From Our Reptile Coordinator
The group is holding a couple of Jungle Pythons awaiting Office of Environment and Heritage to find licensed reptile keepers that will take on these animals as they are not a local species and were kept as pets. The first one came to our attention through a member of the public observing a man looking suspicious with a pillow slip near bushland just about to release the python. The other was found in someone’s shed looking for a warm spot. In both instances the people who rang our hotline to report it were fully aware that the two pythons were either not local or not in the ideal situation and hence we were alerted to the fact.
Lloydy TVWC’s carpet python is still awaiting his new, more spacious home. He has outgrown the reptile enclosure that I currently house him in. This whole procedure has taken way too long so I hope the transfer happens sooner rather than later for Lloydy’s sake, he deserves it. One of our very popular members and snake handler, Rob Brown has not been available recently due to a back issue. Certainly miss him in transporting, rescuing. Good luck Rob and a swift recovery! Thank you to all the snake handlers and reptile carers for your work over the last financial year. Cheers Sue
From Our Bat Coordinator
What an interesting year to be involved in caring for bats. This year has seen unprecedented environmental circumstances that proved to be chaos for groups north and south of us. With the starvation of flying foxes in the spring when our baby season began, to the highest of soaring temperatures in the summer.
Somehow, the Tweed escaped on both counts, though it was touch and go with Tyalgum colony succumbing to the high temperatures. Though not needed on the day thankfully, our trained members came together and went through the procedures for the event. It was good to see such support from our group. Thank you to all involved that answered the call on that very hot day.
We approximately had eleven babies for the year which even for us is very low but did come as a relief as carer numbers had diminished. This year has seen four new bat rescuers come on board which hopefully will be fully trained by spring. This was also the first year that micro bats coming into care outnumbered flying foxes, mainly due to heat stress, overhead fans and pet attacks. Thanks to Julie Firkins who took on the challenge to care for our micro bats, armed with very little knowledge to care for them initially, but thrown in the deep end and learning as she went. One even had a baby in care.
Among the micro bats that came into care, came a few of the not so common species, like the Blossom Bat and Tube Nose Bat
The Luckiest Pelican in the Tweed
During a massive downfall of rain, strong winds, high tides, and rough seas, I received a call from Pottsville South Holiday Park informing me of the life threatening injury to the Pelican in the photo.
On arrival at the park there was a crowd of people watching a badly bleeding Pelican standing with others on the sand. Horrified, I looked for the cause of the injury while deciding on the fastest way to rescue the bird.
It was late afternoon; the tide was rushing in and beach sand being washed over by waves. As soon as the bird sighted me with a bucket and rescue gear, he decided to evacuate the area and promptly paddled upstream under Pottsville Bridge and was gone.
One park resident approached me to recall what he had witnessed. The Pelican had somehow swallowed a massive and dying flathead which had broken up inside the bird’s throat and oesophagus. As the bird tried in vain to regurgitate it, the broken fish with massive jaw bones and spikes ripped apart the Pelican’s throat opening a neck wound that would have been fatal. For the next week I continued trying to rescue the bird with little let-up in the inclement weather conditions prevailing.
All week I tried to lure the Pelican. All week the rain poured and the wind howled. Pottsville Estuary and Mooball Creek flooded. One week later the bird had vanished from the estuary and I considered that the worst had happened given the extent of the injuries. I concluded the bird had died and had been washed out during the flood.
No further calls came from the Holiday Park and I had given up hope.
Eleven days later, I was at Pottsville Estuary checking the remaining Pelicans and to my surprise there stood the bird with the extreme injury! He was very thin and badly seeking fish from anyone who had fish bait or a live fish capture.
To avoid starvation the bird had probably relied on a supply of very small bait sized pilchards which breed in sea grass.
Shaking I ran to my car for a bucket of newly thawed mullet which Pelicans love! Setting up the rescue noose near the fish-cutting table was easy but the rescue was not! He kept walking around my carefully camouflaged noose, grabbed the fish in his beak and made out into the water. The problem was that as soon as the Pelican swallowed the mullet, it slipped out through the wound at the side of his neck. What a horror story unfolding!
I tried for an hour to get him to stand or walk through the rescue noose to no avail. As the tide was receding I noticed some water pools trapped on the beach and headed to one to set the noose up underwater.The Pelican kept returning for more fish as he could not entirely swallow anything. No fish was entering his stomach. He was indeed starving! Trickery proved to be the only way to catch the bird. I waited until he waded through the water to reach the thrown fish. Pulling the underwater noose and feeling the tug of Pelican leg in it gave me an enormous sense of relief as I knew he was rescued!
Time was getting on to late afternoon so I called up Currumbin Wildlife Hospital to let them know what had happened to the Pelican and that I was driving as fast as I could to get there before five pm. Vet on duty, Andrew Hill came to meet me at the gate. Andrew is the Vet holding the bird in the photo. I will not even describe the feelings that I guessed the Vet must have experienced as he examined the nature of the injury! It is with heartfelt thanks to Andrew Hill and the Vet Nurses at Currumbin Wildlife Hospital that their efforts succeeded
in the release of this Pelican. Andrew spent hours after the time he should have gone home, to stitch the Pelican up and treat him for shock.
On the 15/9/14 Andrew Hill considered the bird fit for release. I transported him to Pottsville Estuary and marked his wing with a number so that other people would know he had been rescued. I sighted the Pelican still going strong in the Mooball Creek only last week (Nov. 2014).
Mary Grant Tweed Valley Wildlife Carers Seabird Rescue
Greatest Thanks to Andrew Hill and long live the luckiest Pelican in the Tweed!
From Our Macropod Coordinator
Well another year has passed as coordinator. Joey numbers coming into care this year were down from last year. Four of our joeys were sent to Northern Rivers for release, including one Pademelon and three Red-necked Wallabies. There were a few joeys that came into care this year that had to be taken back to other groups for release, due to being removed from their original location. These included a Common Wallaroo being transported back to Guyra where I met the macropod coordinator of the Northern Tablelands Wildlife group and was able to check out her facilities. Recently Nadine and I travelled to Cougal for the transfer of two Red-necked Wallabies to a Northern Rivers carer and to Canungra for the transfer of a Pademelon joey that a member of the public rescued from Queensland and brought to our area. These trips have enabled us to see other groups’ facilities and to also meet some gorgeous joeys.
Euthanasia of adult animals is constantly a difficult part of the job and I am grateful to Max Walker for his assistance when available with these matters. This year, we were able to seek the assistance of Karen Scott, President of Wildcare in Queensland, with the darting of an adult kangaroo in Tweed Heads. After three days of waiting for the right opportunity to capture this large fellow, it all went down smoothly. Ron Potter, Robert Brown and I were fortunate enough to assist Karen in the darting and capture of this poor animal which was taken to Currumbin for euthanasia unfortunately. We all learned a lot that day. My thanks to my offsider, Nadine Maddecks for her constant support and caring for the younger joeys this year when I couldn’t. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Jane Perston, Jenny Graham, Robyn Gommers and Julie Firkins for taking up the challenge to care for some our offspring this year even if it was only for a few days. A big thank you to Ron Potter and Robert Brown who continually have offered their support in assisting with rescues in the Tweed Heads area. Could not have done it this year without you all.