This 2016 Christmas period has been one of the most dismal that I have ever known for our wildlife. As habitat shrinks our wildlife become more compromised. It is not only development on the Sunshine Coast and hinterland that has resulted in habitat destruction. It is the reprehensible actions of private landholders who blatantly clear land. Are they totally ignorant of the effect this has on our native animals? Or do they just not care? I just wish they would go reside in a city apartment and watch videos on rural living!
Because many of our wildlife species are nocturnal there are many people who don’t even realize what lives in their area. Maybe lack of interest pervades! Both suburban and rural properties are havens for our exquisite native animals. Setting up an infra-red, movement activated camera at night would show you just how busy it is out there every night.
This year we have had an influx of nestling birds. Often, after checking that the chick is uninjured, it can be returned in a man made nest close by to where it was found. It is a fallacy that parents won’t accept their chicks back after a human has handled them. Many of the chicks that should be returned to their parents, ensuring that the parents are observed feeding them, still find their way into our care. We do our best as foster parents, trying to mirror diet and behaviour as closely as possible, but we can never be as efficient as the birds natural parents.
I had a wonderful Christmas with family and friends but wildlife just seemed to find me. Driving to my sisters on Christmas morning I came across an eastern grey kangaroo lying on the road. Thinking it dead, I pulled over to move it off the road. To my horror, on approaching it, I found it was still just barely breathing. I was able to lift the lovely animal into the kangaroo carry bag hanging off the back of my car seat. Sadly it required euthanizing but I was glad that I actually had found her there, so a kinder death could be quickly arranged.
In the week prior to Christmas a female grey kangaroo with joey in pouch was hit by a car in the middle of Yandina. The poor lady driving the car was very upset, but it was an unavoidable accident. Unfortunately, a passerby removed the very little joey from the pouch. Though advised not to do so, the woman pulled it out of the pouch, not realizing that these little ones are very securely attached to the mother’s teat for their first few months of life, and incorrect removal is fatal. The mother died soon after being hit by the car. The joey died soon after being pulled off the mother’s teat. As wildlife carers, we don’t mind if people turn up at our door with the mother’s body so that we can correctly remove the young from the pouch.
Hopefully 2017 will be kinder to our wildlife. I think I say that every year, but I am ever the optimist! May everyone enjoy a safe, healthy and happy 2017 and thank you for your support of the wonderful WILVOS organization. They are an amazing group of people. WILVOS would also like to thank our local veterinarians who are so generous with their time and expertise, our local police who respond to our calls for euthanasia of wildlife when needed, our supportive local community and animal welfare organizations and media, the Australian Wildlife Hospital and RSPCA’s Eumundi Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre. Last but not least we’d like to thank those members of the public who take the time to give our hotline a call and assist our injured and orphaned native animals.