Caring for animals not always easy
SLEEPING out in her swag on a freezing and possibly rainy New South Wales Sunday night, Kilkivan wildlife carer Anne-Marie Dineen will have plenty of time to ponder the cost of kindness.
Eight hours fuel and wear and tear on her car for a start.
Long distance delivery work is not normally one of her duties, but the fact is that people who find injured animals on the roadside often drive a considerable distance before they stop to call a wildlife volunteer.
Her "patient" is Moonbeam, a euro, or wallaroo (pictured with Ms Dineen far right), one of the four main types of kangaroo-like marsupials in Australia.
"They don't live up here, so I had to find a carer down where they do live so I can release her down there," Ms Dineen said yesterday.
"Ideally, if someone rescues a joey, they should not take it out of the area, but should ring the Wildlife Volunteers hotline numbers to find a local carer," she said.
And calling a local carer is how the baby redneck wallaby in our main picture came into her life.
"Recently a friend of mine was travelling to Cairns after calling in or an overnight visit to me at Oakview (near Kilkivan)," she said.
"As she was travelling on the Woolooga Rd, I asked her to keep an eye out for any animals that may have been hit by cars, as I get a lot of rescue calls in this area.
"Within an hour she called me to say she had come across a female redneck wallaby hit by a car and with a live joey in its pouch.
"At this stage ants were already eating the mother's body. Had my friend not stopped, this little joey would have had an agonising death."
Moonbeam's story is more complex. She was found by some young men driving north from Tamworth.
"One cared for it until they dropped it off at Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital and they rang me," Ms Dineen said.
The local number for Wildlife Volunteers (WILVOS) is 5441 6200.
The RSPCA, on 1300 264 265 can put you in touch with a local carer.