A document by the Victorian state government in Australia advising euthanising orphaned baby koalas and kangaroos has caused an uproar among those rescuing them from the recent bushfires.
Wildlife carers 'told to shoot rather than to rescue joeys'
The 2019-2020 Australian bushfire season has killed 28 people as of Jan. 8, 2020, possibly over one billion animals, and is threatening the extinction of several endangered species.
The 2018 Victorian Response Plan for Wildlife Impacted by Fire states that the rehabilitation of orphaned “milk dependent joeys” from these “common species” found in the fire zone is not supported.
The plan also urged against handing the animals to wildlife carers, stating “these animals require significant long term care and cannot be successfully returned to the wild”.
Methods of euthanasia recommended in the document included lethal injection, blunt forceful trauma to the back of the animal's skull, or shooting it in the head.
Such methods were recommended for milk dependent orphaned animals, despite the document also providing directions on how to raise them.
The document also urged people to euthanise animals that have suffered burns on more than 15 per cent of their bodies, and severely dehydrated, deformed, or diseased animals.
Wildlife carers feel 'government doing nothing to help native animals'
Speaking to Yahoo News Australia, wildlife shelter operator Nikki Medwell said that the government had deemed "overabundant animals like macropods (kangaroos) or koalas" unnecessary to rescue.
"It doesn’t matter whether they’ve been burnt, if they’re found on the fire ground they’re shot," Medwell added.
"So that’s totally healthy, viable wildlife, including koalas which some are saying are on the brink of extinction."
It was reported this week that more than one billion animals in Australia are feared dead due to the bushfires across the country, which has been considered one of the worst in history.
Top image via @bradfleet/IG