Carers have patient role of restoring our wildlife

A bat with a broken wing at the RSPCA.
A bat with a broken wing at the RSPCA. Sarah Harvey


A pelican with botulism at the RSPCA.
A pelican with botulism at the RSPCA. Sarah Harvey

INJURED and orphaned wildlife saved during the recent floods and storms are slowly being released back into their habitats following the tireless work of Ipswich volunteer groups.

After dramatic rescues, carers risking their lives, weeks of round-the-clock care and gently teaching the native animals how to fend for themselves, hundreds of birds, joeys, possums, pelicans and bats are recovering in Ipswich foster homes.

But the release date for many could still be months away.

The RSPCA's wildlife hospital at Wacol has been inundated with sick and orphaned native animals recently, including a huge spike in the number of birds blown in from the east-coast to Ipswich.

Spokesman Michael Beatty said the birds were still weeks away from being released after being blown in from coastal areas up 100km away.

"We had birds come from all over - a lot came from Redland Bay," Mr Beatty said. "Most are now with foster carers. But we've pretty much got all types of wildlife in our hospital - this baby bat has a broken leg and is being fostered at a vet nurse's home."

The centre is desperately looking for extra volunteers who can help with emergency call-outs.

Vet Bonny Cumming urged people to become a "wildlife crusader", where volunteers could provide back-up help for their ambulance service when it was tied up with other cases.

"You will just be phoned to go out and collect the animal, and bring it to our hospital at Wacol," Dr Cumming said.

"At least we can get it as soon as possible to stabilise it."

Thirteen orphaned pelicans were saved at Wivenhoe Dam with the help of ARROW, a local rescue group together with The Pelican Twins on the Gold Coast.

"We found crushed but live turtles near the Brisbane Valley Hwy after they'd been washed away," she said. "Even so, they can still survive by repairing the shell with a special glue and wire."

Ipswich Foster care of Australia Unique Native Animals (FAUNA) treasurer Jacqui Blanch cradled a near-blind orphaned possum on her lap as she spoke to The Queensland Times.

She said birds and chicks had been hit hard by the storms, but 80% of the time they could be quickly returned to their nest if uninjured.

"There's no truth in the tale the parent will reject their chick if they smell human on it," she said.

If you find injured wildlife phone 1300 ANIMAL.

Topics:  michael beatty oswald rspca

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