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This glorious male owl (named in care Owen Owl) was found in distress on a road in the mid-south coast area of NSW. Several cars were observed driving over the bird when Robert decided to stop to check and render assistance. Although initially thinking the bird was dead it came to as he picked it up but it was clearly injured. He immediately called WIRES.

We assume Owen had been involved in some sort of collision, most likely with a vehicle given his location on the road. Vet assessment determined it had a ruptured air sac and a contusion on the lung and was in care while those injuries healed. After a flight test it was decided Owen was ready to go back to the wild and he was happily released on Sunday evening. A great result for a beautiful and vulnerable species and thanks to everyone involved in his rescue and care.

Masked Owls are medium-sized forest dwelling owls, with dark eyes set in a prominent flat, heart-shaped facial disc that is encircled by a dark border. They are similar to but larger than the Barn Owl and in contrast to Barn Owls have fully feathered legs down to the toes. 

They exist in several colour forms, with wide variation in plumage. In NSW their conservation status is listed as vulnerable.

Many assume it is mainly kangaroos involved in vehicle collisions but every year, hundreds of other species lives are also lost on our roads, including owls and other birds of prey. Collision’s with vehicles are one of the most common reasons for this, with many of the animals in need of rescue and ongoing care.

Incidents increase during the winter months due to our shorter days. The conditions mean a higher chance of contact with our native mammals when they are at their most active at dawn and dusk. 

Animal collisions are most common in winter. The worst month is July. 

They often feed close to the road where the food is plentiful and their behaviour can be unpredictable, making it impossible for some drivers to miss them. 

These factors combined mean cars and trucks are one of the biggest dangers facing our wildlife today.

We need your help. Winter is tough and we cannot do it without you. 

Please give what you can to our current appeal to help us be there for the hundreds of animals like Owen or join us as a Virtual Carer by providing ongoing financial support. 

Image thanks Sandy Collins


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Albie was found shivering in the middle of a road, standing next to his mother’s body, after she had been hit and killed by a vehicle.
WIRES volunteer Lisa, who is caring for him told me that he was traumatised and suffered symptoms of shock for 48 hours after the accident.

At the time of writing this a week had passed since Albie’s rescue and he was doing much better.

Blackheath was found cold, wet and alone in the middle of the road at night. 
 
Luckily, a passing motorist spotted him and stopped to help.

He has been in care with WIRES volunteers Jamie and Hayley for a few months, still being bottle fed twice a day. 
 
Hayley says Blackheath is a healthy energetic boy that is well on his way to release at the end of the year. She says he has an amazing personality, being playful, loving with a dash of cheekiness.

Every year, hundreds of animal’s lives are lost and many more are orphaned. Collision’s with vehicles is one of the most common reasons for this, with many of the animals in need of rescue and ongoing care.

Incidents increase during the winter months due to our shorter days. The conditions mean a higher chance of contact with our native mammals when they are at their most active at dawn and dusk.

Animal collisions are most common in winter. The worst month is July.

They often feed close to the road where the food is plentiful and their behaviour can be unpredictable, making it impossible for some drivers to miss them.

These factors combined mean cars and trucks are one of the biggest dangers facing our wildlife today.

Joeys that come into care when they are very young can be with WIRES for two years, until they are self-sufficient and ready to go back into the wild.

Raising a joey takes an enormous amount of resources, not only the specialised formula, but time, energy and equipment.

Over the next three months WIRES will respond to calls of help for more than 200 Wombats and 1,500 Kangaroos and Wallabies.

We need your help. Winter is tough and we cannot do it without you. 

Please give what you can to our current appeal to help us be there for the hundreds of animals like Albie and Blackheath or join us as a Virtual Carer by providing ongoing financial support. 




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During bushfires and emergency events WIRES can be inundated with enquiries from people wanting to assist wildlife.

Many calls we take are from people wanting to assist with the rescue of injured wildlife in a direct way. While these offers are appreciated as it’s very encouraging to know that people want to help wildlife in times of tragedy, it is necessary for WIRES rescuers and carers to be trained and licenced before they are able to do this safely. Only appropriately trained members are authorised to carry out emergency wildlife rescue and care activities and even they must not enter fire areas until authorised to do so by local Fire Control Officers.

WIRES volunteers are on standby to help when notified to respond via the Department of Primary Industry (DPI) Agriculture and Animal Services Functional Area. We rescue any wildlife found in areas outside the fire zones and care for any burned or smoke affected animals who have received veterinary treatment and require ongoing care.

Bushfires present a significant risk to the safety of volunteers and the activities conducted during and after a fire event are managed by first responder organisations such as RFS, Fire & Rescue NSW and SES.

First responder volunteers who are authorised to be on the fire grounds do help wildlife where they can. These animals are brought out of the fire zone and taken to vets for emergency treatment and from there to WIRES volunteers for ongoing care. 

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer with WIRES we encourage you to find out more about becoming a volunteer so that you can join a local branch and assist with ongoing wildlife rescue and care in the future.

In addition, you can also assist wildlife during fires as outlined below.


General advice for helping wildlife after bushfires

  • Download our free Wildlife Rescue App and register your email so that you have emergency wildlife rescue advice immediately available if you need it & you can report a rescue to our rescue team direct from the app.
  • Take domestic animals with you if you evacuate or keep cats indoors and dogs under control wherever possible so that wildlife can flee safely through your yard if needed.
  • Leave out bowls of water for animals and birds escaping fires, use shallow bowls with a few sticks or stones on one side to allow smaller animals to escape if they fall in. Only place water out for animals on your property. Do not put containers in National Parks or other areas as this can cause pollution problems in the future.
  • Keep a cardboard box and cotton wraps in the boot of your car in case you find an injured animal that you can safely contain without putting yourself in any danger.
  • If you rescue an animal that has been burnt, do not attempt to feed it, please wrap it very loosely, ideally in 100% cotton fabric, place it in a ventilated box with a lid and keep it in a dark, quiet place whilst waiting for a rescuer or for transport to the nearest vet.
  • If you can safely take injured animals to your nearest vet please do so, as injured animals will require urgent vet assessment. If you can please also call WIRES to let us know which vet you’ve taken the animal to so we can follow up with vet to bring the animals into care when they are ready.
  • Do not approach injured snakes, flying-foxes, large macropods, raptors or monitors as these must be rescued by trained specialists, for these species please call WIRES first for rescue assistance on 1300 094 737.
Please remember WIRES is a registered charity and we rely on the generosity of the public to continue our rescue and care services. Donations $2 and over are tax deductible and you can donate online at any time, either once off or become a Virtual Carer by donating regularly.
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The WIRES family was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Helen George late last year.


Helen was one of the few very important people who contributed to the inception of WIRES in the mid 80’s.  In 1987 she was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for her services to conservation and in 2010 the Australian Wildlife Society awarded Helen the Serventy Conservation Medal.



Helen was the WIRES go to person in those early days, always there for advice and support. WIRES certainly would not be the organisation it is today without Helen’s passion for wildlife, particularly in the areas of education and training, mentoring and support.  Helen was an invaluable advisor to the original WIRES committee and was respected and highly regarded by all who came in contact with her.


The WIRES extended family pass on our heartfelt condolences to Helen’s husband John and their family, our thoughts are with them and we will be forever grateful for Helen’s invaluable contributions to WIRES.


Below are some anecdotes about Helen from our founder, Mikla Lewis, and other WIRES members who have worked with Helen over the years.  We wanted to share these anecdotes to provide a glimpse into the history of our organisation and how important Helen was to our cause.


Mikla Lewis OAM (founder of WIRES):


I first met Helen in early 1982, long before there was even a concept of a wildlife rescue service in NSW. Our meeting, and indirectly the formation of WIRES, came about because of a baby Grey-headed Flying-fox called Luna that I had found and cared for in the north coast town of Bellingen where I lived in 1981. Unfortunately Luna died after about six weeks in my care – my attempts to find information on how to raise a flying-fox had come to nothing.


Not long after returning to Sydney to live, I noticed an article in the local North Shore Times newspaper about an upcoming public talk being organised by the Ku-ring-gai Bat Conservation Society (KBCS) with Helen as the guest speaker. I was keen to go along to meet her, as she had successfully hand-raised orphaned flying-foxes where I had failed. After the talk I introduced myself to her (and Peter the flying-fox) and related my experience with Luna. Responding to my obvious passion for flying-foxes, she kindly invited me to visit her home in Mt Kuring-gai where she and husband John looked after an assortment of native animals, including a number of flying-foxes.


Later that year the first discussions about a wildlife rescue service took place between myself, Animal Liberation and NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS). Helen and I had kept in touch and I remember telling her about the idea. She was immediately supportive and continued to advise us over the next few years as a group of us worked towards establishing the organisation.


On 31st August 1985 on Margaret Throsby’s ABC radio program, NPWS media officer John Dengate announced to the world a new organisation – a wildlife rescue service called WIRES. Later that day, as a result of John’s broadcast, I took the very first incoming WIRES phone call. An old blind, mangey wombat was making a daily visit to a Wollongong garden and the woman resident was in need of some advice on what she could do to help the poor animal. Back then WIRES was only set up to operate in Sydney, so this first call presented us (the two Coordinators - Valerie Thurlow and me) with a challenge we had not anticipated. Like so many rescue calls over the ensuing months and years, we required Helen’s vast experience and knowledge to deal with the situation. On the other end of the phone Helen’s voice was calm and reassuring as she gave us the name and phone number of an experienced wildlife vet in Wollongong that she knew. “Tell the woman to put the wombat into a trailer, if she can catch it, and bring it to me and I will look after it” said the vet when I rang him the next morning. Easy! I rang the Wollongong woman back and gave her the vet’s instructions. “Oh that’s OK” the woman replied, “I’ve solved the problem - I’ve shot the wombat!” At that stage I think Valerie and I wondered what the hell we were getting ourselves into, but Helen reassured us that this was all part of being in the wildlife rescue game.


The success of WIRES over the past 30 plus years has been due in no small part to Helen and her husband John, who supported Helen in all she did.  Through John (who worked for the former DMR/RTA - Roads and Traffic Authority), the very first ‘Injured wildlife – phone WIRES’ sign was erected on the Hume Highway south of Sydney.


Helen’s unequalled experience (gained from over 50 years of wildlife care) and science-based knowledge as well as her generosity of spirit and willingness to nurture and teach others all she knew, resulted in her presenting hundreds of training courses in animal rescue and care to thousands of WIRES members.


Helen and I shared the distinction of being Life Members of WIRES and being the recipients of an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) for services to conservation in NSW. I am so grateful to have known such an amazing person and the world is surely a poorer place for her passing.


Judy MacMaster (early WIRES member):


Helen George was involved with general conservation and in particular, the conservation of injured and orphaned native Australian wildlife since she was a young girl, helping her mother care for animals when they lived in western NSW. 


Helen was part of the founding team that set up WIRES in NSW in 1985. She undertook, on a voluntary basis, over many years, hundreds of training days and presentations for WIRES and other wildlife groups throughout eastern Australia. 


Helen trained as a nurse soon after leaving school, so that her compassionate nature could help humans, as well as animals and birds. Her quest for knowledge was unending; her capacity for retaining that knowledge was remarkable and her ability to pass that knowledge on in a firm but gentle manner has been acclaimed by all those who attended one or more of her lectures. She was an inspiration to all those who knew her.


During her long career of wildlife care, Helen has had the constant support of her children and her husband John, without whom she could not have done much of what she accomplished. Often, their home was filled with small joey kangaroos/possums/koalas/wombats and tiny echidnas and bandicoots, numerous birds and of course, flying foxes, and the occasional reptile. This menagerie was usually augmented by adult animals needing nursing and time to recover before being released back into the bush. During these hectic times Helen was available always to chat to people all over Australia, giving advice and help without any hint of the busy life she led. Her patience was unsurpassed – I remember (in the very early days) asking her a most basic question on housing a joey kangaroo when I should have read the notes she prepared for her lectures – there was no reproach from her at all, when really there should have been. I received just warm encouragement and advice.


Helen and John lived for many years in Kangaroo Valley, in a beautiful old home, on several acres. Together with John, they built a wonderful macropod/wombat yard which housed hundreds of animals over the years. Their garden is to be much admired and the vegetables grown by them supplied many friends and neighbours. John is still there, and will carry on as Helen would have wished.


Helen will be missed by so many. She has my everlasting admiration and love.


Gaylene Parker (early WIRES member)


When I was first asked to write a couple of paragraphs about my time with Helen I thought, how I will do that! How will it will be possible to fit even HALF of my time spent in her company in those few lines….? Well the answer is you can’t, so I decided to share a couple of the humorous snippets & VERY special moments with Helen that still make me smile & I hope they will for you too.


The 1st time I was given a koala joey to care for by Helen, I was so nervous it soon was VERY clear to Helen that I had ‘lost the plot’ a bit. So Helen, (in her matter of fact way), made it quite clear I had to get over my nerves if I expected the animal to survive!! I also think she would have given me a cuff around the ears if I hadn’t gotten over my nerves right away! But her words of encouragement, tinged with a touch of impatience, were enough. ‘For goodness sake Gaylene, it’s just another animal that needs your help! You know how to look after wombats competently this is just one that just happens to climb trees, so get on with it! And I did, and the koala & I both survived.


Helen, John & I were travelling by car to a Wires training course in a small country town in NSW. I think we had been talking about songs from our youth & the song ‘Big Yellow Taxi by Joni Mitchell’ came to mind. As we pulled up at traffic lights we started singing the song in maybe slightly elevated voices and as the song came to the end, I looked around & noticed some people were looking at us with bemused faces!? As we pulled away I wondered what they may have been thinking……..older hippies enjoying reminiscing, or 3 friends enjoying their day out together? Both I hope.


Thanks Helen.


Garry Small (current WIRES member)


Helen was special person who loved nothing more than here family, caring for wildlife and passing that knowledge on. I look back on times spent with her at her home whilst doing training courses with mist eyes.


Ross Jeffery (current WIRES member)


I knew Helen in the mid 80's when I was part of the Gordon Bat committee. I went to her house many times, partly for advice about my baby bats but also to see all the kangaroo joeys and baby wombats in their bags in  the kitchen or hopping or galumphing  down the hall.  When I was there once there was a thumping sound and the house started shaking. "That's just the wombat. It has dug a hole and is scratching against the foundations" Helen said.


Helen was always patient and kind. A wonderful example of how all carers should be.


David McKinnon (current WIRES member)


Helen George was my major influence in my early days! Attending her workshops we all left chastened for our over handling of our wildlife. At one workshop she refused to allow a large leg paralysed roo, raised from a small Joey, to leave the Workshop alive. The tears the tears!


Visiting her at Kangaroo Valley we learnt the benefits of pairing species as Helen had bagged joeys out in light frost and young bats could be seen hanging about the her living room.


Helen taught loving Wildlife alone will not give them what is needed in the savage Wild.
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While Sydney was preparing for another spectacular fireworks display, ‘Gal’ the Great Cormorant was fighting for her life. 

On New Year’s Eve WIRES rescuer Michaela and her husband found themselves abandoning their plans and jumping into a creek at a reserve in South West Sydney.  

Michaela remembers seeing “a large bird that seemed to be drowning about five metres away from the shore. It was a Great Cormorant, completely exhausted and probably only minutes from death”. 

Gal was entangled in metres of fishing line which was cutting into her left shoulder as it wrapped around her body multiple times. Michaela’s husband said that there were four different lines around her, two of which were attached to a float. He also found five fishing hooks attached to her body.  

He was able to cut some line and get her to shore. The usually majestic and strong bird was coughing up water and was very weak. 

“One of the fishing hooks had pierced through her beak and leg at the same time so she was not only in pain but she could barely move,” recalls Michaela. 


Michaela and her husband travelled through Sydney, on what has to be the busiest night of the year, to reach an emergency vet.
Gal received antibiotics and stitches for two wounds on her left wing. One of the wounds was two centimetres wide, caused from the fishing line which had embedded into her skin. 
 
The hooks were carefully removed from Gal’s body. The vet identified them as Treble hooks, which feature three barbs per hook. It is not uncommon for Seabirds to receive multiple wounds from these hooks, which dramatically decreases their chance of survival. 

The strong-willed Cormorant recovered quickly and was successfully released back to the wild in the first week of January. 

“When we left, there was still lots of fishing line in the water, including a float. Who knows how many hooks were under the water?” said Michaela, feeling frustrated at the cause of Gal’s injuries.

Later that week Michaela returned to the creek in an effort to clean up the area and prevent further animals suffering the same fate as Gal. 

Discarded recreational items such as fishing line, string and plastics are creating multiple hazards for Australian wildlife. Fishing line, like the one around Gal, does not biodegrade. It readily wraps around the feet, legs, wings and even necks of animals, especially the ones who inhabit coastal areas. These types of entanglements can cause swelling and deep wounds. Animals including seabirds, raptors and turtles can have these materials constricting or embedded into their skin for weeks or months before being sighted and reported. 

Abandoned fishing hooks are also known to puncture vital organs if swallowed and plastic items are often mistaken as food and then ingested causing serious internal injuries. 

The x-ray image is of a young seagull found on Sydney’s Bronte Beach. It was unable to fly and when WIRES rescuers arrived they believed it to have a broken wing caused by fishing line which had become wrapped around the bird’s body. A radiograph later confirmed it had swallowed a hook with a weight attached. The seagull couldn’t be saved.

WIRES’ teams are active all over NSW helping animals in similar situations. We can report that there were 1,382 entangled animals reported to WIRES in 2017. This is more than 3 animals every day.

In the biodiversity conservation act 2016, Entanglement in or ingestion of anthropogenic debris in marine and estuarine environments is listed as a key threatening process for wildlife. The NSW government has recognised in legislation that man-made waste is resulting in population decline and the threat of extinction for some of our native animals. 

Items which are tossed away, never to be thought of again, have huge consequences and our wildlife is paying the price. No species is immune to discarded waste which is causing pain and suffering to thousands of animals every year. 

As marine debris and plastic pollution increases, so does the impact on wildlife.

In 2015, National Geographic stated that plastic can be found in over 90% of Seabirds and research suggests that the number continues to climb. 

WIRES rescuers are doing all they can to alleviate the pain and suffering caused by this situation but we need help. A gift today can allow us to invest more resources into rescuing and rehabilitating our native animals. 

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During bushfires and emergency events WIRES can be inundated with enquires from people wanting to assist wildlife.

Many calls we take are from people wanting to assist with the rescue of injured wildlife in a direct way. While these offers are appreciated as it’s very encouraging to know that people want to help wildlife in times of tragedy, it is necessary for WIRES rescuers and carers to be trained and licenced before they are able to do this safely. Only appropriately trained members are authorised to carry out emergency wildlife rescue and care activities and even they must not enter fire areas until authorised to do so by local Fire Control Officers.

Currently the bushfires are being controlled and an emergency / severe weather event has not been declared, therefore WIRES has not been notified to respond via the Department of Primary Industry (DPI) Agriculture and Animal Services Functional Area.

Bushfires present a significant risk to the safety of volunteers and the activities conducted during and after a fire event are managed by first responder organisations such as RFS, Fire & Rescue NSW and SES.

First responder volunteers who are authorised to be on the fire grounds do help wildlife where they can. These animals are brought out of the fire zone and taken to vets for emergency treatment and from there to WIRES volunteers for ongoing care. 

One of these animals was a tiny ringtail possum joey rescued from the Royal National Park area. She has burns on her tail, ears and all four paws and is having daily vet checks for signs of respiratory problems. Her WIRES carer, Ludy says she is responding well but burns can take weeks and sometimes months of recovery.

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer with WIRES we encourage you to find out more about becoming a volunteer so that you can join a local branch and assist with ongoing wildlife rescue and care in the future.

In addition, you can also assist wildlife during fires as outlined below.


General advice for helping wildlife after bushfires

  • Download our free Wildlife Rescue App and register your email so that you have emergency wildlife rescue advice immediately available if you need it & you can report a rescue to our rescue team direct from the app.
  • Take domestic animals with you if you evacuate or keep cats indoors and dogs under control wherever possible so that wildlife can flee safely through your yard if needed.
  • Leave out bowls of water for animals and birds escaping fires, use shallow bowls with a few sticks or stones on one side to allow smaller animals to escape if they fall in. Only place water out for animals on your property. Do not put containers in National Parks or other areas as this can cause pollution problems in the future.
  • Keep a cardboard box and towel in the boot of your car in case you find an injured animal that you can safely contain without putting yourself in any danger.
  • If you rescue an animal that has been burnt, do not attempt to feed it, please wrap it very loosely, ideally in 100% cotton fabric, place it in a ventilated box with a lid and keep it in a dark, quiet place whilst waiting for a rescuer or for transport to the nearest vet.
  • If you can safely take injured animals to your nearest vet please do so, as injured animals will require urgent vet assessment. If you can please also call WIRES to let us know which vet you’ve taken the animal to so we can follow up with vet to bring the animals into care when they are ready.
  • Do not approach injured snakes, flying-foxes, large macropods, raptors or monitors as these must be rescued by trained specialists, for these species please call WIRES first for rescue assistance on 1300 094 737.
Please remember WIRES is a registered charity and we rely on the generosity of the public to continue our rescue and care services. Donations $2 and over are tax deductible and you can donate online at any time, either once off or become a Virtual Carer by donating regularly.
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On January 7, 2018 an extreme heatwave struck south eastern Australia. The wildlife of Sydney and surrounding areas and in particular areas of western Sydney experienced temperatures in excess of 45 degrees celsius. At temperatures above 42-43 degrees combined with high humidity flying-fox colonies are very vulnerable to heat stress.

As the temperatures reach these levels the bats start to move down the trees as they begin to have difficulty regulating their body temperature. The young pups will succumb first and begin falling from the trees to the ground where they will quickly de-hydrate and die. 

On January 7th this is what began to happen in the early afternoon. Local WIRES volunteers were monitoring colonies and in the early afternoon began to see the young pups dropping to the ground in their hundreds. This occurred at colonies in Campbelltown, Parramatta Park, Yarramundi, South Creek and Emu Plains.

Teams were mobilised at many sites and all our vaccinated rescuers who were available began to triage those who had a chance at survival. More than 40 young flying-fox pups were taken into critical care from the two camps and heartbreakingly some of those lives have also been lost despite the best care possible. Little 'Yoghurt' above is one of the lucky ones rescued and currently in care and at this stage doing OK. 

On the day many hundreds of young pups were able to be re-hydrated and reunited with parents and credit goes to our amazing volunteers who worked outside in the 45 degree heat to do what they could to help ensure more lives were not lost.

Meanwhile our volunteers continue to monitor the colonies and even on Wednesday - 3 days later more bodies were still being recovered as even more weakened animals succumb to ongoing stress. We estimate the number of bats lost in these five colonies alone to be approaching 1000, with hundreds more bodies still in the trees too high to be recovered.

Many other species were also being helped by WIRES over the weekend, possums with burnt feet and many heat stressed birds including one Gang Gang cockatoo.

Please give what you can to our current appeal, as we experience what is already shaping up to be one of the hottest summers on record.

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There is a Short-beaked echidna somewhere in the wilds of north west Sydney, who has been given a second chance thanks to WIRES and wildlife heroes Salina and Bec.

Given increased development, this area of Sydney has seen an increase in the number of echidnas coming into care in recent months.

“That’s the third one I’ve cared for this year,” said Bec. “We’ve got so much development in the area, the poor things are being driven out of their homes.”

WIRES rescuer Salina answered the call to help the echidna who was found by a homeowner’s dogs in her backyard. 

“He had been in the position where we found him for four days,” said Salina, adding that the house was located across the road from where new housing was being constructed. “We initially thought he was stuck but he’d actually dug himself in.”

Realising that it was a two-person job to extract the echidna, Salina returned the next day with another experienced WIRES rescuer.

They were able to gently move the echidna and take him to a vet where he was found to have a scratched beak and injured leg.

“We get them out of harm’s way,” said Salina. “But we try to get them back out in the wild as quickly as possible.”


That’s because, at this time of year, echidnas may have a puggle in a burrow which can only survive for four to five days without their parent.”

Affectionately known as Fatty, the echidna was a very large example of his species, although it wasn’t possible to tell whether it was in fact male or female.

“He was massive, he would fill the bottom of a plastic garbage bin,” said Bec.

“He loved his food but because of his sore beak, he had to be encouraged to go foraging for food.”

This was achieved by first using a bowl with sections that the echidna had to lick around and then using an enrichment feeder that Bec has made for captive echidnas.

You can see in the photo, the enrichment tool has holes that encourage the echidna to search for food inside.

“Finally he was ready to start hunting for his own food,” said Bec. “That’s when I managed to get him a termite mound which he managed to break open.”

Satisfied that he could feed himself in the wild, Bec was able to release Fatty in bushland near where he had been found initially.

“Echidnas are territorial… there’s not point trying to relocate them because they will just go back to where their burrow is,” said Bec.

The same is true for possums and gliders. They must be released as close to their rescue location as possible.

Would you like to give a Christmas present to an echidna? Watch our short video  to find out how… it might not be as easy as you first think!

Another one of our wildlife heroes is Sydney Arborist Kai. This year alone, he has helped trained WIRES volunteers to release around 20 possums where they can continue their lives in the wild.

Mainly working in the inner west of Sydney, Kai documents his possum releases on social media and is happy to support WIRES’ work with Brushtail and Ringtail possums.

“From my point of view, handling a little creature is so different to anything else I do… I have to be very careful,” said Kai.

Once Kai has fixed a possum box or drey into the tree where the animal is to be released, he uses a pulley system to hoist them up into the tree, with the help of a WIRES rescuer on the ground.

He said it’s very satisfying to be able to put these rehabilitated animals back into nature where they belong.

You can help us to answer more calls to help possums and echidnas this summer. It’s easy to make a secure donation to our current appeal 
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Everyday heroes come in many forms. Some people look out for our wildlife and call WIRES when they find an animal in need of help. Others are able to volunteer their time to become carers for orphaned, injured and displaced animals.

WIRES receives many calls about birds that need assistance but we wouldn’t have such a great success rate in rescues if it wasn’t for heroes like the members of the public and emergency services who regularly lend a hand.

In late October, in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales, some very observant council workers noticed the nest of a pair ofTawny Frogmouths at one of the city’s depots.

After watching the pair tend to their young ones over the course of days, the men noticed that the parent birds had not returned to the nest after some wild weather. Despite daily checks, they have not been seen since and their fate is unknown.

Concerned for the welfare of the young chicks and with the threat from predatory birds growing, the council workers contacted WIRES and volunteer rescuer Marion attended the scene.

They decided to use a cherry picker to access the nest and bring the chicks to ground, after consulting with the council’s work health and safety officer.

Thanks to Lismore City Council and employees Rod, Trent and Jeremy, the rescue operation went smoothly and the birds went into care with WIRES volunteer Julie. After four weeks regrettably, one of the chicks passed away, but the other one is doing well and has been housed with another young Tawny as a buddy.

“They do not always make it when raising them from such a young age,” said Julie, adding that they were probably only a week old when they were orphaned.

Having had more than 200 Tawny Frogmouths in her care over the past few years, Julie has a special bond with these birds.

The peak rescue season at WIRES started early this year due to unseasonally warm weather. Some species, like our iconic Australian Wood Duck, are now nesting for the second time and raising new batches of ducklings.

WIRES carer Inga has rescued scores of ducks from different parts of Sydney over recent months. One rescue started with a call from a motorist on a very busy road at Leppington in south-west Sydney.

“Two baby wood ducklings had fallen down the drain,” says Inga. “It was on a busy road and we had to call in the Fire Brigade to assist inthe rescue… unfortunately we were only able to find one of the ducklings.”

Thankfully, the rescued bird was in good condition and after some time in care, Inga was able to release it back into the wild. She says that ducks usually know exactly where they are going.

“When people find them on roads or footpaths they are often taking their ducklings from their nest site to the nearest waterway.”

But for those that are in danger WIRES provides a vital lifeline and donations ensure there is someone there to take the hundreds of calls for help we receive each day.

The reality is that our greatest heroes are our donors and virtual carers who provide ongoing financial support.

When you become a hero for wildlife you will be overwhelmed by the benefits. Not only are you saving the lives of our precious native animals, but the support you offer to WIRES will enable us to continue providing a vital service to the community.

It’s easy to make a secure donation.


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In a first for NSW, a new microbat aviary has been built near Goulburn. Owned and managed by WIRES Inc. and funded through a community grant from Holcim Australia, the Holcim Bat Flight Centre was officially opened on Monday November 27. 
The aviary will provide a place for microbats in care to regain flight fitness prior to their return to the wild.

The centre has already received requests to accommodate microbats from areas throughout the state including Goulburn, Marulan, Yass, Young, Wagga Wagga, Coffs Harbour and Sydney.

WIRES CEO Leanne Taylor said until now there have been no suitable aviaries in NSW able to accommodate the flight rehabilitation requirements for many of the microbat species that come into care. 

Despite their small size (from only 4cm in length), many bat species are adapted for fast flight above the forest canopy. They need very l
arge, empty spaces before they will even consider taking off and the new aviary is a 10m long by 10m and 4m high.
Thanks to this generous donation from Holcim we now have a suitable space capable of accommodating almost every species of microbat found in NSW. 

Holcim general manager Stephen Mossie said the company was delighted to support this excellent community-based environmental program. “The aim of this new centre is to protect and preserve some of NSW’s unique native species and help ensure their survival.”

Microbats 
There are approximately 32 species of microbats found in NSW, ranging in size from 4 to 40g. 

They are nocturnal insect pest controllers, consuming up to 100 per cent of their body weight in insects every night. 

They are clean and sociable animals that do not gnaw wood, wires or insulation. For more information visit https://www.wires.org.au/rescue/microbats

Although it is estimated that fewer than 1pc of flying-foxes and bats carry Australian Bat Lyssavirus it is a requirement of the NSW Health Service that anyone working with these animals is vaccinated as a safety precaution. 
 
Members of the public are warned to never take the risk of handling any bat but to call WIRES on 1300 094 737.
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