Unqualified care ‘a death sentence’

By Michael Roberts | posted on July 9, 2020

GREAT Southern wildlife rehabilitators are urging the public to hand in injured animals to experienced carers instead of trying to nurse the vulnerable creatures back to full health themselves.

Born Free Wildlife Carers volunteer Annette Grant said the community should hand in displaced animals to a licensed rehabilitator straight away.

“We end up getting them and it is sometimes too late to do anything for them,” she said.

“If a bird has a broken wing, the best outcome is to take it to the vet.

“If it has a broken wing it will be euthanised because we don’t believe in putting the birds through six weeks of stress while the bone heals. They are under pain the whole time.

“A lot of people don’t like that but it is the kindest thing to do.”

Under current regulations, members of the public have 72 hours before they are legally required to hand in injured wildlife.

Maggie van Santen, from the Amaris Wildlife Sanctuary in Tenterden, said a more regulated system was working well.

“The industry needs to be regulated, there are a lot of people who think it’s easy to raise a joey and it’s kind of cute,” she said.

“They sometimes take them to the bush and let them go, which is a death sentence.

“We are the ones who have the experience, and if we don’t, we know someone who does.”

Both Amaris Wildlife Sanctuary and Born Free Wildlife Carers were recent recipients of State Government grants that help licensed rehabilitators pay for the resources needed to operate.

Ms van Santen, who received $2,500, said she had been digging into her superannuation to feed her displaced kangaroos.

“It was costing me about $180 a week just on food and milk,” she said.

“At the moment I’ve got eight big ones on self-release, which means they are free to come and go as they please, but they like the restaurant here.”

Ms Grant said Born Free Wildlife Carers had been awarded $9,000.

“We are all very passionate about rehabilitating the wildlife,” she said.

“I just love helping the birds. The best part is seeing them fly off again.”