SPECIAL REPORT – BUSHFIRES – THE PLIGHT OF OUR WILDLIFE
The devastating Bullsbrook bushfires and the catastrophic bushfires down south have been very much in the limelight in the past 2 months. It is both horrific and sad when human lives and properties are lost, but what most people don’t see is the devastation to our environment and the injuries and deaths our native wildlife. Practically no wildlife survived these fires, and those who did, without human intervention, will die a long and painful death, sometimes wandering endlessly for weeks on burned and charred feet, with absolutely nothing to eat, or shelter from the sun’s rays.
Only 3 little joeys were found alive and rescued after the Bullsbrook bushfires on Neaves Road. Their mums had been burned alive and these 3 little orphans somehow miraculously made their way through an opening in a fence, where they were found cowering together under an aloe-vera plant. One of the orphaned joeys, named Chicky is with a Vet nurse in Chittering, recovering from her wounds, and the two little boys below are still in care in Wattle Grove. Little Chandler, the smaller of the orphans, suffered horrific burns to both of his feet, his eyes were fused shut with soot, and his fur was matted and burned. Bruce was not quite as badly burned, with just his feet bearing the brunt of the hot ash. Both of these little battlers have been through so much pain and suffering, and now Chandler has contracted an infection in one of his toes. He has also lost half an ear which was burnt off.
Although Bruce has made a full recovery from his injuries and is ready to be released back into the wild, he and Chandler have such a special bond that it is impossible to separate them, as they rely solely on each other for support. With the annihilation of the bush after the Neaves Road fires, a band of about 6 dedicated wildlife carers have been putting out feed stations twice a week for the surviving wildlife, as there is absolutely no food or water for kilometres. These brave ladies walk for miles through ankle deep ash, carrying 20 litre containers of water, greenery, grain, hay and fruit for the animals in distress. It has been gratifying to find that the animals are coming into the feed stations, and in some instances, the kangaroos are actually waiting at the stations waiting for the next load of food. We salute you ladies.
Loveland for Wildlife is assisting in no small way, by providing a safe haven for little Chandler and Bruce, when Chandler has fully recovered from his infection. Since Government funding was cut to all wildlife organisations 2 years’ ago, it is becoming increasingly difficult for organisations to keep their heads above water. Loveland for Wildlife is also struggling to maintain our Sanctuary to its full capacity. With no Government funding, we rely solely on membership fees, donations from the public and our own fund-raising activities. To this end, we will be having an Easter Egg Raffle outside IGA on Wednesday 1st April, to raise much needed funds to provide on-going care and food for little orphans like Chandler and Bruce. We currently have 11 joeys in the pre-release pen, with another 4 still to come from our newest carer, Shannyn, in Coorow, and of course, Bruce and Chandler. This means a massive total of 17 joeys for this year’s release programme.
PLEASE HELP SAVE OUR SANCTUARY by supporting our Easter Egg Raffle, or just donating your small change. Every little bit helps to purchase much needed milk formula and food for our animals, prior to their release.
On a happier note, on Sunday 1st March, 5 joeys arrived at our release property on Munbinea Road, to go into the pre-release pen with the other 6 joeys. Several of these joeys were originally rescued in the local Shire region, but due to ill-health and work commitments of our carers, the joeys had to be transferred to other wildlife organisations, such as the Greenough Wildlife Park and Malubillai Wildlife Carers in Perth. These groups have done a wonderful job in caring for and rehabilitating these little guys, who have been “buddied up” with other joeys, and have now returned to Loveland for Wildlife for final rehabilitation and release when the rains come. Below are some photographs taken on that day, when it was a sad farewell for the carers who had raised these little orphans. I think it is always sadder for the carers when they have to hand over their babies, but it is also very rewarding when you take a drive around the property and see the many kangaroos who have been hand-reared and are enjoying freedom and tranquility.
Loveland for Wildlife staff are continuing to care for a limited number of animals, such as a new-born Bobtail Lizard, which is suffering from Bobtail Flu. His chances of survival are very slim, but he is currently being cared for in an incubator, and is being transferred to the Perth Reptile Park on Tuesday, where he can receive 24 hour intensive care. We have also had other animals come into care, including a juvenile Tawny Frog Mouth, pink and grey galahs and even a barn owl. Congratulations must go to our newest carer, Shannyn Bean (and her supportive family) in Coorow, who is doing an awesome job caring for joeys (4 Western Greys and 1 Euro in care) and LOTS of birds.
Well, that’s about all our news for the moment. We will keep you updated when Chandler and Bruce finally arrive at our farm for release.
Please don’t forget our fund-raising raffle at IGA on Wednesday, 1st April. If you would like any more information on becoming a supportive member of Loveland for Wildlife, or would like to make a donation, please contact the Secretary, Ken Loveland, on 9652 6072.
Thank you for caring.