WIRES volunteers 'shocked' at impact of drought on animals

CARERS: Kerry McKenzie and Margaret Shaw encourage more people to join WIRES and experience the joy of releasing animals back into the wild.
CARERS: Kerry McKenzie and Margaret Shaw encourage more people to join WIRES and experience the joy of releasing animals back into the wild.

Two WIRES volunteers were shocked at how bad this season has been for wildlife.

Far South East branch treasurer Margaret Shaw said in terms of roadkill it was the worst she could remember. 

“It’s the drought,” she said.

“You’ve only got to drive to Canberra to see it. 

“It just breaks your heart, there’s hundreds of bodies.” 

The branch’s bird coordinator Kerry McKenzie said there was a lot of help needed to deal with the influx of animals, including joeys, due to the drought.

“A lot of animals come to the sides of the road, that’s about where the only green grass is,” she said.

“It’s been very, very sad.” 

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While there were about 45 members in the branch - which stretches from Dignams Creek to the Victorian border and west to Bemboka - it was not enough.

“We are desperate for new members at the moment,” Ms McKenzie said. 

The most common animals volunteers help include kangaroos, wombats, possums and kookaburras. An animal Ms McKenzie was caring for at home was a little eagle.  

There are rewards to being involved in the organisation. 

“The best part is being able to successfully release an animal back into the wild,” Ms McKenzie said. 

“It is quite a thrill,” Ms Shaw added. 

Ms McKenzie said birds and kangaroos have been known to return back to the homes where they were cared for, “as they remember where they were fed”, she laughed. 

Margaret Shaw and Kerry McKenzie with one of the new signs at Kisses Lagoon. The sign was sponsored by Bendigo Bank.

Margaret Shaw and Kerry McKenzie with one of the new signs at Kisses Lagoon. The sign was sponsored by Bendigo Bank.

Recently, Bendigo Bank sponsored the Far South East branch $600 for four metal signs that were installed at Kisses and Glebe Lagoons in Bega, educating people not to feed bread to the water birds as it made them sick and pollutes the water.

The WIRES volunteers said if you want to feed the water birds, you can take them peas, lettuce or other natural types of food. 

If you would like to join WIRES, visit www.wildlifetraining.org.au/training/home or email training@wires.org.au. 

There is an online course that needs to be completed as well as a one-day course, with the next one on September 15 in Bega. 

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