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Wildcare: big need, great response

By Merran Laver.

RECENT STATISTICS for Wildcare show that over the past year we responded to over 3,300 calls about wildlife needing help. The largest number of calls related to macropods (1,560) – mostly eastern grey kangaroos, as well as wallabies and the odd wallaroo. Road collisions were the primary reason for more than half of macropod calls (56%).

Other reports were for orphaned or abandoned joeys (often related to road deaths of mother), those caught in fencing, and dog attacks. Over summer, due to the bushfires in the region, we also assessed or brought in to care around 75 macropods with burn injuries. Other burn victims included birds, possums, echidnas and wombats.

Around 1,000 calls about birds came in, making this the second most-reported animal type needing assistance. A diversity of species were called in, from common magpies, cockatoos and rosellas etc. to several raptors and some with unusual names, such as the olive-backed oriole, nankeen night-heron and white-winged triller. The main reasons for calls also varied and included habitat loss, juveniles needing care, car collisions, cat attacks, disease, domestic escape/release and others. In many cases injured birds are found with cause unknown.

Reptiles also made up a large bulk of calls (438) – including lizards, the eastern long-necked turtle and snakes. As with other wildlife, many reptiles were found injured on roads, particularly turtles for which this was the main reason for reporting (65 calls). Many lizards were victims of cat or dog attacks (79) and a fair number, along with snakes, had become entangled or trapped in netting or similar materials (26).

Snake calls (230) are quite different to those for other reptiles, as people tend to report sightings of snakes in their gardens or on their properties. A few frogs and monitors were called in, and this year we had a blind snake called in from Burra – a rarely-seen species.

Small mammals included possums, gliders, bats, echidnas and native rats (antechinus) – a total of 222 calls for a range of reasons. The 90 calls about brushtail possums, for example, were due to loss of parents, habitat loss, entrapment, being hit by cars and dog attacks, among others. There were more than 20 calls about gliders over the year – mainly for sugar gliders, a few feathertails and one greater glider.

The stats show that sugar gliders are particularly susceptible to attack by cats, dogs and birds. Of the small mammals, 32 bat calls were received; most being microbats and others included the Lesser Long-eared bat, Little Forest bat and the wattled bat species. There were over 30 calls about flying foxes (most Grey-headed), often due to entanglement, electrocution or young being orphaned.

Wombats form another category, and over the year there were 88 calls received caused by car collisions (31), skin disease – mange (21), and being orphaned (13).

What were the outcomes?

Our statistics for all wildlife called in during 2016–17 show that: 1,434 died or were euthanised; 584 were released or relocated; 357 were taken into care; 326 are unknown; 278 disappeared (before rescue); 172 were transferred to other wildlife groups and Vets; and, 125 were left alone and observed.

Wildcare is run totally by volunteers and has charity status. If you would like to make a donation (tax deductible), then check out their website: Contact Wildcare on 6299 1966 (put it in your mobile).

—   Merran Laver, for Wildcare
SEEN ABOVE: Lesley releases a Tawny Frogmouth. Image supplied.


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