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Possum with head trapped in glass jar makes full recovery and is released

A possum found with a glass jar stuck over his head in Blaxland has been released to the same tree he was rescued from following expert treatment from vets and WIRES.

“It was a textbook release,” said WIRES carer Judith Carter, who attended the initial rescue and cared for the adult male brushtail possum overnight.

“We got there just after dark, and I held up the carrier to his tree. When I opened the lid, he poked his little head out and had a look around. He knew exactly where he was, and scampered up the tree.”

The large tree is home to two resident possums. Judith says the second possum heard the returning possum climbing the tree and immediately poked its head out.

“He was happy to be home and his friend was clearly happy to have him home, too.”

WIRES was initially notified of the urgent situation just after 12pm on June 11 when a member of public called WIRES’ 1300 rescue line and reported she had seen the adult male brushtail possum 15-20 metres up a tree on Winnicoopa Road in Blaxland.

Wildlife carer Judith attended the rescue along with a Parramatta Fire and Rescue NSW crew, which dispatched its elevated hydraulic platform. It was Police Rescue who contained the possum from the tree before handing it over to Judith.

Judith, a member of WIRES’ Blue Mountains branch, then transported the distressed possum to Nepean Animal Hospital in Regentville, calling them on the way there to alert them of the critical nature of the rescue.

Arriving at the animal hospital, the possum was seen immediately by staff and sedated. The jar was then lubricated and manoeuvred off the possum’s head.

Returning to the vet at around 10pm, Judith collected the possum, who remained in her care overnight.

The following evening, Judith waited until after dark to release the nocturnal brushtail possum to his home tree.

“The vet, WIRES Possum Coordinator Leoni Byron-Jackson and I were convinced he was one hundred per cent fit for release,” said Judith.

“He was eating and drinking, he was moving well, had a nice thick coat, had no injuries or sign of illness, and was a good, healthy weight.”

Despite the possum’s great condition at release, Judith says the possum is very lucky to have survived.

“The jar went right up over his chin and he would’ve been trapped for at least 9 hours, maybe 15 or more, so by the time I got to him he was very distressed, with very shallow breathing.”

“If he hadn’t have been found and reported by the member of public, he wouldn’t have survived the night.”

“He’s lucky to have that hollow in the tree and to live in an area with such good food and habitat, and human neighbours who care so much about wildlife.”

WIRES says the incident is a timely reminder for members of the public to take care when disposing of rubbish, including recyclable items like glass jars, as wildlife can easily become entangled in plastics or trapped in containers.
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