National Volunteer Week 2024

National Volunteer Week 2024

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

May 20th to May 26th marks National Volunteer Week; a time to acknowledge and celebrate the incredible individuals who dedicate their time and hearts to causes that matter. 

For 38 years, WIRES has been rescuing native Australian animals. And it would not have been possible without the hard work of our volunteers. 

Their passion fuels all of WIRES’ rescue and rehabilitation efforts. Every late-night feeding session, every kangaroo pouch check and every release back into the wild is driven by our volunteer’s unconditional love for Australian wildlife.

Mitch and Mel – Two Volunteers Who Embody WIRES Ethos

Among WIRES 4000 volunteers, you would be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t take pride in their role as an animal rescuer. 

WIRES couple Mel and Mitch are two remarkable WIRES carers, both nominated for WIRES Annual Dedication to Wildlife Awards 2023 by their fellow WIRES carers.  

Their story highlights the profound impact of volunteering and showcases the hard work and determination shared by all WIRES volunteers.

How did you and Mel become involved in volunteering for WIRES?  

We had been wanting to join a wildlife rescue group for years after finding our very first live joey (a red kangaroo) out past Tibooburra years ago.  

We got phone reception once we got to Bourke and rang WIRES and spoke to the amazing Gaye and got to meet the beautiful carer Kristy in Bourke— that was our first experience with rescuing wildlife in NSW.  

They were both so caring and they inspired us to do more for our wildlife. We finally got around to joining WIRES and it has brought so much good into our lives. 

How do you balance your personal and professional commitments with your work as WIRES volunteers?  

Haha, in short, we do struggle with this. Most of the people in our lives come into our lives through wombats.  

Wombatting did quickly become our downtime as well.  

Things like picking grass daily, setting up burrow flaps on really beautiful properties become your downtime and your peace and quiet where you can take a minute and take stock before continuing on with the important work that is so very much needed.

National Volunteer Week 2024

Could you describe what it's like treating wombat mange?  

Treating wombat mange is like the ultimate game of hide and seek, bushwalking and orienteering wrapped up into one bundle of goodness. 

We use our thermal [monoculars] constantly, helping us to distinguish if there are any mange affected wombats on large properties. This is done from hundreds of metres away so has minimal stress on the wombats.  

If we do spot a wombat with mange, we are then able to narrow down its exact location and burrow/s and set up treatment sites throughout. 

How do landowners react when they find out that there are mange-affected wombats on their property? 

Most property owners are very obliging to allow the treatment of mange on their properties.  

Many have never been made aware of the struggle and deadly outcomes that our wombats are facing from this mite.  

Many residents are shocked when they hear exactly what is happening to our wombats and can't believe that this is not being placed higher up on the priority list from all levels of government. 

What advice do you both have for new volunteers or those considering rescuing/rehabilitating wildlife? 

Our advice would be, do it! You can make such a big difference in a great way. You can do small things for our wildlife that can still save their lives! 

Never think you can’t make a difference because you can; you just need to care and to be kind.  

You may be amazed at what you can achieve for our beautiful wildlife, they all need our help, and there are so many ways you can become involved so yes, definitely do it!

National Volunteer Week 2024

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