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Mother and joey reunited

Monday, February 21, 2011

Brushtail mother and joeyAt midday on 5 February when the temperature was 41.5 degrees, WIRES carer Lynda got a call to rescue a very young ringtail possum at Mt Ku-ring-gai. Lynda organised for the possum to be picked up.

The possum had been severely injured by a cat and had his back leg hanging limply behind him. The kind caller had mistakenly identified the possum as a ringtail instead of a brushtail possum. Lynda took the joey straight to the vet.

Six hours later another call came in to a distressed and injured adult brushtail high up in a large melaleuca tree in Low Street, Mt Ku-ring-gai. It was dangerously close to the power lines. WIRES called the NSW Fire Brigades and the National Parks and Wildlife Service but neither of them could help. Lynda's husband Tim climbed a high ladder to reach the terrified, injured animal.

A large patch of fur was missing, the possum was badly injured by a cat and very dehydrated.The possum also had a suspected broken paw. After veterinary treatment with antibiotics and fluids, the vet feared both animals were in such bad condition they probably would not survive the night.

Lynda took the adult possum home and checked its gender. Once she realised it was female, she went back to the tree to look for a possible joey with no luck. Any joey was unlikely to survive the heat without its mother. She called the resident who had phoned WIRES about the joey and found that the joey had been picked up in Low Street, the same street as the adult. The caller had not actually seen a dead mother, only a large patch of fur torn out in the cat attack covering an area of about two feet.

Sifting through the details, Lynda realised that the adult possum was the joey's mother.

At 8pm they were reunited. The possums have both recovered remarkably well and are due for release back to the wild this week.

WIRES urges responsible pet ownership. Cats and dogs should not be allowed to roam freely and should be supervised at all times.

Domestic pets should be kept inside at night when native animals are active.

In the 12 months WIRES and Sydney Metropolitan Wildlife Service reported 1002 cat and dog attacks on wildlife in the Sydney region alone. Only half the native animals attacked survived.


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