Joint effort behind bushfire animal welfare response

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Agencies and organisations and have worked together to assess animal welfare impacts as result of the fire in Wooroloo last week.

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD), City of Swan, Shire of Mundaring and number of local community groups, associations and volunteers came together to co-ordinate animal welfare efforts.

The majority of the animals and wildlife found and checked by vets during the Wooroloo bushfires this month were found alive and well.

One possum, 46 alpacas, 30 pigeons and three donkeys are among a list of more than 750 animals checked by the animal welfare response team, made up of City of Swan, Shire of Mundaring, DPIRD, and local vets.

Between February 2 and 7, they visited impacted areas to search for and treat pets, wildlife and livestock, with 11 per cent requiring treatment, and animal losses making up less than two per cent.

City of Swan Mayor Kevin Bailey said it was an outstanding effort and applauded the team who worked hard to save these vulnerable animals in a dangerous and stressful situation.

“All our animals, big and small, are precious and we thank everyone who has stopped to help injured wildlife during the recent bushfires,” he said.

Shire of Mundaring President John Daw applauded the fantastic work of DPIRD staff, vets and Shire and City Rangers who had the difficult task of visiting impacted properties areas to find and treat injured animals.

“People love their animals and it must have been very distressing for those in the fire zone to know their animals were in danger,” Cr Daw said.

“This result is a great testament to how wonderful collaboration between local government and state agencies such as DPIRD can be during an emergency situation.”

DPRID worked closely with the Committee for Animal Welfare in Emergencies to co-ordinate the animal welfare response to the fires at Wooroloo.

DPIRD Incident and Emergency Director Pam I’Anson said the Australian Veterinary Association WA Branch and many organisations and private veterinary professionals at the Wooroloo fire incident control centre completed assessments of impacted properties with animals in the City of Swan and Shire of Mundaring.

“This has involved up to 40 veterinary professionals each day, many who volunteered their time,” Ms I’Anson said.

“Veterinary response teams visited impacted properties within the fire ground with approximately 750 animals and wildlife assessed and/or treated.

“The majority of animals and wildlife were found alive and required only assessment and feed and water supply. Animal and wildlife losses include a small number of chickens, sheep, horses, cattle, alpacas and kangaroos.”

DPIRD, the City of Swan and the Shire of Mundaring also worked in partnership to set up animal feed distribution centres in Bullsbrook, Gidgegannup and Chidlow.

Ms I’Anson said the feed distribution centres were being stocked with donations that include large and small bales of hay, pellets, dog and cat food, water drinking bowls, animal leads and animal health products.

The City of Wanneroo also provided an animal evacuation location for properties impacted by the fire in the neighbouring local government areas.

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