22 May 2023

Funding boost makes wildlife group LAOKO better equipped to care for critters in need

| Gail Eastaway
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Rescued wombats

Wildlife rescue group LAOKO has received a grant to create portable panels to contain rescued animals such as these wombats. Photo: LAOKO.

Snowy Mountains wildlife rescue group Looking After Our Kosciuszko Orphans (LAOKO) has received another grant to help run its vital program.

LAOKO president Lisa Petroff said the group was excited to have been awarded the grant from the Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife (FNPW) under its Wildlife Heroes Program.

“The purpose is to enable NSW volunteer wildlife rehabilitation groups and independents to acquire, build, repair or upgrade medium to large assets for use in wildlife rehabilitation,” Ms Petroff said.

“Our grant will be used for portable enclosures which will allow us to continue to provide specialised care for sick and injured native wildlife.

“Having portable enclosures allows us to house animals like wombats, koalas and macropods [wallabies, kangaroos, etc] on properties without making the large financial commitment needed for permanent enclosures.

“It also means that we don’t lose permanent enclosures when a member sells their property or leaves LAOKO.

“Portable enclosures can be moved from property to property as needed and reused over and over again.

“They can be built in different configurations to suit the needs of the animal while still meeting the NPWS Code of Practice.”

The portable enclosures are created using steel panels and a corrugated-iron roof.

They are bolted together and reinforced with star posts and corner bracing. Steel mesh ground aprons are used around the enclosure to stop wild animals getting in and housed animals digging their way out, with wombats an example.

More information and news on the completed asset will be shared in September 2023.

“LAOKO has also had some [other] encouraging news. Recently, the NPWS Koala Strategy Team indicated they would like to start trialling these portable enclosures for emergency disaster situations and research purposes in the field,” Ms Petroff added.

“We’re so happy these enclosures can provide the kind of flexibility wildlife rescue teams need for emergency, rehabilitation and research situations.”

The Wildlife Heroes Program is managed by the FNPW with funding from the NSW Government through its Environmental Trust.

The FNPW is the charity partner of national parks and wildlife services across Australia.

It is a non-government organisation with a mission to safeguard Australian ecosystems, wilderness, and flora and fauna now and for future generations.

Since 1970, the FNPW has been protecting land and species for future generations.

A spokesperson said: “We care about our parks and wildlife so that all Australians can enjoy these natural gifts.

“FNPW involvement across all states and territories includes hundreds of conservation projects. But we still need your support — there are many ways you or your company can get involved.”

LAOKO Inc is a not-for-profit wildlife rescue group based in the Snowy Monaro region of NSW. Formed in 1988, it is the second-longest-running wildlife rescue group in the state.

LAOKO’s trained volunteers assist in the rescue and care of local native wildlife.

Each year, hundreds of native animals are injured or killed as a result of car accidents, dog attacks and human intervention in the form of unauthorised culling.

As a result, many young animals are left orphaned, and LAOKO helps raise and rehabilitate them for release back into the wild.

Anyone who finds an injured animal in the Snowy Monaro should contact LAOKO on (02) 6456 1313.

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