WIRES is 35 Years Young in Caring for our Native Wildlife
Wildlife Rescue organisation WIRES turns 35 this year, with countless volunteers looking after wildlife across the Eastern Suburbs.
The efforts of local WIRES volunteers have been recognised through the Waverley Council Local Hero awards with volunteer Belinda Head winning the Community Volunteer award and WIRES East Branch winning the Working Together award.
One WIRES volunteer, Natalie Green, has spent 30 years as a social worker and is proud of the work volunteers do to care for the local wildlife community.
“Like a lot of volunteer organisations, we have hundreds of members but only a small number are active. A minority of people do 80% of the work and a most of that care is done in people’s homes,” Ms Green told The Beast.
Volunteers undergo basic training in animal rescue and handling. This then equips them to respond to callouts from the local area that are distributed by the WIRES head office.
WIRES volunteers were heroes in the bushfire recovery efforts of 2020 and continue to do important work in urban areas.
The Eastern Suburbs is home to over 50 native wildlife species including birds, possums, bats, reptiles, turtles, and vulnerable species such as the grey-headed flying fox.
Native wildlife are protected species, and it is actually against the law to harm them or remove them from their territory (including trees in backyards!).
Eliana Leopold WIRES East Branch chair told The Beast that the Eastern Suburbs is always a busy area for wildlife rescue.
“This year alone, we have rescued nearly 1,500 animals! Ringtail possums and lorikeets are the most highly rescued animals by far. The key rescue hot spots are Randwick, Maroubra, Coogee, Rose Bay and Bondi,” she told The Beast.
Ms Green believes that caring for the wildlife that lives alongside Eastern Suburbs residents is not only a responsibility but great for mental health.
“What I know about mental health is that connecting with your environment is such an important step in recovery. Poor mental health can be such an isolating journey but connecting with your environment and caring for it is so soothing to the soul,” Ms Green explained.
The work of volunteers ranges from collecting injured wildlife to collecting cuttings from native trees to provide food. They also ensure all wildlife is released from where it was found to give them the best chance of survival after an injury.
Both Ms Green and Ms Leopold believe all residents can support local wildlife by planting possum friendly trees such as Lilli Pillis or flowering gums and creating safe spaces for wildlife.
While some people may feel reluctant to try and attract possums that are often seen as pests, providing adequate natural habitat for them makes it less likely that they will make their homes in urban roofs.
Residents can also support the work of WIRES by donating or volunteering their time to care for injured wildlife.
“We are always on the lookout for more people to join our branch. There are a range of activities that you can help with whether that be rescue, care, transport, repairs, releases or, better still if you have skills that you think would be useful, let us know!” Ms Leopold told The Beast.
If you spot injured wildlife anywhere in NSW please call 13 000 WIRES.