Wildlife Warriors and Everyday Heroes
For every act of evil in the world there are one million acts of kindness. Trust me, there is. The only reason you don't see that is simply because good news don't travel as fast, and we tend to pay more attention to that which threatens our very existence... it's a survival mechanism.
You see, the world is filled with everyday heroes, those who every single day make our world a little brighter. The Japanese have a word for this; "intoku", meaning good done in silence. These people couldn't care less about money, media attention or "likes". They do what they do because it is the right thing to do. They do it because it matters.
The planet does not need more 'successful people'. The planet desperately needs more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers and lovers of all kinds”.
Located off one of the busiest roads in Brisbane is Kerrys Wildlife Rescue and Care Centre, a typical Queenslander home on the outside, on the inside however... it's anything but. This is the home of Kerry and Ross, two retirees who for many years have been sharing their home with orphaned baby kangaroos and possums. A few weeks ago we had the pleasure of visiting their centre and learning more about this remarkable couple.
Kerry, who has been a wildlife carer for over 30 years, is on call 24/7 and doesn't leave the house without her possums, unless she gets a call for a wildlife pickup of course. "These are not boobs", she jokes with my children, as she lifts a pouch containing a baby possum out of her jumper. "As they no longer have their mother, they need to be kept warm", she says with a smile. The ones she's not wearing inside her jumper, are all tucked up snug in their pouches on heated pads. In between showing us how to feed and toilet the possums, Kerry shares with us the story of when she once got into trouble with the shopping centre security, for bringing her possums to the shops. One of the babies had tried to crawl out of the pouch and Kerry had to tuck it back in. This incident was of course caught on camera and the security guards instantly accused her of shoplifting! "That was before I started putting hair ties on the pouches", she says laughing!
"I've been a wildlife carer for over 30 years"
Kerry is full of stories like this one, and that is the way she shares her knowledge and captivates the attention of even the youngest listeners. In person both Kerry and Ross offer a very hand-on approach to teaching people of all ages how to care for our wildlife. They focus heavily on the importance of inspiring children to become 'Junior Joeys', so that the next generations can keep up the great work Kerry and Ross started many years ago.
Their level passion and of commitment contagious and inspiring. What could ever be more important than rescueing injured wildlife and educating children about how to care for nature?!
WARMTH, QUIET and FLUIDS
Many people try to rescue wildlife without any knowledge of how to safely do it. This has resulted in many animals coming to the rescue centre severly dehydrated and close to dying. Kerry explains that there are a few steps that needs to be taken into consideration when you find injured wildlife.
Check if there is a baby in the pouch and if you find one, take the mum and the baby to the vet, or cut the teat off before you take the baby. Never take a baby out of its pouch if the mother has died, the pulling force can cause the roof of the mouth to collapse and the baby will die. Once the baby is safely removed, wrap it up warmly.
Kangaroos should never be given cows milk as they are lactose intolerant and will get very sick. Pictured below is the milk they buy for their animals but as they grow they eat a lot of leaves, fruit and vegetables. For their possums they buy a special goats milk from a local farmer.
Caring for wildlife is like caring for newborn babies, they require 24hour care and needs to be with you at all times. Ross explains that 'Woody' (the Eastern Grey Kangaroo in the photos) is so attached to him that he doesn't leave his side all day. He won't let anyone else feed him either, not even Kerry. "They are not pets and they will be released back into the wild" Ross explains. Woody has already found a new home on the Sunshine Coast, he sadly left his 'daddy' last week.
"We release the kangaroos before they get too big, as driving with a big kangaroo jumping around in the car is not ideal" Ross says with a smile, it sounds like he is speaking from experience.
"We need more junior joeys to continue our legacy"
Kerry explains to me how important it is that the general public knows how to look after injured wildlife, and that the best way to do that is by educating children. You can visit the wildlife centre yourself, or organise a fundraiser at your local kindy or school and invite Kerry and Ross to come along with a couple of babies.
They are always in need of fleece pouches to keep the animals warm, so if you can sew, volunteer to make some! For food donations contact Kerry and Ross before, to make sure you know what to get. Being as passionate as they are, most of their pension goes towards feeding the animals, but they have recently started a crowdfunding campaign which you can donate to here. For any more information or questions you can visit their website or contact them via facebook.
Oh, and don't forget to keep your pet dogs and cats inside during nighttime, it helps keep our wildlife safe!