Home About Wildwood

A kangaroo hop from the Grampians National Park, Wildwood Wildlife Shelter provides a safe and peaceful haven for the rehabilitation and release of sick, injured and orphaned Australian Native Wildlife.

 

The Shelter Operator:

Me_and_my_mob_photoscape_wp

Some of the faces in my mob. Surrounded by love and beauty.....life doesn't get much better than this!

I grew up on a sheep and cattle farm, which was also home to many native animals. From a very young age I learnt to appreciate nature and our unique wildlife, spending many weekends exploring the Grampians.

I returned to the area 20 years ago. The decline in species was very apparent, a lack of koalas being most obvious. Better roads throughout the Grampians meant more tourists which, of course, meant more vehicles which, in turn, meant more collisions with wildlife! Every drive through the Grampians I would come across injured animals that were left for dead on the roadside. My home soon became a haven for injured and orphaned wildlife.

I was an unofficial Foster Carer for several years working with a nearby Shelter, then in 1995 I applied for my own Shelter Permit. Wildwood Wildlife Shelter was established shortly after. It is entirely self-funded, as are most wildlife shelters in Victoria. We are issued a Shelter Permit by DELWP (Dept. of Environment, Land, Water and Planning) which allows us to provide care for any native animal in need. We mostly operate from our own homes and, as long as we adhere to the Code of Practice for the Welfare of Wildlife during Rehabilitation and fill in our rescue records, it’s up to each Shelter Operator how many animals we take into care, the different species we are willing to look after, and how many hours we want to put in etc.

Over the years I have attended numerous courses and purchased reference books on all the species indigenous to my area. I still attend as many training sessions, workshops and information days as possible. In 1998 I became a WILDLINE operator with Wildlife Vicroria and, as such, was in contact with Shelter Operators and Carers from all over Victoria. I sought out and visited those who I believed to be the most dedicated and knowledgeable in order to learn all I could. I wanted to be the best that I could be thus giving the wildlife in my care the very best chance possible. We continue to exchange and embrace new ideas and share our experiences & knowledge in order to keep abreast of the latest developments and techniques.

I have been privileged to care for many different species but have most experience with macropods. I live on 700 acres, which makes it possible to soft release and therefore monitor the animal’s progress. I have witnessed 5 births and watched all 5 grow and take their place in the mob as young adults. Over the years I have learned much about their behavior, and gained a better understanding of their needs, by observing the wild mob.

       Bonnies joey 1  Bonnies_joey_2

                     Bonnie’s newborn joey climbing up to her pouch                   Bonnie’s joey at 11 ½ months old

I operate as a 24/7 Shelter covering a 50km radius. I am relatively isolated so am unable to get any other help. Running a full time Shelter single-handedly is a big task. It's a huge commitment and requires me to be totally focused and organised. My days start at 7am and usually finish at about 2.30am. Getting by on between 4 and 5 hours sleep and having absolutely no social life is the price I pay. Long days and lots of work but it's all worth it. The feeling I get as I watch a small joey hop for the first time, or when I release a bird and watch it fly off, is one of pure joy. Life as a wildlife carer is never ordinary nor is it ever boring. It is facinating, like living in my own wildlife documentary! 

I founded South-West Wildlife Rescue which operates 24/7 and am the Spokesperson for this Group.

I am an active member of BADGAR and a Wildlife Victoria volunteer.

The costs associated with running a busy shelter are enormous, especially one specialising in macropods. In an effort to raise some much needed funds, and with limited spare time, I have combined my interest in photography and my passion for wildlife, to create a range of unique greeting cards. Each year I have an A3 size, professionally printed, wall calendar for sale featuring rescued wildlife selling @ $ 25 plus postage. They are absolutely stunning! You can view the 12 photo's in the PHOTO GALLERY.  This year we are also offering a Desktop calendar, 15 Australiana Christmas cards and at least 1 Happy New Year card! Order forms will be available to download shortly. 

WTE FACE website   evie wp   nellie and jacob WP

                               

There are heaps of fantastic photos to choose from with which to make your card. I hope to display them here soon but in the meantime please email me if you are interested in purchasing any. Pam-Made photo cards cost is $5.00 each.

General Philosophy and Approach to Wildlife Rehabilitation 
When an animal first presents it is immediately assessed as to its suitability for release. Injured or not injured? Sadly, a broken limb almost always means euthanasia, as does a permanent eye injury. Other factors taken into consideration are: appropriate facilities, age, stress levels whilst receiving treatment, time in care. I take my role as a wildlife rehabilitator very seriously and believe that we have a responsibility to only release strong, healthy animals with a good chance of survival. I am a strong advocate for euthanasia if a successful outcome cannot be achieved or where an animal’s suffering cannot be alleviated. As difficult as the decision is to make, I believe this is the only course of action and, although it may seem like a violent death, a firearm is a quick and efficient tool for this purpose. Releasing an animal with a disability is both irresponsible and cruel.

My training as a Community Ambulance Officer has come in handy when dealing with injured wildlife. Most injuries are obvious. If I am in any doubt I consult with my local vet. We have a good relationship, having worked alongside each other for many years. These days most consults are over the phone or via email with photos attached. If X rays are required, or if I need further help, I don’t hesitate in taking the animal in to see the wonderful vets at either the COX STREET VET CLINIC or HAMILTON VETCARE, both in Hamilton. Larger animals may require a house call from my friend Macca, IAN MCLEOD VET SERVICES just outside of Hamilton. For any surgical procedures I travel to Warrnambool to see James and Eleanor Cowell at the LAVA STREET VETERINARY CLINIC.

    Lava_St_2 Lava_St_1

Those with a good chance of survival and release are then given a more thorough examination. I administer pain relief before cleaning and dressing wounds, fluids are given either orally or subcutaneously, they are warmed or cooled as necessary and are then made comfortable in a quiet contained area where they can be closely monitored with minimum disturbance. Sick animals are isolated and given the appropriate medication. Hygiene is always a priority with regular cleaning of all enclosures, bedding and food containers. I adhere to all the welfare standards as set out in the code of practice.

Most mature animals are hard released back to the area where they were found. All hand-reared animals are soft released. The hand rearing of orphaned macropods takes considerable time and effort to ensure their survival in the wild. I am their surrogate mother and make every attempt to do as their natural mother would by providing a quiet, nurturing environment. Joeys (baby kangaroos) need to feel safe and secure in order to gain the confidence needed, especially whilst ‘at foot’ when they are most vulnerable. A stressed joey is susceptible to disease and will fail to thrive. Lessons begin as soon as they emerge from the pouch. By the time they are 12 months old they have explored every inch of the property. They know where every fence is and how to get through or under them; they know to take flight when they hear the magpie alarm, see a dog or another human approach. Most evenings we walk to the reserve where they socialise with the mob. As they get older they free range, only coming home for the occasional feed of hay or pellets before they eventually join the wild mob. Some of the females visit on occasion, showing off their joey. I maintain a high standard of care resulting in a very good success rate.

emilio WP emma wp

 Kangaroo’s are amazing mothers. They are able to produce two different types of milk. The pinky joey will drink a concentrated milk high in protein from one teat and the older joey will suckle a less concentrated milk from another teat.