Meet our everyday heroes giving hope to wildlife
Tuesday, November 14, 2017
WIRES has a phenomenal success rate in rescuing native animals in need in New South Wales.
There are so many people who contribute to this success, from concerned members of the public, to our amazing volunteer rescuers and carers, to our staff, donors and supporters. To us, these people are everyday heroes.
The spring and summer months are some of the busiest times of year for the WIRES rescue office and our branch volunteers. During August WIRES received more than 9,000 calls and during September this rose to nearly 15,000.
One of these calls resulted in an amazing reunion between a Brushtail possum and her young offspring at an apartment in Sydney.
When Rebecca from Dee Why moved her barbeque cover and it seemed much heavier than normal, she instinctively knew that an animal had taken up residence inside. When a large possum darted out underneath and leaped to the safety of a nearby tree, Rebecca could see that it had panicked and left its young one trapped in the cover.
As Rebecca was located on the first floor and did not have direct access to the trees opposite her balcony, she did not know how she could reunite the young one with her mother.
“I called WIRES, and two rescuers came out. One of them reached in and gently removed the baby possum,” explained Rebecca.
“She went downstairs to the people below us, and they let her put a ladder against a tree which allowed her to put the baby fairly high up in the tree.”
What happened next surprised everyone.
“The baby climbed up the tree in the direction of the mother possum,” she said.
“The mum kept jumping away but then she realized it was her baby and came back.
“The baby jumped onto a twig that nearly broke and the mum caught her just in time,” said Rebecca, whose daughters were watching the whole scene with fascination.
“It was really gorgeous. When they were reunited, the mother grabbed the baby and cuddled it and then put it on her back,” she said.
WIRES volunteer rescuer and carer Natalie attended the call. Natalie and her mother, also a WIRES volunteer, have rescued scores of possums in the past six weeks that often find themselves in trouble in their search for food.
But there’s another twist to this possum reunion story, as Natalie explained.
“When I attended the call, I recognized the mother possum. We had released her in the exact same spot only two weeks prior.”
“She had been found living on a balcony on the other side of the apartment block and had stress dermatitis,” she said.
When Natalie took the possum into care for several weeks, she was treated with penicillin until the wound on her back healed and then released in the same area she had been found.
However, Natalie had placed a nesting box high up in a tree nearby to provide alternative accommodation for the shelter-seeking possum.
When Rebecca’s call came into WIRES that day, rescue coordinator Lucy was on hand to answer it. She was able to talk Rebecca through the process of the rescue.
“Most of our native wildlife is active and breeding at the moment, so we are getting a large variety of species needing our help, particularly possums and birds,” said Lucy.
Lucy describes her work at WIRES as “incredibly rewarding”.
“The animals most definitely inspire me. They are so resilient and have wonderful survival instincts. It’s always lovely to see what lengths they will go to protect their young,” she said.
The story of the mother possum in Dee Why being reunited with her trapped young one is typical of literally thousands of rescues that will take place over the spring and summer months.
“At the end of a hard day, it’s great to know that you have played an important part in getting these animals rescued and rehabilitated, and ultimately back into the wild,” said Lucy.
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