Animals are desperately vulnerable to natural disasters. An estimated 350 koalas have died during catastrophic bushfire conditions across eastern Australia and reports of injured animals continue to pour in.

It’s not just wildlife at risk. February’s Townsville floods claimed the lives of some 600,000 cattle. People are often injured while attempting to rescue pets, and the thought of leaving a dependent animal to face fire alone is devastating.

The good news is there are already disaster management plans for animals in some states in Australia. Knowing about these plans can help you reduce the risk to your loved ones – human and otherwise.

Know your state’s rules

Since the 2009 Royal Commission into Victorian bushfires, New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia and South Australia have adopted animal welfare plans for pets, livestock and wildlife.

Animal disaster management plans try to anticipate how the needs of animals will be managed in the event of a disaster. They assign roles to government agencies and non-government organisations to administer relief for animals.