“Caring for animals can take up a lot of time in preparing food, feeding, washing, cleaning enclosures, and collecting foliage. It’s exhausting! When you get a wallaby straight out of it’s mom’s pouch, you’re up feeding it every four hours, so you lose all your social life.”
Annie’s calling has led to many memorable moments, not least of which was the rescue of a wallaby named Harry.
“Harry’s mum was hit by a car, and while he was still in his ‘man-made’ pouch, I got the sense that something was wrong, so I gave him the ‘hop test.’ He took one hop and collapsed on one side. I took him to the vet who x-rayed his leg, and he had broken it right up at the top. The vet performed a three-hour operation and put two pins in. I had three wallabies at the time and got Harry back with the instruction that I was to keep him quiet. So we placed his artificial pouch in a baby cot, so that he could be with the other wallabies but couldn’t hop around. I had to have him like that for six weeks. He survived and every now, and then I see him around, and I think, wow, that’s incredible!”
Sadly, fewer than half the animals called to the Hotline are as fortunate as Harry; this is because injuries many sustain are too severe, particularly when motor vehicles are involved. An important role that wildlife carers like Annie play are to ensure that they are not left to suffer.
Landclearing is another of the biggest threats. Many native species are dependant on tree hollows for shelter from the weather, protection from predators and for breeding and socialising sites.