Possums and vollies !

Possum

Joey ringtail possums

I have been meaning to write about an activity I started a few months ago before leaving Australia and that I am looking forward to resume upon return from Kerguelen: volunteering for Wildlife Victoria, an organisation which aims at protecting native species! One of their volunteers, Melanie, who came to assist me in the field for my research on little penguins, introduced me to them and gave me the drive to help! This organisation, based on public participation, is meant to help native animals in distress – for various reasons, mostly interactions with us! These animals include kangaroos, koalas, echidnas, possums, wombats, lorikeets, flying foxes and much more! In most of the rescues I do, the animals have been hit by cars or attacked by pets. The call center receives calls from members of the public, from every day and night, including week ends and then send text messages to their closest volunteers to ask whether or not they are free to go help. When we answer positively, we are assigned the case and contact the member of the public to confirm rescue details and give them an ETA. To increase the chance of survival of these animals, we need to act fast! Most of the time, we judge on spot whether it is necessary to intervene, and whether it is safe to do so, for the animals as well as for the people involved. Once the animal is caught, we drive them to the vet, most of the time, where it receives the necessary care and is thereafter taken to a carer that will host it at home during the time it needs to recover or become independent, especially for the orphans – mostly for marsupials who keep their young in their pouch. This can mean months of dedication and hard work, especially when joeys need to receive hourly feed for example. I really admire these loving people who care for these animals as a full-time job, making them part of their family! In this context, I met with Julie, a carer who has become my advisor when I have questions regarding my rescues. Unfortunately, I don’t usually have the time to do more than a couple of rescues a week but she’s always available to help! She also taught me how to handle possums and kangaroos, including how to feed and toilet them. It always fascinating to be in contact with animals we are not used to, especially for me these marsupials who are such an Australian icon and stay pretty exotic! I also can’t wait to work with flying foxes – the bats that cross the Melbourne sky at night and look so big. Thanks to Wildlife Victoria, I got my rabies shots for free and I am now able to work with bats ! Being volunteer for such an organisation can be a sad hobby because we can’t always save the animals we rescue but it is so rewarding at times especially when we get to save joeys, which mother was dead or died during the rescue, I find! We also get to release animals in the wild when it is back in shape after its stay at the vet or the carer, which is always a nice experience ! In a urban environment like Melbourne, it is always nice to know that we can still make a difference and increase native animals’ well being !

Zosterops à dos gris

Young silvereye

 

Australia Melbourne Volunteer Wildlife Victoria animals rescue

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