15 March 2023

Grants to the rescue as wildlife carers receive much-needed support

| Gail Eastaway
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Group of people holding boxes

Members of LAOKO with their new rescue packs bought thanks to a WIRES grant. Photo: Supplied.

Snowy Mountains Wildlife Rescue (LAOKO) was successful in applying for two grants from the NSW Wildlife Information Rescue and Education Service (WIRES) late last year to help the group continue saving injured, sick and orphaned native wildlife.

The first grant was for 35 LAOKO members to undertake the online Basic Rescue Training Course presented by WIRES.

The second grant purchased 35 rescue kits, one for each course attendee to keep in their car, containing essential rescue equipment including a transportation box and pouches to hold wildlife.

The rescue kits were bought from Byron Bay Wildlife Hospital in conjunction with NRMA.

From July 2021 to June 2022, LAOKO received more than 800 calls to its 24/7 emergency hotline from members of the public seeking assistance with injured, sick or orphaned wildlife.

In the past eight months, LAOKO’s phone volunteers have recorded more than 600 calls for help.

Calls ranged from rescues of macropod, wombat and possum joeys (usually removed from their dead mother’s pouch as a result of a motor vehicle accident, orphaned or abandoned wildlife, koala rescue, baby bird and adult bird rescue, snake and reptile rescue/relocation, small-mammal rescue (echidnas and possums), wombat mange assistance calls and microbat support.

Anyone who needs help with injured or orphaned wildlife can call LAOKO’s 24/7 emergency hotline on 6456 1313.

LAOKO is independently operated and is based in the Snowy Monaro region. Volunteers are committed to the welfare and preservation of native wildlife and their habitat. The organisation operates a 24-hour wildlife rescue service for sick/injured/orphaned wildlife and works 365 days a year.

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LAOKO receives no recurrent government funding and relies on the generosity of the public for donations and support.

This, along with its own fundraising, enables it to care for and rehabilitate native wildlife, ensuring that they have the best chance of recovery so they can return as many as possible back to the wild.

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 the organisation assists in the raising of these orphans and rehabilitating them for release back into the wild.

What LAOKO does and where donations go:

  • Eighty per cent of funds go towards subsidising food costs for wildlife in care. A 1 kg bag of non-dairy milk powder costs LAOKO $25. Wildlife carers pay $15 and LAOKO pays $10.
  • To aid in the rehabilitation of sick or injured native wildlife. LAOKO’s goal is to relocate rehabilitated wildlife back into the wild and, for those that can’t be released, find them a suitable permanent home.
  • To provide native wildlife in need of protection with long and short-term care – including those that are sick, injured, orphaned, neglected or have suffered from mistreatment or cruelty.
  • To help other wildlife organisations by sharing volunteers, equipment, information and supplies whenever possible.
  • To provide and maintain an education program based on the principles of animal welfare, in addition to a conservation program – both directed towards a variety of ages and groups.
  • Promote and grow the service to ensure wildlife will continue to be cared for in the Snowy Monaro region for many generations to come.

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