Support for volunteer wildlife army

The State’s army of volunteer wildlife rehabilitators, and the vets who assist them, will be better supported to meet the demands of native animal rescue with today’s release of the NSW Volunteer Wildlife Rehabilitation Sector Strategy.

A Kangaroo Joey

The 3-year plan to support and improve wildlife rehabilitation in New South Wales has in part been developed to incorporate the findings of the NSW Bushfire Inquiry.

Environment Minister Matt Kean said wildlife rehabilitators rescue about 100,000 animals every year and even more in times of crisis.

“Our army of volunteer wildlife rehabilitators worked tirelessly in last summer’s catastrophic bushfires, rescuing countless wildlife, including our precious koalas,” Mr Kean said.

“Without their commitment, dedication and responsiveness our sick and injured native animals would not have survived.”

The NSW Government has already committed $6.52 million to implement the strategy statewide.

Key elements include:

  • consistent standards of operation for the sector
  • improved support for local groups and volunteers
  • better training for veterinarians to assist native wildlife
  • a system of accreditation to replace the current licensing of volunteer wildlife rehabilitation groups.

Additionally, codes of practice for animal care will be enhanced along with training standards for rehabilitators and changes to the policy framework to give people more choice about which group they can join.

“Often working in challenging and confronting circumstances, these volunteers can bear significant personal cost and stress,” Mr Kean said.

“We want volunteers to feel prepared, understood and respected while also equipping them with the necessary skills and resources to perform their crucial role.”

The NSW Volunteer Wildlife Rehabilitation Sector Strategy 2020-2023 is available to download.

A well deserved acknowledgment

From the NSW Parliamentary reporting service (HANSARD) in regards to our President Audrey Koosmen.

Nice to see your work acknowledged.

I’m honoured to acknowledge the monumental work of Audrey Koosman from Blackalls Park who is a truly remarkable woman and a genuine local hero.

Audrey is the current president and founder of Hunter Wildlife Rescue, also known as the Native Animal Trust Fund.

For the past 56 years, Audrey has dedicated her life and time as a wildlife volunteer.

From providing around-the-clock feeds to orphaned animals such as kangaroos, possums and koalas through to fighting to conserve hectares of habitat and co-ordinating mass rescue events, to overseeing the creation of the education centre at the Hunter Wetlands Centre, it’s fair to say she’s personally responsible for the survival of a countless number of wild lives.

In the bushfires earlier this year and at the age of 73, she co-ordinated more than 80 responders over three months who searched and rescued injured and heat-stressed wildlife on fire grounds.

She also coordinated a feeding project in the fire ground to ensure that hundreds of starving native animals were fed.

Caring for wildlife and fighting for habitat conservation is a lifelong passion for Audrey and she deserves the very highest recognition for her efforts.

Mr GREG PIPER – NSW State Member for (Lake Macquarie)

How you can improve biodiversity in your garden

Attracting Australian wildlife isn’t an easy task. Natural wildlife visiting our homes and gardens is a rarity that we all enjoy. In this guide, we’ll show you how to increase biodiversity and attract some of the unique wildlife Australia has to offer.

When building your garden, the main factors for increasing biodiversity is providing shelter from predators, a water source, plants that attract prey, plants that provide food and adjoining bushland to your property.

Below is a link to a great resource from Sydney Gardners about how to make this happen.

How you can improve the biodiversity in your garden.

You never know what might turn up in your garden.

Flying Foxes

Tularaemia Factsheet

Tularaemia is a rare disease caused by Francisella tularensis bacteria. Infections usually occur through handling of infected animals, bites of an infected ticks, consumption of contaminated food, or contact with contaminated water.

Most infections are reported from the northern hemisphere.To date there have been four locally acquired cases of tularaemia reported in Australia. Three infections have been linked to bites/scratches from infected possums: two confirmed cases in Tasmania (one linked to a ringtail and the other to an unidentified species of possum) and a probable case in NSW (linked to a ringtail possum). The fourth infection is believed to have been acquired in a laboratory setting, and the implicated species of Australian animal has not been identified.

For the complete Tularaemia factsheet on the disease including symptoms and protection please see the following link to the NSW Health Website

Take Care to Give Care

For many of us the world is a state of uncertainty and change at the moment. For some of us this may have been more recent with the Corvid-19 crisis but others within our wildlife community have been living in a heightened state for many many months as a result of the bushfire crisis. It’s the latter for which my heart goes out strongly with a voice saying ‘you are not forgotten’.

The critical role of volunteers within the wildlife rehabilitation sector is challenging and supporting the physical, mental and emotional wellness of these volunteers is vital. Many wildlife volunteers are drawn to the role because they prioritise the needs of animals, but it’s important to also remember that taking care to give care, means you also care for yourself so that you can care for wildlife for longer.

Two Green Threads has prepared the Take Care to Give Care guide with the purpose of helping build resilience for individuals and the wildlife volunteer sector as a whole. It first took shape during an earlier crisis but the prompts and tips are relevant not just in current times of crisis but also when the world returns to normality and the service of wildlife volunteers continues to be needed.

This guide offers information and prompts to help wildlife volunteers balance their care of wildlife with care for themselves.

Follow the link to the Take Care to Give Care guide

Frequently asked questions about novel coronavirus (CoV)

Our volunteers in their wildlife work might like to follow some of these NSW Health recommendations when they are out and about in the community. 

A “no touch” policy and the social distancing recommendations might be the best ways to self-protect. 

This link covers a number of FAQ recommendations and scenarios that will guide volunteers in ways to avoid coming into contact with Covid-19 and what to do if they suspect contact with Covid-19.

DPIE – Wildlife and Conservation Bushfire Recovery Immediate -Response January 2020

The recent bushfires of late 2019 and early 2020 have had a devastating impact on our communities and our natural environment. Tragically, lives have been lost and thousands of homes have been destroyed or damaged, across the country. The bushfires have burned more than 5.3 million hectares in New South Wales, including more than 2.7 million hectares of our national park estate.

We are still determining the full magnitude of the damage, in terms of the extent and severity of the fires and the impacts on our wildlife and their natural habitats. Efforts continue to actively fight fires that are still burning in a number of areas of the state. Using state of the art aerial imagery, remote sensing and mapping techniques, our scientists are completing our understanding of the impacts the fires have had on our natural environment and what this means for recovery.

What we know is that many of our most vulnerable species have been heavily impacted as a result of the fires and now face threats from habitat loss, scarcity of food and water and predation by feral animals. While our assessment continues, we are undertaking essential recovery actions right now.

This document sets out the immediate actions we are taking to protect wildlife and support the natural recovery process that has already started in many areas. Our immediate response includes the deployment of watering stations, supplementary food drops, and broad-scale feral animal
control. We are also planning for the longer-term restoration and recovery of our native animals, plants and landscapes across New South Wales. We will continue to update our response as we improve our understanding of the impacts of the fires.

I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has contributed to the firefighting effort. In particular, I want to thank those volunteers who have selflessly contributed their time to protect others, often while their own properties were under threat, and the firefighting staff in my own portfolio, including in the National Parks and Wildlife Service, many of
whom are still fighting active fires.

Coming through a disaster is a time when our community unites. Many of us have been touched by the images of the tireless and heroic efforts of not only our firefighters, but also volunteers rescuing wildlife from fire grounds and providing care. These stories and images have contributed to
a groundswell of support and generosity from communities in New South Wales, Australia and internationally. This support will greatly assist in the rehabilitation of many injured animals and restoration of their habitat.

The Hon. Matthew Kean MP
Minister for Energy and Environment

Read the whole document.