Old election posters helping wombats combat mange
(ABC Radio Canberra: Penny Travers) ABC Radio Canberra
August 02, 2017 10:27:33
Lindy Butcher has been caring for native animals, like wombat Nugget, for more than 20 years.
Volunteers can help by sewing pouches, like this one six-month-old Ozzie calls home. External Link:
Kathryn isn't too impressed with the cannula inserted on her rear leg
Have you found an injured native animal in the ACT?For injured kangaroos or snakes, call Access Canberra on 13 22 81. (ABC Radio Canberra: Penny Travers)
Over her 20 years as a carer in the ACT, Ms Butcher nursed “hundreds and hundred and hundreds” of birds, about 60 possums, 10 wallabies and, most recently, eight wombats. Now six months old, the young wombats are fed four times a day, and Ms Butcher no longer needs to feed or attend to them through the night. That’s amazing.”Growing demand for ACT Wildlife services
Cassie the swamp wallaby has been in care for three months and is still bottle fed. Rehabilitation: Are you prepared to release animals and not treat them as pets? “They would normally be in their mother’s pouch 24 hours a day, so they need a certain amount of physical contact, they thrive on physical contact,” she said. Suitable facilities: Facilities are species specific. (ABC Radio Canberra: Penny Travers) “We also need people to operate our 24/7 phone,” Ms Peachey said.”You can work in your own home, so it suits anyone including people with limited mobility and you can work at a time that suits you and for as long as you like.”ACT Wildlife offers all the training carers and volunteers need and is hosting an information session for prospective carers on August 5. Animal hygiene: Bottles and utensils need to be sterilised; bedding kept clean. Lindy Butcher is up by 6:30am each day to feed the little ones in her care — three orphaned wombat joeys. “Being a wildlife carer is a very rewarding experience; you get as much back as you put in,” she said.”How often do you get to sit with a baby wombat on your lap and cuddle it?”We get a special little sneak into the lives of animals, like raising baby magpies — you see them learning to sing, then learning to feed themselves and then flying off. (ABC Radio Canberra: Penny Travers)
Ms Butcher is one of 40 carers and 35 other volunteers currently helping injured and orphaned native birds, reptiles and mammals in the ACT.But demand for ACT Wildlife services is rapidly growing, with the charity receiving more than 7,500 phone calls and caring for 2,280 native animals last year. Do you have or can you set up the housing required? After feeding it is time to change the wombats’ cloth pouches and bedding and give them “cuddle time”. Things to consider before becoming a wildlife carer Time and motivation: Rearing native animals can take a lot of time, patience and perseverance. “Ozzie cried a lot when he first came in, so we had a lot of getting up in the night to cuddle him and settle him back to sleep again,” she said. For all other injured, sick or orphaned native animals call ACT Wildlife on 0432 300 033.For animals across the border in New South Wales, call Wildcare Queanbeyan on (02) 6299 1966. “They really need a bond, a safe place they can go to when they’re afraid, so we have to help them establish that bond with us.”But their mother also then lets them go free when they’re 18 months or two years, so we then have to be prepared to do that as well.”
Nugget, Fitzy and Ozzie enjoy cuddle time with carer Lindy Butcher. Training: Are you prepared to undertake training, which is provided by ACT Wildlife? Photo:
Wombat joeys, like Ozzie, require plenty of cuddle time to help them thrive. But there were many other things people could do to help, she said, like sewing cloth pouches, building aviaries, growing insects for insect-eating birds, providing transport for animals to and from veterinary clinics, fundraising and donations. Safe environment: Native animals must be kept away from domestic animals. “All you need is an interest in animals and want to help our local species,” she said.Ms Peachey acknowledged caring for injured, sick or orphaned wild animals could be a time-consuming activity, depending on the species. ACT Wildlife president Marg Peachey said more volunteers and carers were desperately needed ahead of spring. “He’s now buddied up with Fitzy so he doesn’t need that and he’s more settled in being an orphan.”
Josephine is now 10 times the weight she was after three months in care
‘A very rewarding experience’ Ms Butcher unofficially began caring for animals as a child in the 1960s, growing up in north-east Arnhem Land in a traditional Aboriginal community.”The men would do traditional hunting for food and would often bring home a wallaby, and if it had a little joey in its pouch we would raise the joey,” she said. That was up from 1,400 phone calls and 861 animals in 2014 when the service began.
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