VISIT the home of Myaree vet student Meg Rodgers and you are as likely to come face-to-face with a kangaroo, bandicoot or possum as Miss Rodgers herself.
Winner of the People’s Choice gong at the Western Australian Volunteer of the Year Awards, Miss Rodgers’ passion for wildlife preservation took root at a young age.
“I’ve always had birds as pets and would take various hurt animals home and try and look after them and then release them back into the wild,” she said.
“When I finished high school I knew that I wanted to pursue a career in vet medicine and so I started volunteering at Native Arc to improve my skill set and also because I felt I could make a bigger impact there than just out of my back yard.”
In her fourth-year of veterinary science at Murdoch University, Miss Rodgers also volunteers as the macropod co-ordinator at Native Arc responsible for kangaroos and wallabies.
Many of the marsupials find their way to Miss Rodgers home, where she is able to provide the kind of round the clock care required when they are very young.
“When a mother kangaroo is hit by a car the baby in her pouch may survive but still has years of development before it can be released back into the wild,” she said.
“It’s very intensive looking after young macropods – sometimes you have to carry them around with you and they require bottle feeding every three or four hours.
“I actually just released one recently that I’ve had at home for a year. On average at any one time I’ll have between five and seven at home.”
Miss Rodgers also doubles as an infection control officer and helped raise more than $1000 to purchase a microscope for faster and more accurate diagnoses and treatment.
“We used to have to collect samples and send them offsite to be tested but now that we have the microscope and a couple of us are trained to interpret the slides the whole process is much faster,” she said.
In the final year of her degree, Miss Rodgers hopes to specialise as a wildlife vet working in centres around WA.