At-risk animals find a caring home with wildlife carer
HUNDREDS of possums have wildlife carer Robyn Cox to thank for their survival.
In the 12 years Robyn has volunteered with Wildcare Australia on the Gold Coast, she has rescued and cared for about 700 possums.
It’s not a job for the fainthearted, she stresses, with three-hourly feeds the norm for up to eight weeks when caring for young possums.
"It is a huge commitment," Robyn said.
"I go out anytime, all over the Gold Coast, and do a rescue.
"I’ve got to get leaf most days to feed the animals.
"Greg my husband makes all my boxes and cages, and puts them up for me.
"He’ll get leaf on the way home from work.
"I couldn’t do it without him."
Facing rampant development on the Gold Coast, wildlife are at risk because of cars, cats, dogs, stress and habitat destruction.
"We’re losing a lot of the environment through development so they’ve got no place to live and they’re stressed out. They fight over the reduced area they live in," Robyn said.
She also volunteers with the Australian Bat Clinic and Wildlife Trauma Centre based at Advancetown in the Gold Coast hinterland.
"I just wanted to help the environment and wildlife," she said.
"It’s my hobby. You’ve just got to have a passion for loving an animal.
"You have to have a permit to take a native animal.
"You have to keep up your training to keep a permit.
"Once you join Wildcare, all the courses are free, about looking after different animals, from beginner to advanced.
"They give you a lot of support."
Currumbin Wildlife Hospital and local vets treat wildlife that’s sick or injured.
Robyn chose possums as her main focus because they’re hard to look after.
"Ringtails have to be raised as a group; brushtails are solitary," she said.
The area covered by Wildcare is from Gympie south to the New South Wales border and from the Gold Coast west to the Toowoomba range.
The intention is always to return native wildlife to the wild.
The group is always looking for volunteers, not only to care for animals, but also to do rescues, deliver animals to vets, answer the emergency phone, assist with publicity and fundraising, data entry, sew, make cages and nest boxes, and other tasks.
For all wildlife emergencies on the Gold Coast, phone Wildcare on 07 5527 2444. This service operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.