Malaga animal rescuer struggles to function

Native Animal Rescue’s Deborah Russell and Sara Turner. Picture: David Baylis www.communitypix.com.au d447320
Native Animal Rescue’s Deborah Russell and Sara Turner. Picture: David Baylis www.communitypix.com.au d447320

NATIVE Animal Rescue (NAR) has been forced to stop taking in animals for the first time since being founded in 1982 because of a lack of finance and volunteers.

President Deborah Russell, who has volunteered at the Malaga-based animal rescue for four years, said NAR had closed animal admissions for about a month, something it had never had to do.

“We have the facilities and the room for more animals but we are lacking the volunteers and the finances to look after them,” she said.

Ms Russell said if NAR was forced to close permanently it would mean a “massive overload” for other rescuers in the northern suburbs.

“Although there are individual carers and networks of carers that service the northern suburbs, NAR is the only large organisation in this area,” she said.

Run by volunteers, the organisation was established to care for, rehabilitate and release sick, injured, orphaned and displaced native animals and birds.

With its base located on 15ha of natural bush, NAR volunteers have cared for more than 3000 native birds and animals in need each year, including kangaroos, possums, woylies, bandicoots, echidnas and native reptiles and birds.

Ms Russell said there were 175 animals in NAR volunteers’ care currently. with recent rescues including baby birds such as magpies, wattlebirds, ravens, ducklings, kooka-burras, magpie larks and ring-necked parrots.

“During spring we have an influx of baby birds and when a baby bird begins to grow its feathers and move around in the nest they often fall from the nest, this is perfectly normal,” Ms Russell said.

“The parents will continue to feed and tend to the baby while it is on the ground and unfortunately the bird can often seem distressed in between feeding sessions.

“During this time a well meaning member of the public may see the bird and bring it to us thinking they are saving it from harm.

“Once this has been done it is very difficult to return the bird back to where it came from and its parents.”

Ms Russell said a baby bird would then stay at the shelter costing about $10 a day for up to three months before it could be released.

“That’s approximately $850 per baby bird that is brought to us and for an organisation that runs off donations and sponsorship this is simply not a cost we can afford,” she said.

“As some birds (such as magpies) are territorial they are very difficult to release and it takes further resources to make successful release possible.”

Ms Russell is calling for volunteers to help care for, rehabilitate and release sick, injured, orphaned and displaced native animals and birds.

She said with NAR having to close its doors to animal admissions, volunteers were working hard to keep their services going.

A garage sale was planned as well as an educational outreach program to schools and businesses and running a sponsorship program with the educational animals.

Ms Russell said NAR needed donations of out of date fruit and vegetables and pet feeds from local residents and businesses.

“We are looking for new members and volunteers and would love to hear from anyone interested in joining us and also from businesses who may like to work with us to secure the future of NAR and the native animals and birds who need our help,” she said.

For more information, visit www.facebook.com/nativeanimalrescuewa or nativeanimalrescue.org.au.

WHAT TO DO IF YOU FIND INJURED WILDLIFE

An influx of animals admitted to NAR led Ms Russell to share advice on how to care for injured animals and birds.

Ms Russell said wildlife should be placed in a quiet, safe place away from children, television, dogs and cats.

“Stress can kill wildlife if over handled, especially baby animals. Don’t feed or give liquids to wildlife. Towels or sheets used to throw over birds or possums may help prevent injury to you and the animal,” she said.

Ms Russell said people helping animals should always be mindful of their own safety.

“Beware of sharp talons on hawks or owls, being bitten by parrots or lizards, sharp beaks stabbing at your eyes, clawing and bites from possums, adult wild kangaroos and emus can inflict serious injury and should be approached with extreme caution,” she said.

“Take wildlife to your nearest vet. Once they have stabilised the animal and given first aid they will call us to pick up the animal for rehabilitation.”

Call NAR on 9249 3434 or Wildcare helpline on 9474 9055.