Jan 16, 2020

From Concept to Saving Lives

Volunteer vets preparing to leave
Volunteer vets preparing to leave

What a week! Actually what a summer! And it's not over yet. Interviewed by Fox TV and the inaugural trip for the mobile care unit (and like many others my first week back to work after the Christmas, new year break) I had a call around lunchtime on the Tuesday asking if I was able to go to waratah park to do an interview for fox TV along with a small group of other Sydney Wildlife carers. 

We did lots of live crosses to the United States, fed our wildlife charges in the breaks and finished in the wee early hours of the morning. The air was still thick with smoke to remind us why we were there; the world is interested in us, our wildlife and the environment. The out pouring of emotion and offers of assistance from people from all walks of life is truly humbling. We are just normal people dealing with what life throws at us, we also happen to be wildlife carers. We all feel a responsibility to look after our wildlife and environment.

A couple of days later, we saw the Sydney Wildlife Mobile Care Unit off on it's inaugural journey to our fire ravished south coast with a team of fantastic volunteer vets and carers on board armed with tonnes of medical supplies, bandages, water and food for the animals (all of which had been donated).  

After they left, I was tidying up and I found one of the original concept photos of the "van". That got me thinking about how we got here. 

It was about 3 years ago and Joan - a fellow carer had a vision to make specialist veterinary care available to carers and their native wildlife. There were many hurdles and many who didn’t think that we would get there but there were more people who shared the dream and supported the idea and the team. Joan and Lynleigh have worked tirelessly to get this exciting new concept of a mobile care unit for native wildlife off the drawing board and into reality.

Sadly, the Mobile care units’ inaugural journey was to help out in the bush fires that have killed and injured literally millions of animals.  On the plus side, Sydney Wildlife have people like Joan, Lynleigh and the wonderful team of volunteer vets and carers working together with Wildlife Care South Coast and the extended team of people who have done everything from sewing pouches and bat wraps, to giving donations of goods and medical supplies.  Not to mention those who have given us the funds to purchase other medical supplies, fuel and essential equipment. As Sydney Wildlife is a 100% volunteer organisation, we can't do the important job of looking after our unique precious wildlife without the support of the community and the donations. 

I could list many people who have helped but alas there is not enough space on the paper to thank everyone individually.  So please accept our thanks and know that we will be continuing to look after our wildlife with your help and ongoing support. 

Finally, I would like to say I am proud and honoured to be a part of such a great group of people as Sydney Wildlife.

Driving through the devastation
Driving through the devastation
Kangaroo joey with burnt feet
Kangaroo joey with burnt feet
Joeys now treated and bandaged.
Joeys now treated and bandaged.
Thin monitor no food due to fires
Thin monitor no food due to fires
Red-bellied Black snake being examined
Red-bellied Black snake being examined
Fire victim echidna meets care unit echidna
Fire victim echidna meets care unit echidna
Dec 27, 2019

Another season begins

Premature Bean
Premature Bean

Dear Supporters

It has been a torrid season so far with an overwhelming number of bushfires devastating the Australian native forests and bushland.  Bushfires in NSW have now burnt in excess of 3 million hectares – forests that provided food for flying-foxes. The bats are now abandoning their young, leaving local camps littered with dead and dying young. This is likely an aftermath of extreme stress and starvation due to loss of food, and disrupted migration patterns from smoke and fire storms. 

In addition, this last week we have experienced a record-breaking heatwave, which has lead to catastrophic loss of life in many flying-fox camps throughout Australia. Flying-foxes are responsible for long distance pollination and seed dispersal of native east coast hardwoods and native fruits. Every one is precious. WE NEED THEM. THEY NEED US. To read more see the link below.

Over the last few weeks we have had some visitors at our release facility, Kukundi, at Lane Cove National Park. 16 educations bats from Australia Walkabout Wildlife Park have been evacuated to our facility due to the huge fire that was burning at Mt Gosper and threatening their home. They have finally been able to go home in the last few days as the fire is no longer threatening their home.

On a more personal note, I have 8 pups in care this season. One special little man, who we named Bean, came in mid November with his umbilical cord and placenta still attached.  He was found on the ground and was tiny – not on our growth charts for weight and forearm. He had no belly or face fur; his eyes were shut and ears down – a premmie pup. 

I have had the privilege of raising him, and so far so good. He is now 28 days old (adjusted age). He had major issues sucking from a teat without snorting the milk out his nose, so for the last 6 weeks I have been syringe feeding him 6 to 7 times a day. It is only this week where he has been able to feed from a bottle and teat without this happening.  Yeah! I have to admit that it has been very stressful at times, not knowing if he was going to survive, but very rewarding seeing him each day put on weight and forearm length.

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 flying foxes. We couldn’t do it without your help. 

Fiona

Bean 25 days old
Bean 25 days old

Links:

Dec 16, 2019

The Black Walk

In the wake of the disastrous fires we have encountered across Sydney recently, I accompanied one of our great Sydney Wildlife volunteers, Senka Pupacic along with Frances Pike, founder of Australian Forests and Climate Alliance to help the wildlife affected by these terrible bush fires. Most of the places we walked and drove through still had smoldering earth where roots were continuing to burn underground.

Due to the intensity of these fires the authorities were not letting volunteers into areas until deemed safe. This could sometimes be a week or so after the fires before we are able to go in and help the native animals that had managed to survive.

We traveled to some of the worst hit areas towing trailers full of supplies to try and help the wildlife in need. While doing the "Black Walk" through the burnt-out bush in search of animals needing medical aid and attending to their needs we also, remarkably, identified some surviving wildlife communities.

This is where the trailer load of supplies really helped as we were able to put out fresh drinking water for the local wildlife that had survived as well as pelletized herbivore food and other important support feeds for animals needing this till the native habitat could start growing again and begin providing the food they need.

This food needs to be put out on a regular basis to continue to support the animals until their food grows back. Australia’s bush is built for quick regeneration after fires and within 2 weeks, new shoots were pushing through charcoal trees and fresh grass was reaching through the ashes.

We saw very little “life” but life loves the dead stuff. The enormous cooked forests were strangely beautiful, especially where you could see how quickly life would (and indeed already was) taking it all back.

Tiny pockets of living things did exist. Small oasis’ (by creeks and rivers) have given safety to animals during the fires and now food and water for the time being.

The existence of these places, and the survival of these animals, was entirely dependent on how human beings had treated the creeks, rivers and their surrounds. 

In just a couple of hours we saw:

  • Wallabies
  • Lizards (skinks, water dragons and lace monitors)
  • Snake sheds and signs of recent snake movement
  • A plethora of birds, including scrubwrens, fairywrens, willy wagtails, spotted pardalotes, magpies, currawongs and some rainbow lorikeets
  • I even briefly glimpsed a platypus!

So life goes on for nature as it always does and where it has been nurtured, it gets a head start!

 
WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.