Coincidentally, when I was on hotline and driving to Nambour to meet Sylvia, a call came through my car phone. I was ready to explain that I would just pull over to write down the details when the distressed lady said that she had an injured bird in Kureelpa and needed help quickly. As I happened to be passing through Kureelpa, I was able to arrive in less than 4 minutes. The lady was standing at the end of her driveway with the bird in the box. Totally shocked that I had arrived so quickly, she commented that I was quicker then an ambulance. The bird was delivered to the vet about 10 minutes later.
At 7.30pm on the 12th July during my 5pm to 9am WILVOS Hotline shift a call came in from a distraught lady (Michelle) who was standing on the side of the highway, the new Bruce Highway, southbound lane, about 5 km north of the northern Pomona exit. She was shining a flash-light on a poor koala that had been hit and was huddled up against the cement groin in the middle of the highway. Michelle’s husband was racing back into Pomona, where they lived, to collect a blanket. I immediately called Rachel Lyons who was on site within 20 minutes. Rachel texted me a couple of hours later to say the animal would survive, that it was the third koala hit in the area that night that she had responded to and the only one to survive. The young, dispersal age male, went into extended rehab and was eventually put out into the final pre-release enclosure at the RSPCA at Eumundi Wildlife. When it was ready to be released Rachel called to see if was OK to release up where I live. This was just the beginning for the carers at Eunundi Wildlife. This young male did not want to be caught and it was another week before he was successfully contained. It just so happened it was on the second day of that fantastic Dr. Howard Ralph workshop and I was out the door at 4pm and trying to get home to meet Rachel as soon after 5 as possible. We were losing light but we took him down into the forest and I filmed as Rachel opened the cage at the base of a beautiful grey gum. He bounded up that tree with such agility and strength that we were in no doubt whatever of his fitness for release back into the wild. I am in an enormous area of beautiful spotty-gum and grey gum ridge forests and densely forested slopes and gullies with springs and dams. My neighbours and I, 3 adjoining properties, with VCA status and a total area of some 350 to 400 hectares of protected forest, have been working for years, photographing and registering every sighting, we have all had successful visits from Maya, the koala tracking dog and her handlers, working with the University mapping programme, and we continue to send them scat samples for their work. We have succeeded in having our area declared koala habitat and it is on the state mapping now. Rachel has been back in touch again to see if we can release another koala recently rescued from the Federal area and suffering from chlamydia. I don’t need to tell you how thrilled we all are to be able to offer such a beautiful safe haven for any koalas that survive from sickness or injury in this area.
For all of us that rescue and rehab our beautiful and so endangered wildlife, we need some happy endings to be balm for the heartache and tragedy that is so much a part of what we do. We have to stay strong enough to get out of bed tomorrow and do it all again.
It is always good to spend a little time talking to members of the public when they ring up WILVOS hotline. We find out so much more that could be relevant to the advice that we give.
A lady rang me for some advice. She had been a widow for 7 years and had been feeding the wildlife at her house for the past 28 years. The concern was that a new neighbour had moved in and was threatening to report her to the relevant authorities for feeding birds. I calmed her fears on that front and then asked a few questions. “What type of birds were they?” The lady explained that it cost her $40 a week to feed the birds, for the morning and afternoon feeding.
Maybe some more questions may shed some light on the matter? One of the complaints was about the noise the birds made. The neighbour did work so I suggested just one small feed, as a treat, rather than so much food which could make them dependent on it. It serves no purpose to tell people to cease feeding, after such a long time, as that won’t happen and they won’t listen to any advice once the negative feelings surface.
Another suggestion I made was that this treat could be given to the birds after the lady went to work. It may take a while for the birds to realize that their morning and afternoon buffet wasn’t there, but at least the neighbour could be told that some steps were being taken to lessen the problem.
I was a little puzzled at the cost of $40 per week to feed these corellas, so I asked how many birds the lady was feeding. The reply – “ABOUT A HUNDRED!”.
I almost felt sorry for the neighbour – all that noise and faeces!
Claude – WILVOS Hotline
One Sunday afternoon on the WILVOS hotline I had a call from a young woman. She saw a waterhen limping down the side of the road. She stopped and tried to catch it but it ran off into the long grass.
As always, I asked her if she was parked safely off the side of the road. I think we should always ask that as sometimes people forget to be aware of their own safety.
The lady wanted to know what she could do. I asked if she had a blanket or towel in the car. The answer was ‘yes’ and she thought she could see the bird through the bushes. Still on the line, there was a running commentary and lots of squishy and tramping noises.
Next thing heard was, “I’ve got it! I’ve got it!” I explained to always be careful of both ends, the beak and the legs. Birds can inflict injury on the rescuer if not covered well. Asking if there was any injury, the young lady said that the waterhen definitely had a sore leg.
Unfortunately there was no container in the car but the bird was carefully wrapped in a blanket and a towel, with its head covered so it would be less frightened and stressed. I asked if this obliging lass could take the bird to the Tanawha vets. The answer was in the affirmative so I rang to advise the vet surgery first and then rang the rescuer back to say they were expecting her.
When asked where the waterhen was, I was told it was strapped in with the seat belt on the back seat. The vision in my mind made me laugh, but I thanked her profusely for helping our wildlife.
Claude – WILVOS Hotline