Native animals in Australia don’t always have it easy at the best of times but the local Eurobodalla WIRES branch have been called to distressed animals who were doing it extra tough.
Firstly a WIRES member, Olympia, in Ulladulla got notified of a possum that had been illegally trapped by a member of public and that the property owners had not bothered to check the trap. A neighbour reported the distressed brushtail possum to WIRES, mentioning that their neighbours were away for the weekend and they weren’t sure how long the possum had been in the trap.
Unable to access the property without the owners permission, Olympia approached the local police for assistance. They were eager to help and accompanied Olympia and her husband onto the property in order to retrieve the possum and the trap. The possum was checked over and even though it was scared and distressed, it appeared physically well enough to be released. Both rescuer and police were thrilled when the possum was released close by, as is the law, and it quickly climbed a tree.
Many people might not know that it is illegal to trap any possum without an license. And when a licensed person does trap a possum, the possum has to be released within 50m of where it was trapped. This is because possums have a home range which they know intimately. Brushtail possums are also extremely territorial and fights resulting in severe injury and possibly Death can occur if a possum is put into another’s territory. WIRES recommends that you possum proof your house by covering up any small holes into your roof cavity (at night so as not to trap the possum in your roof), do not supply food for wild possums but definitely put a brushtail possum boxes into trees. All this discourages possums from your house and supplies them with an alternative.
Another case of mishap occurred when an adult male satin bower bird was seen with a blue milk carton ring around its head and between its beak, effectively preventing the bird from eating and drinking. The bird was caught by a member of public and handed to a local WIRES volunteer Janet. The plastic ring was removed and the bird was conveyed to the local vets as the skin on the sides of the beak were infected. He is now on courses of analgesics & antibiotics with an antibacterial cream to soften & heal the damage area but there is a chance he will never be able to completely close his beak.
And lastly, late one night this week a shocked member of public witnessed a car driving along Beach Road near surf beach and the occupants threw a turtle out of the moving vehicle and onto the road. Luckily the witness was able to collect the turtle and hold it overnight until a WIRES volunteer and local Reptile coordinator, Kay, was able to attend. The turtle was later released into a dam far away from roads and people.
If you see an animal in distress or orphaned please contact WIRES on 1300094737
Police enter property to help WIRES rescue an illegally trapped possum (photo credit Olympia Hendry)
Release day - Bower bird (photo credit Janet Jones)
The turtle that was thrown from a car. (Photo credit Kay Mallitt)