Monday, 4 April 2016



                                                Taking the wild out of wildlife

The morning is autumn, fresh and cool but promising a warm sunny day. All seems well in the world, until a scream tears a hole in the peaceful morning silence. Until a car driving through the forest hits a kangaroo and leaves it, with its joey still in its pouch, lying on the side of the road. The driver, either in a hurry or not caring, or plainly bereft of any feeling, drives on.

Meanwhile the kangaroo and its joey unable to move are discovered by a couple of people, more caring who, on a morning walk along the track, find the kangaroo and desperately want to help. However, since they are from the city and just do not know what to do in such an event, are at a loss of how to deal with it. Having only just passed my house they decide to knock on my door and ask me for advice. Luckily I am home and I know exactly what to do. I call the guardian angels John and Gail, the loving spirits of the local wild life shelter.

Besides acting as doctors for many animals, they are also the ambulance service to collect them, from wherever they are found, plus caring nurses during the time the animals are at their care. Plus more, so much more.

Soon after I call, John arrives and after having examined the damage and sedated the kangaroo places her in his car and takes her home. Here he and his partner Gail will mend the damage and nurse her back to health, after which they’ll release her back into the forest. This is a day and night commitment of being present to collect, give first aid, nurse and care for their charges.

It is here, tucked away in the wombat forest, that John Rowdon and Gail Chappel, both environmental scientists, practice their particular concept of love for animals. Besides the kangaroos, which are the most represented, there are all sorts of animals in need of care. Their place is a veritable zoo. including a variety of birds, wombats, koalas, they even have an emu. Plus a  variety of reptiles.

John and Gail, work, or should I say slave, away and practice compassion and empathy by creating a healing and gentle-life in their wild-life shelter. With much love and even more patience they have worked away for many years to look after wild life which has been damaged by fencing, by cars and more and more by dogs.

During one year, for instance, they responded to 700 calls. There were 140 kangaroos, 32 wallabies, 30 wombats, 32 possums, 5 gliders, 23 koalas, 152 birds, 5 lizards, 3 echidnas, 11 micro bats, plus 1 phascogale. Of those animals 82 were euthanized due to their injuries and 76 died. 276 made it back into the wild.

This number of animals needing care has greatly increased today due to the drought. The animals come closer to where people live, and to the roads on the side of which they like to graze due to the availability of native grasses there, which they favour.

All this begs the question; how do they raise the funds to carry on their remarkable work. The shelter is in need of food, medicines, bandages, potions, syringes and blankets and probably many more costs that I do not know about.

So dear readers let’s get together on this project. If you, just once a week for three weeks, give up a cup of coffee and donate the money thus saved, you would be able to donate $10.00 (tax deductible) per month. Their project is titled WILD500. Because they need 500 people to partake to keep their work alive, which at the moment is mainly funded by the occasional donations and their credit card. And frankly, they deserve better.

This is the info you need to donate to WILD500. Please do it. Contact your bank and direct debit $10.00 per month from your account into the direct deposit at the Bendigo bank. BSB 633-000, Account 148 1 19613, and you can be assured that you are saving precious wild life without you having to lift a finger.

I have signed up to this, I hope you will too.


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