Monthly Archives: February 2014

Yummy in the Tummy

Who doesn’t love a good feed? Patch never turns down his tucker of mixed fruits and fruit juice.

We also took in a second spectacled flying fox by way of Roddy. We retrieved him from a tree in someone’s backyard. The woman who called said he seemed ill and hadn’t moved for a few days.

Upon closer inspection, it appears Roddy has somehow hurt his wing and is unable to use it. However, after a few weeks with us, he is slowly beginning to use his bum wing again. This is really encouraging! With a bit more R&R, we’re confident that Roddy’s wing will heal up and that he’ll be returned to the wild.

Patch is taking a bit longer to recover from his injuries. His wings have obvious holes in them from his encounter with the barbed-wire fence. But the smaller tears are beginning to close up, and it’s only a matter of time before everything is back to normal for him.

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Widllife Carers Make Daily Sacrifices to Save Animals

Since joining the shelter, I have experienced many highs and lows and can only wonder how a person can exist in this way indefinitely. Major props go out to wildlife carers everywhere for the emotional, financial and physical sacrifices they make every day for the animals they love.

One of the hardest things to cope with, especially in Mission Beach, is the high number of deaths each day. The weekends can often be very brutal with casualty numbers soaring because people have imbibed.

Many female road kill victims carry in their pouches tiny joeys who are left motherless and alone if not for these wildlife carers. Checking each carcass, these volunteers search the pouches for young in hopes that they can save them.

However, even if carers recover these babies, it is definitely no guarantee that they’ll live. Some babies, like Scott, are so tiny that they are literally half the size of your palm. They have no fur and their skin is extremely soft and pink. Their eyes haven’t developed enough to open yet, and their ears are folded and stuck to their heads.

When I first saw Scott, I couldn’t believe he was so small. Logically, I know that when female macropods give birth, their babies are as tiny as a jellybean. Given this knowledge, Scott’s actually done well for himself. But, without his mother’s protection and sustenance, it is up to wildlife carers to replicate everything she would give to him.

This is a monstrous task, a constant uphill battle that could go bad at any moment. Even when you think things are going well – successful rounds of feedings and proper colored waste – you never really know. When the joeys are this small, every day that they live is a success. You focus on short-term goals – surviving the first night, then the first five days, then a week – and with each milestone you pass, you want to pump your fist into the air and do a victory dance.

But Mother Nature is cruel sometimes. She can raise your spirits only to break you down again by showing you the harsh realities of life. In Scott’s case, he survived almost two weeks after being rescued. We thought his difficult days were behind us as he was eating well and pooping it all out just to start again. He even opened his eyes a few days after coming in, and we were finally able to see those glossy obsidian eyes of his. But, then one day, he just didn’t wake up in the morning. He must have passed away sometime during the night. We couldn’t find a reason for it. It just happened.

The loss of his life was sad and, I believe, undeserved. But, in the greater scheme of things, Scott is just another casualty in Mission Beach. It might be more personal because he spent time with us, but all the other animals who die on the streets are just as important as Scott. Their lives are just as meaningful, and they deserve the chance to survive as much as the next living being. It’s a shame that people (and the government) aren’t more conscious of the effect they have on the environment as they move forward with plans for urbanization or agricultural development.

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Tropical Rainforest Retreat in El Arish

The funny thing about Far North Queensland is that people live in the most amazing places and you’d never know they were there. It’s so easy to disregard a road because it looks like it’ll lead you nowhere or skip a dirt lane because it’ll get your car dirty. But when you do this, you miss out on many well-kept secrets. If I’ve learned anything, it’s to expect the unexpected.

Wildlife carers Mark and Sissy of El Arish asked if I could look after their place while they were away for a few days. It wasn’t a problem, especially since they only had two cats and one injured joey in care. Mark was still putting the finishing touches on their pre-release area, which would include a large sheltered area and a huge fenced paddock, so they didn’t have any animals outside yet.

Their place was located down a dirt lane that turned off a main road. The farther you drove away from the highway, the more the rainforest engulfed you. There were many trees and bushes surrounding their property that it was quite easy to miss the turn into their house. They had roundabout driveway that took you through a large garden.

This would be a great pre-release site once everything was set up. They even had a mob of wild wallabies who traipsed through their land and stopped for a good feed every now and again. It was promising that they would most likely accept any new wallabies that came out of this site.

I had a nice time while I was in El Arish. I didn’t have a vehicle and was stuck there for the few days I was pet sitting, but that didn’t bother me at all. It was a tropical retreat from the world and a terrific way to live.

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