Wildlife carers in funds plea

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Shannon SmithAlbany Advertiser

An Albany wildlife care centre is desperate for donations to help cope with an influx of orphaned native animals as joey season starts.

Great Southern Care Wildlife is having to absorb the care of animals and the cost of supplies needed to do so after the closure of another wildlife care centre.

GSCW secretary and volunteer Nicole Link has launched a Go FundMe page to help support joey rehabilitation.

She said the costs associated with caring for the orphaned joeys were a lot higher than people realise, and fundraising was the only way the group was receiving any money at the moment.

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“I’m really worried as we are starting the joey season with very little in the way of funds and the prospect of higher vet costs,” she said.

“When orphans come in they are often suffering trauma from the accident that brought them into care — they need X-rays, medication, bones splinting, minor surgeries, and at the moment we won’t be able to afford any of this.”

Although it is early in the joey season, Ms Link is already caring for three.

One, Felix, is now six months old and in his three weeks in care, has gained 200g.

“He needs to be toileted as his mum would wash him in the pouch, his skin needs to be moisturised to prevent it drying out and he needs to be kept at 33 degrees constantly,” Ms Link said.

Referred to as “pinkies”, joeys are born after 30 days, and Ms Link said caring for the pinkies was a labour of love, with two-hourly feeding routines round the clock as they were basically premature babies.

“It takes a minimum of 18 months for a kangaroo to raise a joey to independence and the odds aren’t in their favour — only 25 per cent survive,” she said.

Ms Link noted that in the wild, kangaroos were fighting for life against multiple factors — cars, shooters, foxes, farmers, and disease were just the beginning.

“The Government reports claim a 53 per cent reduction in numbers over the next three years to just 1.2 million,” she said.

“Then in the following three years they claim a 99 per cent increase up to 2.4 million; this is not even biologically possible,

“This would mean every single female kangaroo raised two or more joeys to independence successfully over those three years, and none were wiped out by these factors of death.”

The GSCW welcomes new carers and donations, and Ms Link runs a Facebook page to keep the public informed.

“If we don’t protect our native wildlife it will slowly disappear and be gone before most people realise — they are gentle, social creatures that belonged here long before any people,” she said.

“They deserve our respect.”

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