Colosoul recently joined up with animal lover Aleisha Caruso from “Extinction Sucks” to deliver urgently needed medical supplies to the animal victims of the Lake Clifton fires in Western Australia.
There were a number of kangaroos, possums and joeys badly affected. They are often the forgotten victims of a bush fire; however, the injured animals left behind in the Lake Clifton fires were the first priority of Mandurah Wildlife Rescue workers Dot Terry-Bos and her husband Reini Bos. The animals are being treated and cared for, with the ultimate goal of rehabilitating and releasing them back into their natural environment. On the day animal lover Aleisha Caruso joined the rescue workers, a kangaroo named “Hope” arrived. She was very badly burnt and had to have her paw amputated due to the rotten flesh being eaten away by hundreds of maggots. Hopes teeth were black and stained with charcoal which would have been the only food source available whilst she was stuck in the fire, two weeks prior to being rescued.
The bushfire tore through more than 1600 hectares, which included residential properties and natural reserve, from Lake Clifton to south of Herron, about 100 kilometres south of Perth. The area was thick with animals and hundreds of them are thought to have died.
A number of kangaroos had to be destroyed because their burns were too severe. Mandurah Wildlife Rescue Centre worker Ms Terry-Bos who has been a wildlife carer for forty years, said she had never been involved in a fire “of this scale” and felt “very angry” towards the arsonists responsible.
1. How many animals have been bought into the hospital affected by the bush fires?
We have had 9 animals bought in from the lake Clifton fires. We have received 2 adult female kangaroos and 2 joeys, all for having severe burns to their feet. We have received 5 possums with severe burns to whole body and all 4 of their feet are in extremely bad condition. Unfortunately we were unable to save 2 of the possums. 1 had to be euthanized and the other passed away in its sleep.
2. What kind of treatment do the animals need?
All the animals that have been bought into us have been receiving antibiotics, anti inflammatory, dressing changed daily and flamizine burn cream only available from the vet. To dress each animal in our centre it takes a total of 4 hours and is very time consuming. It is fiddly work but well worth it when you can see the difference we are making to these beautiful animals that are in need of our help.
3. Do you expect more animals to come in?
The phone calls we have received recently are mainly people enquiring about what to do with the remaining animals out in the bush. Questions such as “do we put feed and water out for them?” have been asked as some people are unsure if they will be interfering with nature and its ways. We have been encouraging them all to buy and put out Skippy mix and lots of water for the remaining uninjured wildlife. I don’t feel as though we will receive anymore burns victims into the hospital now as infection sets in pretty much straight away. If it hasn’t been bought in yet, then infection will have beaten them unfortunately.
4. Do they require around the clock care?
They most certainly do require around the clock care, not only do we treat them each day but we also have to watch for signs of secondary infections, dehydration, whether they are eating all them sorts of things that no one really thinks of when they just read an article about a burnt roo.
5. How are the injured animals progressing?
2 of the remaining possums are down to no bandages and the other one has 1 foot bandaged and all of them are doing fine, eating well and drinking well. The 2 smaller joeys are doing well also and have just started to eat solid food which we were beginning to worry about as solid food keeps all the organs alive and well. 1 of them is down to 1 bandage on 1 leg and that is becoming smaller and smaller each day which is really exciting.
The other has won the hearts of all the volunteers here as he was extremely wild when he was bought in and now is the most lovable guy ever hence the reason we named him “Romeo”. He still has 1 very badly injured leg. Romeo has daily exercise so his muscles will not seize up he is getting around really well so that is a positive sign. Our adult roo was named today and her name is Faith, she is doing extremely well and has new pad re growth coming through which is really fantastic to see. Faith never stops eating and drinking so is very healthy. As for Hope, keep reading…
6. How is Hope the Kangaroo coming along?
Hope is very touch and go we are keeping a very close on her and pray for her every night, She has just started to nibble on some food but still not enough to fill her completely she is looking very skinny and lethargic. She is our main concern here at the hospital at the moment. We have began tube feeding her baby food (farex), in this we also combine glucose and rehydrating liquid, this is all while she is under anaesthetic. Hopes dressings are changed and a bag of fluid is given to her intravenously. So as for Hope we really do HOPE she pulls through. She is a fighter which is why I think she has hung on for so long.
7. Do you think she will make a full recovery?
This is extremely hard to answer right at this point but we certainly hope so.
If you would like to donate to the Mandurah Wildlife Rescue Centre or find out further information on the work they do, please call 9586 3166 or visit the website at www.mandurahwildlife.com.au.
By Phillipa Tollit