Sep 4, 2020

The Aftermath

The Orphans
The Orphans

Unfortunately, even though the devastating bushfires have long since stopped burning, we'll continue to see the aftermath for years to come.  We're now in baby season for most species of birds and animals, and we're finding many cases of malnutrition due to scarcity of the foliage, flowers and seeds that form the basis of their diets.  Even insect eating animals such as echidnas are struggling, because there aren't enough ants and termites around to feed them.  Creatures that rely on tree hollows for their homes can't find adequate protection, as we've lost so many thousands of the old trees that provide this.  No matter how many new trees are planted, it will be many, many years before they mature to the stage where a cockatoo or possum can live in them.   We'll be putting up man-made possum boxes, support feeding wherever possible, and taking many more animals into care than in previous years.  

To add to this, there have been new diseases developing from the climatic conditions and fires.  We are heavily involved with authorities to find out what the causes are and how to treat them. Some of these diseases are wide spread up the east coast of Australia ( basically where the fires were) so it is very important that we work out what is happening quickly so we can save as many animals as possible.

We have also been catching insects for testing as it is thought that they are spreading one of the new diseases.

Our mobile care unit continues to see lots of wildlife in Sydney and we have been preparing it in case we have another terrible fire season in which we are call on to help our precious wildlife in the country areas.

Of course, Covid hasn't helped.  We've had to close the office for our rescue line, but have been able to continue to run the 24 hour service from members' homes.  Our training courses for new members have been put on hold due to the distancing regulations, so we're working hard to develop online training.  It won't be quite the same as a face-to-face course, but it will help us train the new members we desperately need.  

We have had to stop our company working bees at the rehabilitation facility and Kukundi, this means that we will have to now need to do extra hours or pay people to do this work which is an added pressure to our volunteers.

Even though there are now green shoots on burnt trees, and grass sprouting in the woodlands, things are a long way from "normal" for our wildlife and us.

Thank you for continuing to support us during these times as we adapt to the new challenges ahead to provide the best care for our wildlife. 

Collecting insects at the rehabilitation Facility
Collecting insects at the rehabilitation Facility
Kookaburra at the Mobile Care Unit, injured
Kookaburra at the Mobile Care Unit, injured
Kookaburra well now and released.
Kookaburra well now and released.
Our Mobile Care Units x rays
Our Mobile Care Units x rays
Possum with Attitude
Possum with Attitude
Jul 27, 2020

Pup Season 2019- 2020

What a bat season this has been! The horrendous bushfires which wiped out critical food habitat and led to a mass abandonment of pups due to starving mothers; then the mass mortalities from extreme heat, and then torrential rain and flooding with trees collapsing and power lines down, bats getting entangled in fruit netting - it has been really, really busy with bat rescues. 

We opened Kukundi crèche for our flying-fox pups early January 2020 and have had over 170 pups go through the release program. That is a lot of weekly weigh and measure that have been undertaken! It is also a huge amount of fruit that had been cut daily to feed the hungry pups. Thankfully we have had wonderful support from one of our major supermarket chains that donated fruit for a large part of the season and our cool room has been up and running. This has meant we have been able to store fruit and minimise loss due to spoilage – something that we really needed this season with so many mouths to feed.

This year we also took in pups from other areas. One particular group of pups came from down south of Sydney. Earlier in the year (February) they had a severe hailstorm that resulted in many pups coming into their care at that time. Due to the devastating bushfire we had at the beginning of this year and the subsequent destruction of native forests and bushland, food for flying-foxes was scarce, so we were asked if we could accommodate these pups into our release program. The last group of these pups were successfully released at the end of May.

We have also had many adults and juveniles come into care this season for a variety of reasons, which have been released from the large flight cage at Kukundi. This is only just now starting to slow down and hopefully sometime in the next few weeks we will close the facility for a much-needed rest for our volunteers. This will also give us time to do maintenance work on the cages and surrounding area. We need to repaint the cage floor surface; replace the netting on the inside of the crèche cage; and look at putting in a concrete path running from the cutting room to the cage doors. This will make transporting of fruit to the cage easier and safer. Manhandling 60 to 90kgs (132 to 198lbs) of fruit is not an easy job, so anything we can to make this daily task less onerous will help our volunteers.

Thank you so much for all your generous donations that enable us to continue to rescue, rehabilitate and release back into the wild our beautiful bats. We could not do it without your help.

Cheers

Fiona Bassett

Project manager

May 11, 2020

A Tale of 2 Wombats

MJ and Mitch
MJ and Mitch

In January this year, two wombats came into our care from Wildlife Rescue South Coast (WRSC) as the fires had wiped out many of their members houses and their animal enclosures. We were happy to help these WRSC members by looking after not only these wombats but many other animals from the fire grounds until they were back on their feet and able to care for them again.

These two wombats were named Michael Jackson (MJ for short) because he had one white foot and other was called Mitch.  MJ had smoke inhalation problems and Mitch had burns along his back.  When they came into our care they were both small and frightened after all they had been through.

During their time being hand raised by a Sydney Wildlife Volunteer, MJ had to have chest x-rays and oxygen treatment for the smoke inhalation but recovered very well and quite quickly.

Mitch on the other hand had burns and sores on his back, one of the sores turned into a lump that needed a further vet check, needle aspiration and antibiotics. After treatment, the lump went down but did not disappear completely. The vets thought it was probably fibrous tissue but wanted us to keep an eye on it as may indicate the possibility of a small foreign body under skin that they could not find.  

 After one and half months the lump started to grow larger.  In 2 days, it burst and after taking him straight to the vets, it needed to be operated on. The vets found a large abscess and proceeded to remove the damaged tissue and cleaned it thoroughly. Once again, Mitch was on antibiotics in conjunction with daily flushing of the wound and laser treatment to enhance the healing.

In just over three weeks Mitch's large abscess hole had healed up beautifully and he was given the all clear to go back to the south coast to start the next stage of his rehabilitation before his eventual release back into the wild.

The south coast at the end of April looked very different to when we were down there treating burnt wildlife in January. It is now lush and green after the floods and there is once again plenty of food for any wildlife that may have survived the fires.

I hope these two gorgeous wombats continue to grow up big and strong then give the other wombats in their area a run for their money once released.

A week after they both arrived, still not relaxed.
A week after they both arrived, still not relaxed.
Laser treatment
Laser treatment
Oxygen for smoke inhalation
Oxygen for smoke inhalation
 
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