News

Vale Julia Linette McConnell

Vale Julia McConnell

NSW Wildlife Council is saddened by the death in hospital over the Christmas 2021 period of Julia McConnell one of NSW’s early wildlife rehabilitation pioneers.

Julia and her late husband, Bill, joined WIRES in the group’s formative years and Julia was Secretary of Blue Mountains WIRES branch and an integral part of its management team. As well as their active WIRES involvement Julia and Bill joined the pioneer reptile training team with Bill as a Trainer and Julia as part of the family support team attending handling courses which were operating to an intensive schedule during the height of the summer reptile seasons.

Specialisation into herpetofauna saw Julia and Bill gaining an Independent General Licence from NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service and the formation of Reptile Rescue and Education Service from their home base at Bullaburra.

As passionate advocates for greater understanding and conservation of the reptile species Julia and Bill were founding members when the Hawkesbury Herpetological Society was formed in August 1993. She was Treasurer 2009-2010 and 2013-2014 and Secretary 2011-2012.

Fran Stopford, editor with Stephen Boys, of “The Hawkesbury Herpetologist Retrospective” remembers Julia as an always willing participant in reptile expos and other events to promote the importance and conservation of our native wildlife.

Fran recalls Julia’s particular love of Tiger Snakes and NWC Secretary Meredith recalls their interest in dingo education and how they shared their observations of their captive dingoes at Bullaburra.

Julia was a staunch advocate through local conservation groups of protection of wildlife through control of free-living cats in the Blue Mountains environment.

Julia took animals that were unable to be released and worked with National Parks and Wildlife Service about rehoming them with licensed herpetologists according to the rules.

Julia was part of the steering committee that formed the New South Wales Wildlife Council and was Treasurer from 2007 to 2011. Other roles Julia held were as Insurance Officer and she represented the interests and was spokesperson for the NSW Independent General Licensees on the Council from 2007 to 2014.

Lorraine Vass AM remembers Julia’s passion about strengthening the wildlife rehab sector and said “from time to time we collaborated on policy issues of mutual interest. We got on well – she was knowledgeable, diligent, forthright, and enjoyed a laugh”.

Though short in stature Julia was a straight shooter and freely made her opinions known, often intimidating those who thought she might be a “pushover” and not so adamant and convincing in her wildlife advocacy.

Julia made a strong and lasting contribution to the wildlife sector, not only to rehabilitation, but to protection and conservation.

Audrey Koosmen, Chair of the New South Wales Wildlife Council, said “Julia’s legacy to wildlife education, conservation and to the rehabilitation sector will be long remembered. Her commitment was enormous and engendered huge interest particularly in the region’s reptilian fauna”.

Julia’s full obituary can be found on the attached PDF.

Wildlife Rehabilitation Annual Report

2019-2020 Annual Report

This is a bumper Annual Report for the Rehabilitation Sector for the 2019-2020 year. 

It makes compelling reading and every group should be proud of its efforts that are reflected in the whole.

For full access to the Wildife Rehabilitation Dashboard go to: https://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/topics/animals-and-plants/native-animals/rehabilitating-native-animals/wildlife-rehabilitation-reporting

To access the annual report go to: https://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/-/media/OEH/Corporate-Site/Documents/Animals-and-plants/Native-animals/wildlife-rehabilitation-annual-report-201920-200336.pdf

NSW Community Wildlife Survey

The NSW DPIE needs your help to conserve koalas and other local wildlife, to understand the impact of the 2019-20 bushfires and to assess trends in feral animals such as deer and fox.

In 2019, they released the NSW Community Wildlife Survey. The survey aimed to improve our understanding of the distribution of koalas and other mammals, including both native and introduced species, in New South Wales, to indicate how their populations have changed over time and to investigate what might be causing that change.

They ran the survey from May to December.

They have now reopened the survey to help them understand how our wildlife and introduced mammals are faring, and how they have been impacted by the 2019-20 bushfires.

More than ever, we need your sightings of koalas and other mammals from before and after the fires, as well as sightings from areas not affected by the fire.

The information you provide will build on findings from earlier community surveys, allowing us to compare mammal populations in 2006 with those in 2019-20. This data will help us decide the priority sites for action as part of the NSW Government’s Koala Strategy. It will also provide us with vital information about where mammals were affected by fire and where populations remain within and near the fire grounds.

The survey questions include

  • which of the 10 target animals in the image gallery occur in your local area
  • when you last saw the animals in your local area and if you think their numbers are increasing, decreasing or staying the same
  • the health of the koalas in your local area and whether they have young (joeys)
  • what you think are the main threats to koalas in your local area
  • where in New South Wales you have seen any of the 10 target animals over the last 2 years.

The survey should take between 20 and 30 minutes to complete.

For more information, links to the tools that you need to use and to take the survey go to:

https://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/topics/animals-and-plants/threatened-species/programs-legislation-and-framework/nsw-koala-strategy/koala-and-other-wildlife-survey

Staying healthy during a mouse plague

Mice, rats and other rodents may carry infections that can spread to humans. These infections can spread through direct contact with infected mice or through contact with soil, food or water contaminated by infected mice. These infections are rare, but people should take steps to reduce their risk.

To read the full article go to the NSW health website at – https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/environment/factsheets/Pages/mouse-plague.aspx

Download a PDF factsheet at – https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/environment/factsheets/Factsheets/mouse-plague.pdf

Tips for protecting your health

Minimising rodent contact

  • Seal any holes or gaps inside your home.
  • Store food inside thick, well-sealed containers and clean up any spills/leftover food promptly to avoid attracting rodents.
  • Do not set mouse traps near food preparation areas.

What to do if you are bitten by a rodent

  • Immediately clean the wound with soap and water.
  • Dry the area, apply an antibiotic cream and a clean bandage.
  • Seek medical attention. You may need a tetanus immunisation, and in some circumstances (not always), antibiotics are given to prevent infection.
  • As the wound heals, keep an eye out for signs of infection such as skin that is warm to the touch, redness or pain. See a doctor if these signs develop.

Clean and disinfect mouse contact areas

  • Mop floors and clean countertops with disinfectant or bleach solution.
  • Steam clean or shampoo upholstered furniture and carpets with evidence of rodent exposure.
  • Wash any bedding and clothing with laundry detergent in hot water if exposed to rodent urine or droppings.

Clean up of mouse carcasses

When cleaning up mouse carcases or working in areas where mice have been:

  • Wear gloves
  • Wear waterproof protective clothing and footwear.
  • Cover cuts and abrasions with a waterproof dressing.
  • Wash hands with soap and dry your hands after completing the clean-up, and especially before eating.
  • Ideally, any handling of mouse carcasses should be undertaken by household members who are not pregnant or immunosuppressed.

Guidelines for the initial treatment and care of rescued sea turtles

Hi turtle rescuers & carers, please see the link below to recently published resources relevant to the inital treatment and care of rescued sea turtles.

Guidelines for the initial treatment and care of rescued sea turtles

The purpose of this document is to provide licensed wildlife rehabilitators in New South Wales with guidelines for the initial treatment of sea turtles requiring rescue or rehabilitation.

https://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/research-and-publications/publications-search/guidelines-for-the-initial-treatment-and-care-of-rescued-sea-turtles

Guidelines for the initial treatment and care of rescued sea turtles

Updated – DPIE/NPWS Macropod rehabilitation resources

Hi Macropod carers, please see the links below to recently published resources relevant to macropod rehabilitation.

These have been developed in consultation with the sector and veterinary experts.

Guidelines for the Initial Treatment and Care of Rescued Macropods:

https://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/research-and-publications/publications-search/guidelines-for-the-initial-treatment-and-care-of-rescued-macropods

Link to the guidelines for the Initial Treatment and Care of Rescued Macropods on DPIE website
Click the image above to go to the guidelines for the Initial Treatment and Care of Rescued Macropods

Macropod Training Standards and Trainers’ Guide for the Volunteer Wildlife Rehabilitation Sector:

https://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/research-and-publications/publications-search/macropod-rehabilitation-training-standards-for-the-volunteer-wildlife-rehabilitation-sector

Click the image above to go to the guidelines for the initial treatment and care of rescued macropods

Coxiella burnetii seroprevalence and Q fever in Australian wildlife rehabilitators

Wildlife rehabilitators give blood, sweat and tears in their work with wildlife. 

At the Australian Wildlife Rehabilitation Conference in July 2018 in Sydney well over 100 volunteers from multiple states contributed to a study on Q Fever by offering blood samples. 

This report published November 2020 concludes that more work needs to be done to promote awareness of this disease and encourage vaccination of wildlife rehabilitators, one of the groups at risk of contracting Q Fever.

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.onehlt.2020.100197