Into September and seeing an almost never ending arrival of young, still pouch dependent
as well as a large number of out-of-pouch but still very dependent macropods found alone
as well as others suffering injuries after being found caught in fences. At the time of writing
[4th Sept] the only feathered patients in care are a clutch of Masked Lapwings, here almost 3
weeks arriving as newly hatched chicks. There have also been magpies as well as several
of the larger parrot species, all too badly injured to be saved.
There were several comments about the piece in Edition 62 about how changes to the
environment are impacting on birds. It’s a very interesting area to look into and always
needs to be considered when taking wildlife into care. There have also been queries
regarding birds nest building and courtship displays so I have included in this edition the list
of some of our common species and their breeding times first printed in Issue 53.
This will be the second last edition of The Wild Connection from me. It is way past time
someone younger and more energetic took over. Perhaps in the future I’ll have another go
but the brain is currently well and truly running on empty, barely sparking, probably brought
about by many sad occurrences during this year that have left me finally giving in to the need
to do other things. Time for me to be replaced I think. I remember the day way back in 1997
when I was asked to do Edition number 3 and a new Editor would be ready to take off with
Edition 4. I have worn the editor’s cap for 18 years and 61 Editions. If the new Editor
permits I would like to send in the occasional piece for publication.
Wildlife needing care have been a constant at home for 30 years, at the time of writing the
number arriving has almost reached 5000, if arrivals continue as they are at present we may
pass that milestone before Christmas.
I had quite a number of comments about the article on ‘illegal arrivals’. Since that edition
went out there have been several others arriving for care, all except one have survived and
will eventually be released. On arrival the non-surviving joey was suffering hypothermia –
the cold could be felt coming from deep within his body – he was also critically dehydrated
and had no muscle tone, nothing more than bones with a covering of tatty unkempt fur. he
was also laying in a large amount of his own stinking faeces. First thought was he’d been
found alone, mum probably killed several days earlier, the cold weather we were
experiencing at the time would certainly create the problems he was seen to be suffering
from. The joey was given a temporary clean up and placed into a clean pouch. A large
amount of fluid was given sub-cutaneously and he was placed on a soft heat pad and
covered with a heated blanket. The dry eyes were treated with a lubricant to ease his
discomfort. After an hour or two there was some movement, the ears were twitching and
following sounds. Maybe there is a chance I thought and maybe this one had just lost its
mum and been left alone even though the ‘poo’ was all wrong for a wild joey.
As I knelt beside the joey to feel the body I had one of those ‘moments’ and thought ‘I bet
he’s got parrot beak’ and sure enough there was the definitive proof this poor animal had
been kept in horrific care and for an amount of time I hate to think about. Long enough for
the jaw to become deformed so the lower jaw sat about 1cm shorter than it should, this
means the lower incisors don’t connect with the upper palate on the inner surface of the
cutting area of the upper incisors against the teeth enabling the animal to pull and cut
through tough grasses. When the molars have erupted the mouth won’t close as the upper
and lower molars meet together rather than top and bottom teeth alternating in the jaw this
prevents the jaw closing and once this stage has occurred there is nothing that can be done
to save an animal regardless of how successful we may be with the rehydrating, reheating
and nutrition. The molars of this joey had all erupted – clearly it was older than it appeared
to be – and the abnormal placement of teeth due to the shortened lower jaw meant it could not close its mouth and once again euthanasia was the only choice. Again, I ask all who
care about out beautiful creatures to constantly remind members of the public they are not
allowed to keep any species of wildlife, regardless of any license they may possess allowing
them to keep wildlife that has been legally purchased from a licensed breeder and dealer.
Wildlife found in the wild must be taken to a vet or authorised wildlife shelter operator. Also
any carer who is not familiar with a species that arrives for care, speak to another carer,
ensure you have the proper information to care for the species you have in care. Never be
afraid to ask a question, and never think a query you may have is stupid, we all only learn by
talking to others and we are always able to learn something new.