Help native animals
By BIANCA CLARE
LLYRIS Wood is a firm believer in second chances.
As a volunteer for WIRES, Ms Wood has given more than 1000 injured and orphaned animals on the Coffs Coast a new lease on life since she became involved with the organisation eight years ago.
"The magic of WIRES is that, after the rescuing and rehabilitating process, we can release the animals back into their natural habitat where they can start over again," Ms Wood said.
To recognise the problems faced every day by wildlife, the WIRES Wildlife Awareness Month campaign this July urges the community to work constructively to protect native animals.
"Too often our work is spent rescuing, rehabilitating and releasing animals which means we rarely get the chance to campaign and educate the public on the issues facing animals and their natural habitats," she said.
"Many species are unique to this country and we must work together to provide these precious animals with a safe future."
WIRES estimates about 7000 animals are killed by motor vehicles on NSW roads each day.
"It's important that at dusk or dawn, or in areas where signs indicate high levels of wildlife, drivers slow down," she said.
"If you do run over an animal or find an injured one in your travels the best thing to do is to place a towel over the animal, put it into a box and leave it in a dark quiet place until a member of WIRES is able to collect it."
Ms Wood added that feeding an injured or distressed animal is not recommended, as certain animals are lactose intolerant and have special dietary requirements.
During Wildlife Awareness Month it is hoped Australians will develop a true passion and pride in protecting and caring for native birds and fauna.
Ms Wood says one way to help WIRES is to become a carer by completing a training course.
"Once you have successfully completed the course you will be issued with a licence by WIRES to rescue and care for wildlife. All new members are buddied up with a more experienced carer who can offer you advice and encouragement."
Lynn Gow answered the call for WIRES volunteers three years ago.
She has looked after more than 400 animals over the years including her current resident, a young joey affectionately called Daisy.
"Her mum was killed by a car in Bellingen," Ms Gow said.
"I'll look after her by keeping her warm in her hospital bed, which is set at 32 degress, and feeding her every four hours until she grows fur .
"It's not glamorous, especially the midnight feeds, but there is nothing like the feeling of knowing you're involved in the rehabilitating of an animal."
Ms Wood says if you haven't got the time or don't want to foster wild- life, there are many other ways you can get involved in WIRES.
You might want to answer the phone, collect injured animals, make a donation or help with fundraising.
"WIRES is the largest wildlife rescue charity in Australia and is a non-profit, non-government organisation and only receives minimal funding," Ms Wood said.
"We have to raise 90 per cent of the needed funds through public donations.
"The money we do raise goes straight towards build- ing macropod release pens and aviaries, subsidising animal food and administration costs."
Coffs Coast residents can help support WIRES by putting a collar with bells on their pet to warn birds of a stalking cat or dog, keeping pets inside at night, putting rubbish in a bin and keeping the lid on, and choosing plants for your garden such as eucalyptus and lemon-scented gums that provide food for possums.
Help WIRES by calling 1800 641 188 or go to www.wires.org.au