(Left) Orphaned possum joey in WIRES care. (Right) Bearded Dragon sporting his bright pink 3M Vetwrap bandage Photos: © WIRES.
What does a rescue entail?
This varies considerably. Sometimes a rescue can be as simple as picking up an animal that is already contained in a box and transporting it to a local carer or vet. Other rescues may involve catching and containing an animal or bird. All our rescuers are trained to do a basic assessment and provide initial hydration and they contact the Species Coordinator immediately following each rescue for expert advice.
When an animal or bird is rescued where does it go?
This depends on the situation and the animal. It also depends on the time of day (and day of the week) as to whether vets are available. If an animal is badly injured then we try to get them seen to by vets as soon as possible. Our local vets are wonderful and give their services to wildlife without charge. Some of our more experienced carers are also able to perform emergency care and treatment if vets aren’t available out of hours.
If animals aren’t badly injured then they may need short term care or may be able to be reunited with their parents straight away (as in the case of many baby birds). Others may need to go into longer-term care with a specialist carer for that species.
How often are species released?
Adult animals are released as soon as they are well enough. They are always returned to the place where they were found – their home.
Orphaned animals that are raised in care are often buddied-up with others of the same species and released in a batch. We practice “soft release” which means that they are slowly released from an enclosure and given support while they adjust to the outside world – their new home.
Are there particular hotspots where many incidents occur?
Within the Northern Rivers area, urban or town locations accounted for nearly 70% of all calls. Over one third of all calls came from the Lismore Local Government area. Byron shire accounted for just over one quarter of all calls, with a further 21% for Ballina shire, 10% for Richmond Valley and 5% for Kyogle.
There are known “hotspots” on particular roads, where wildlife come into contact with motor vehicles all too often. These are typically some main, busy highways, but also some rural spots where drivers tend to speed through bushland.
WIRES works with local councils to provide data on hotspots, sometimes with signage erected to warn drivers to slow down.