Victoria as the animal is most likely injured.
Wildlife Victoria can scout the location to find the animal, check its condition, and whether it has any young.