Prepare for glass fencing casualty!

Life is never dull for a wildlife carer. I can personally guarantee that if I decide to take on a major project such as attacking the garden or garage, then there will be a sudden influx of wildlife. Last night saw me taking delivery of a squirrel glider joey, a ringtail possum joey and two butcher bird nestlings. All jobs on hold!

This morning the local vets rang with a fledgling tawny frogmouth. Fortunately, this young bird checks out fine and he just found himself on the ground when not able to fly as well as he thought he could. On checking with the property owners this youngster is able to go back to the waiting parents tonight as it is in a safe area. They will then observe the family of ‘tawnies’ to make sure all is well. It has been an education for the family to watch for chicks each year. Another very lucky animal was a little ringtail possum joey a few days ago. The local panelbeaters, McCullochs, rang to say they had found a young possum on the ground and sadly, judging from the bulge in a nearby pythons belly, Mum was gone forever. Being a ringtail possum, they usually have two young, but the sibling must have stayed in its mother’s pouch. The surviving possum, named Colleen, was very happy to join another two little ones the same size and is doing beautifully with WILVOS carer Leslie.

The warm weather is a reminder, for those with lovely clean clear glass pool fencing, to put some strategic designs on the glass to prevent injury to birds. We had our first glass fencing casualty this week and there will undoubtedly be more to come.

Let us hope that more rain comes soon to rejuvenate our native bushland for our wildlife.

Prevent extinction of native species!

The last couple of weeks has been pretty sad for wildlife and for my domestic pets. Normally a busy time of year for our hotliners, there have been an increasing number of calls for wildlife injured or killed by domestic cats. I am not going to ease up on attempts to educate the owners of these ‘cuddly killers’.

If in doubt, read the book “Cat Wars: The Devastating Consequences of a Cuddly Killer.” by authors Peter P Marra and Chris Santella. This sometimes controversial book deals with many factors, from environmental issues to the ever increasing diseases, such as toxoplasmosis, that are carried and transferred by cats.

In the past week I have had six calls about squirrel gliders and sugar gliders being killed by cats. Besides these deaths, another adult male died in the five minutes it took me to call back the person who had phoned in. Another saw one little just furred glider joey survive. The mother and sibling were both dead. A fellow carer called a few days ago about two tiny gliders found on the dead mother after it had been brought inside by the pet cat. On top of that a lady told me her cat had brought in three gliders in the last week. This was from a seemingly intelligent woman.

There are so few of these precious little mammals left and we need to protect them. Being nocturnal, they aren’t often seen so people don’t realize they are out there in the garden at night feeding on nectar and insects. I had a very upsetting incident happen in my own back yard. It is securely fenced with small diameter plastic coated wire mesh added, inside the normal timber paling fence. For almost four years I have had two guinea pigs free-ranging in my yard. My little “ferals” I fondly called them. Hearing some squeaking I thought at first they were at their normal play, but when it continued I went out to investigate and found a cat under the trees next to the possum aviary. It had the guinea pig held down on the ground by its neck. After whacking the cat with the nearest thing which was a garden fork, yes that thought crossed my mind briefly, it let little Pedro go and took off over the fence. Sadly, though I bathed the wounds and he was given immediate pain relief and antibiotics the poor little guinea pig died. It was heartbreaking, for me and for my grandchildren who had given me these little darlings.

So is it enough to just register your cat, and put a collar on it? No, it is not a licence to kill. I would like to see more respect and consideration for both wildlife and cats. To let cats free range is ignorant and inconsiderate. Cats also deserve protection from cars and other animals that could harm them.

As I wrote in my neighbourhood letter drop, I would encourage everyone to set cat traps in their yard and any that are caught can be taken to the pound, or they may be collected. The owner is then fined and maybe that will make them realize it is not only dog owners who have to follow regulations.

If the wait is too long for a Council trap, phone the Council every day until they realize they need to have more on hand. Otherwise, get someone to make one so you have a cat trap on hand permanently, always remembering that these have to be constantly monitored so no animal is left in a distressed situation.