World wildlife day 2015
TODAY IS World Wildlife Day, as declared by the United Nations, which hopes to bring awareness to the plight of animals and plants that are in danger – mostly from poaching, but also from habitat destruction.
Australian animals are high on the poaching list and many species of birds, particularly parrots, and also reptiles are highly sought after. Around 34,000 species are protected by the global body, CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora).
In Australia, about 70 types of plant and animal – such as orange-bellied parrots and dugongs – are on Appendix I (risk of extinction if trade is allowed), and just under 1000 – such as Carnaby’s cockatoos and echidnas – are on Appendix II (unregulated trade could threaten survival).
Every single native Australian species is protected under wildlife laws, meaning that you need a permit to keep any species.
Wildlife volunteers give our animals a chance
Animals closest to urban areas are also under threat from habitat destruction and being injured by humans, most commonly in cars.
Wildlife volunteers at organisations such as WIRES do an amazing job of helping our injured and sick animals, and are licencesed to keep animals by the NSW Parks and Wildlife Service.
At the peak, 400 rescue calls a day are taken by the people at WIRES and an average of 130 animals are rescued each month.
Helping wildlife is no small task. Animals like kangaroos and wombats need lots of human attention and rehabilitation can take up to 18 months before the animal is well enough to be taken back to the wild. Food alone can cost $600.
“During 2014 we received more than 250,000 calls from the public with a large percentage of those calls resulting in rescues which is a great outcome for our native wildlife,” says WIRES CEO, Leanne Taylor.
If you seen an injured or sick animal, call WIRES for a rescue: 13 000 WIRES (13 00 094 737). www.wires.org.au