BUSHFIRE SURVIVORS RETURN TO THE WILD
A STORY OF SURVIVAL AND DETERMINATION
No-one will forget the catastrophic bushfires which ravaged the Bullsbrook/Pinjar regions and South East regions of WA in early January this year. In our Craytales Edition of 18th March, we told you the story of three little Western Grey joeys who, against all odds, survived the horrific Bullsbrook Bushfires.
On 19th January, a small dedicated group of wildlife carers ventured out into the fire zone and were allowed admittance onto Ingham’s land, with a view to searching for and setting up feed stations for any wildlife survivors. Two little joeys were found huddled together under an aloe-vera bush in the grounds of Ingham Chickens, having lost their mums and entire family. Being a Sunday, the race was on for the carers to find a vet open on the weekend. Luck had it that Vet West in Clarkson was open, and Vet, Clare Jackson and her wonderful staff, were waiting with emergency equipment and welcoming arms on arrival at the Vet Hospital. Both joeys were sedated and administered pain relief. They presented with 3rd degree burns on their back feet, singed fur, eyelids burned and fused shut, and eyelashes burnt off. It was feared that the damage to the boys’ eyes may be permanent, but after their eyelids were cleaned, both joeys were able to see. After this wonderful revelation, the wildlife carers knew that they could treat the other injuries. Little Chandler was the worst burnt, with his pads on both feet completely burned off. The tips of his ears were also burnt. Clare and her dedicated staff named our little joeys
“Bruce” and “Chandler”.
A call also came in for a severely burnt female kangaroo and her joey, again at Ingham’s property. Unfortunately, the mother kangaroo’s injuries were so extensive, that she had to be euthanized. With night settling in, carers knew that they would not be able to catch the joey, and everyone spent a sleepless night worrying about whether the little girl would survive the night. The next morning heralded the usual dedicated band of wildlife warriors, who set about keeping their promise to mumma kangaroo to look after her little one. After several attempts to capture the little joey, Lyn came up with an unbelievable idea – she gathered up mother kangaroo’s dead burned body and held it in front of herself, slowly nudging forward on hands and knees towards the baby. SUCCESS – the hungry little joey came to her dead mother and Tanya was able to grab her and secure her in a special “joey” bag. The name “Chickie” was allotted to the little joey.
And – so began the long journey to recovery – for all 3 little fire victims. Daily injections of pain relief, sedation and antibiotics, as well as daily dressing changes. After 6 weeks in care with wildlife carer, Natalie Ovens, Bruce was free of his bandages. Unfortunately, little Chandler, the smaller of the joeys, was still not out of the woods. Natalie spent weeks trimming and combing his burnt fur, but then he lost a toe-nail, which became infected, requiring 2 more courses of antibiotics. In Chittering, with carer Tanya Irwin-King, little Chickie was fighting her own battle, and has now made a full recovery.
After 8 months of intensive rehabilitation, on 9th August, Bruce, Chandler and Chickie made the journey to Loveland for Wildlife’s Release Sanctuary on Munbinea Road, Hill River, where they joined another 11 joeys in the pen to begin the process of “mobbing up” as a family.
FINALLY! On Sunday 6th September, our bushfire babies and their new family were released back into the wild, to join up with 15 other young adult Western Grey Kangaroos, who were released earlier this year at the Sanctuary.
Bruce, Chandler and Chickie, are survivors. Without the dedication and compassion of all involved in their rehabilitation, they would not be alive today.
All monies for medications, dressings, on-going care, and vet consultations was donated or raised through fund-raising events. On behalf of Loveland for Wildlife Inc. we would like to acknowledge and thank the following persons and organisations for their untiring and endless weeks of dedication and team-work, to ensure the happy outcome for these little survivors.
Malubillai Wildlife Carers’ Network
Wildlife Carers – Lyn Manuel, Sue Rose, Natalie Ovens, Tanya Irwin-King, Alison Golding & Lesleyann Watson
Vet West, Clarkson – Dr Clare Jackson and staff
Roleystone Animal Hospital – Dr Tiffany Jacobs & staff
Everyone who donated money or medical supplies for on-going treatment
Ken and Sandy Loveland for providing a safe paradise for our survivors
LOVELAND FOR WILDLIFE Inc. is a not-for-profit charitable organization, run entirely by volunteers. We rely solely on donations, membership fees, and Grants, to enable us to carry out our valuable work of rehabilitating and returning our beautiful wildlife to their natural habitat. If you would like to become a member of our organization, or would like to visit the Sanctuary, please contact Secretary Ken Loveland on 9652 6072. If you would like to make a donation, you can make a direct deposit into our bank account:
Bendigo & Adelaide Bank – BSB 633 000 Account No. 1331 40905. All donations over $2.00 are tax deductible.
With your help, we CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE
Bushfires have been part of Australia’s landscape for centuries. Fire is a fact of life for us now. Wildlife Carers have a role in helping the injured, orphaned and displaced wildlife, but there are many considerations to think of, not the least important being funding to provide the necessary care to ensure the survival of our beautiful wildlife. Many people don’t realise that following a bushfire, burnt wildlife can survive for six weeks or more after a fire. They may have burnt, infected feet or other injuries. We all need to adopt a watch and act when we come across wildlife, especially kangaroos, who are not running away when approached, hopping in a strange manner, or just looking thin and unwell. If you find an injured animal, help is available by calling the Wildcare Helpline on 9474 9055, available 24 hours, 7 days a week. Or if you are local in the Shire of Dandaragan, call the Jurien Office of Parks and Wildlife on
9688 6000, or Loveland for Wildlife on 9652 6072.
Article by Sheryl Wilson – Wildlife Rehabilitator