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As a wildlife carer, you can have many animals in care and sometimes you can have none, you become the support for other carers or a transport unit for injured wildlife that need veterinary attention.
The most rewarding time
I have been trained to care for kangaroos and wombats. When you get the chance to care for an animal, it is one of the most rewarding times of being a carer. To see that adorable face look at you and know they are in safe hands, the trust they give and the affection in return is absolutely worth all the late nights and lack of sleep. It is like having a child, your day starts and ends with them and they become your whole world.
The joy however, is when you see that beautiful joey become more independent. As the months pass by they want to see more of their surroundings, they spend less time in their pouch and want to explore but still need you as their security (toddler stage). When they are a juvenile it is like having a teenager, mum is no longer cool to hang around and suddenly the bonds they have formed with other animals of the kind is all that matters, but like any teenager they still need mum when no one is looking or you have food!
The real reward is when you can see that joey grow up and be released to start a life of their own. The return to the wild is where they belong.
It’s not all cute and cuddly
We get calls for many other species; reptiles, bats, possums, koalas, wombats, birds and many more. We don’t all have the training to care for every animal that comes up on our call sheets. There are limited carers available, so not every animal is picked up quickly and it can take longer than expected to get someone out to collect them. But every animal is collected and assessed in the end. The down side to being a carer is the loss, the ones we cannot save, the ones who become sick after coming into care and the ones we have to let go. It can be a tiring job and it takes its toll, it can wear us down and even the strongest of us can break.
But we keep moving forward and we do it again and again for the ones we can save, for the ones that will have a future.
So why do we do it?
We don’t do it for recognition, we don’t do it for praise, and we don’t do it to be heroes. We do it because we want too, because it is in our nature to help and save our vulnerable wildlife, we do it so they have a future and the generations of Australians behind us know what a kangaroo or a koala is and how it lives in the wild.
We all play a vital role in the conservation
Our wildlife have suffered so much with wildfires, loss of habitat, illegal hunting and black market trade. They now have a new fight and that is the decline in numbers and the real struggle to keep their species alive. Now more than ever they need our help, to be vigilant on the roads, to stop and check an injured animal and get it to a vet or call a wildlife group to come and collect it. Some animals can live for days after being hit by a car and will die painfully and alone. A joey Wombat, Kangaroo or possum can live up to 3 days after the mother has passed and they themselves become subjected to the elements and starvation.
To give our wildlife a future we need to become their voice and their keepers, we need to protect what we have left before they become another picture in a story book. The time to act is now! All animals need and deserve our respect and care. It is our responsibility to protect them and give them the future they deserve. To care for our wildlife can be very expensive and the cost is often one each carer takes on themselves. The cost can be anywhere from $10 a month up to $200 a month per animal to feed and care for 1.
No matter what role you play, you play a vital one in the conservation and future for these animals.
1. WIRES Wildlife Food Fund at https://www.wires.org.au/Default.aspx?PageID=16375477&A=SearchResult&SearchID=5641838&ObjectID=16375477&ObjectType=1 accessed 11.02.2020.