Wildlife advocate Simon Stretton with his dingo, Honey.
Wildlife advocate Simon Stretton with his dingo, Honey. Christian Berechree

Advocate calls on government to give the wildlife a chance

A WILDLIFE advocate has called for more government support to ensure injured wildlife have a greater chance of recovery.

Durong Dingo Sanctuary owner Simon Stretton wants legislation changes, recognition and financial support for wildlife carers who pay for vet bills out of their own pockets.

"I want to be able to create discussions to do better things for our wildlife,” he said.

"I'd like to see parliament put some legislation on the table for discussions.”

Currently there are many barriers for carers who often are unable to work full time due to the time and attention needed to care for the wildlife.

"The red tape is killing our wildlife,” Mr Stretton said.

"We have to answer to so many different departments for so many different animals.”

He recently filed an application to look after more dingoes so he could be prepared to assist if another wildlife sanctuary closes down.

The older dingoes, at the sanctuary proposed to close, had grown up at the Durong sanctuary.

The application was knocked back by Biosecurity Queensland.

Last year, a neighbour brought over a crow which was injured during the severe hail storm in October.

The crow recovered under Mr Stretton's care, but was unable to regain the strength to fly.

"It's happy and healthy, just unfortunately it can't fly up in a tree,” he said.

It is illegal to keep a crow as a pet, and as the crow cannot be released it must now either be taken to a carer with a rehabilitated wildlife permit or be euthanised.

Mr Stretton said he would not allow the bird to be killed because of legislation restrictions.

"It's all about conservation and preserving its life -if it breathes, it bleeds, whether it has feather or fur, I've got an obligation to look after it,” he said.

The dingo sanctuary now has more than 120 birds and other wildlife frequently visiting the property, compared to how quiet it was when the sanctuary opened 10 years ago.

Mr Stretton said he would often put out bird seed as drought conditions continued, and has cared for many different injured animals.

"All of this comes out of my pocket, we have to pay vet fees, jump through these hoops, who do these animals belong to?” he said.

"All wildlife carers do not get 1 cent from the Government in support for all the work they do, looking after wildlife.”

He suggested a system should be set up for vets to 'bulk-bill' the costs for injured wildlife.

"If people are brining in injured wildlife, why can't they be bulk-billed,” Mr Stretton said.

"Most vets won't operate on wildlife as they say 'oh and who will pay us?' so they just say 'we can euthanese it for you.'

South Burnett


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