February 13, 2013

Wild Things

Wildlife rehabilitation is the process of removing injured, orphaned, or sick wild animals from the wild and caring for them. The goal of wildlife rehabilitation is to provide food, housing and medical care to these animals and return them to the wild after treatment.

Did you know RSPCA ACT is the only licensed wildlife carer in the ACT?

Were you aware that it is against the law to keep a native animal for longer than a 48 hour period? For the benefit of the animal RSPCA ACT should be contacted as soon as possible if sick, injured or orphaned native wildlife comes into your care.

One of the obstacles for rehabilitation we see at RSPCA is humanising, or imprinting.

Humanising occurs when a young animal is given inappropriate care during the rearing process and the animal becomes dependent on the human carer.  This condition potentially limits the animal’s chance of survival in the wild.

Imprinting occurs when a carer allows a young animal to think of him/her as a parent, with the result that the animal will most likely not fully recognise its own species and therefore may not survive in the wild, or when mature it may approach humans for food or mating.

In addition, native animals raised with or in close proximity to domestic pets will not recognise these species as predators when released.  For adult animals, the opposite problem occurs:  if being cared for in proximity to domestic pets the sight, sound and smell of domestic animals are highly stressful and may cause delay improvement in their condition.

When we receive an animal in to care that has been humanised it may take weeks or even months to get that animal to a stage where it can be released in to the wild.  Sometimes, for their own safety, these animals can’t be released and unfortunately have to be humanely euthanased.

The most common species we see that have been humanised are possums and magpies.
The possum in the photo recently came in to our care.  She was easily approached on the street, picked up and is certainly used to being hand-fed.  We are keeping our fingers crossed that we will be able to “wild” up this possum so that she will be suitable for release.

If you find an injured native animal please contact us on 6287 8100 and help us keep them wild.

February 4, 2013

Saving lives - the cat's out of the bag

As a supporter of RSPCA ACT, do you ever wonder if your donations of time and money are really making a difference? The short answer is yes. You are literally saving lives.

A few years ago our cat and kitten homing rates were comparatively high, but they weren’t as high as they could have been. One problem was that diseases could spread through the kitten population while they were too young to be vaccinated, and as many kittens were already compromised after a tough start in life, they simply weren’t strong enough to fight.

The solution to this problem was brilliant in its simplicity. We needed to get kittens out of the shelter. We needed to let sick kittens be treated without spreading their illness to others. We needed somewhere for all of our litters of kittens to grow big, strong and healthy so we could find them a forever home.

So, we put a call out to the public asking for help – we needed an army of volunteers to become kitten foster carers, and what a response we got! We now have around 150 trained foster carers and we are able to provide them with everything they need to raise and socialise these precious little creatures – food, bedding, blankets, litter, litter trays, bowls, hot water bottles, toys, vet care… whatever the carers and kittens require.

 In 2012 RSPCA ACT achieved outstanding results in our cat and kitten rehoming rates with 74% of domestic cats and 91% of domestic kittens being homed. These amazing figures are the result of the dedication of our staff and volunteers, and the support from our donors who make this work possible.

Cats and kittens at RSPCA ACT are given the very best chance of finding a new home, and we have you – our supporters – to thank.