HARD TO STOMACH: A Gympie wildlife rescue worker has opened up about the heartbreak behind dealing with tragedy on local roadsides.
HARD TO STOMACH: A Gympie wildlife rescue worker has opened up about the heartbreak behind dealing with tragedy on local roadsides. Contributed

'Our wildlife is in trouble' - Gympie rescuer speaks out

WARNING: Graphic images

 

A GYMPIE wildlife carer has detailed the harrowing experiences behind tending to injured and dying animals on local roadsides.

After RSPCA Queensland announced there had been "almost 100" injured animal calls placed to the region in June and July, Gympie Wildlife Rescue Inc. President Tracey West described the "horrible" reality of seeing road-struck animals in pain and distress.

"We've had around 10 callouts (in the region) in the last week for kangaroos, wallabies and possums, and they're mostly for car strikes," Ms West said.

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This road-struck koala died from critical injuries after Tracey rushed it to Australia Zoo in the middle of the night.
This road-struck koala died from critical injuries after Tracey rushed it to Australia Zoo in the middle of the night. Contributed

"It comes down partly to the dry, the animals come closer to the roads because the grass is greener, but it's also because all the land clearing and infrastructure works are narrowing their habitats.

"You come across animals who are in so much pain and so frightened you have to physically get on top of them to hold them still and euthanise them.

"Recently we had to euthanise a red-necked wallaby on Pedersen Rd who had been hit by a car, had a broken back and legs smashed.

"It's hard to stomach, and it's happening everywhere, not just here."

Ms West's passion for wildlife began even before she raised her first joey 28 years ago, and has continued throughout her leadership role with 25 fully qualified and licensed animal rescue workers in the organisation.

Ms West said drivers who hit wildlife needed to be aware of the consequences.

"A lot of people hit animals and just keep driving," she said.

"They don't see the impact, they don't see the pain it causes the animals and the people who treat them."

A spokeswoman for Gympie Regional Council said its Environment Levy Community Grants program "supports not-for-profit community groups who work toward the preservation of both habitat and wildlife within our region".

The spokeswoman said $180k in funding remains available for this year until applications close on August 9.

Council funded five local land and wildlife protection groups in the 2017-18 financial year.

Ms West said GWR would be interested in working with council in future.

 

These harrowing scenes are what workers from Gympie Wildlife Rescue Inc. deal with every week.
These harrowing scenes are what workers from Gympie Wildlife Rescue Inc. deal with every week. Contributed

Call the RSCPA hotline on 1300 ANIMAL or GWR on 54823508 to report injured wildlife in the Gympie region, and view council's full statement on our website.

Full Gympie Regional Council Statement

How does Council support environment and wildlife protection in the Gympie region?

Council's annual Environment Levy Community Grants program supports not-for-profit community groups who work toward the preservation of both habitat and wildlife within our region. In 2018, $180k in funding is available; with applications currently open until 9 August 2018.

This funding aims to provide financial support to local environmental projects, such as the protection of native species, wildlife rehabilitation and land management activities.

In 2017-2018 financial year Council provided funding to five local groups undertaking voluntary land and wildlife protection work across the Gympie region.

How does Council's Environment Strategy play a part in the protection of wildlife in the Gympie region?

Council's Environment Strategy (2018-2023) and outlines actions for Council to support community in stewarding the ongoing preservation of our region's natural assets, including wildlife populations.

Some of these actions include:

- Identifying and prioritising environmentally-significant properties in Council ownership and preparing property management plans for these properties, which will support all wildlife (not only threatened species).

- Identifying a list of priority local species. Council are currently planning an awareness campaign which will promote these species to the wider community.  

- Creating a local Koala Conservation Management Plan for the Gympie region.

- Encouraging the use of a contracted wildlife spotter/catcher to be on-site during Council land works (such as clearing).  

- Undertaking a study to identify pinch points in the region where native wildlife are at high risk of conflict with vehicles when crossing the road .

- Researching options to re-introduce a sustainable 'Land for Wildlife' program, which would encourage land owners to establish conserve habitat on their land.

- Supporting and working closely with the University of the Sunshine Coast to undertake koala research in the local area.

- Finalising and implementing a flying-fox management plan.

- Collaborating with Department of Transport and Main Roads to achieve environmental offsets as a result of the Bruce Highway upgrade (which is home to several threatened species).  

How does Council direct residents when receiving 'wildlife help' calls?

If a resident spots or collects injured wildlife in the region, Council recommends residents' call the RSPCA hotline (1300 ANIMAL) or a local vet. RSCPA are the lead agency both locally and State-wide for injured wildlife.

Council are working on several projects to ensure wildlife protection in the Gympie region is sustainable and effective. Council recently engaged an independent consultant to review Council's current environment frameworks and processes and their effectiveness on local species.

This work is in draft, however will be presented to Council later in 2018 and made public thereafter.

Council is also working on an educational 'Top ten most at risk threatened species in the region' campaign, which will provide more information to residents on local threatened wildlife and contributing factors to their decline.

To find out more about Council's Environment Strategy, Koala Management Plan or to lodge an application for an environment levy, please visit Council's website: gympie.qld.gov.au.

Gympie Times


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