Story by Gary Price," Bicheno Forward"
Pademelonpark Wildlife Refuge.
They need income to build protection for their charges. You see, Vicki and Geoff have established this centre entirely of their own volition, using only their own savings. They have invested funds, scrounged materials and worked tirelessly in their selfless task of caring for fauna. No Government funding. No external financial help. No promotion. They are a NON PROFIT ORGANISATION
As registered carers they are not permitted to generate any income from their efforts. Not from sale, not from exhibiting. In fact, they are required to be somewhat reclusive. This is why you will not see any signs advertising their whereabouts. It is a bit of a secret hideaway. Which is what injured wildlife needs.
Recently they received their first financial gift, from the local branch of the Bendigo Bank. You may have seen a piece from Lyn in last months edition of the "Bicheno Forward". This grant helped purchase fencing materials for construction of a safe pre-release area. What is a pre-release area? It is a "safe" area where recuperating wildlife can move about in safety, building strength and skills, learning how to move and forage, before being released back into the wild.
Snakes are not able to be catered for and are directed to specialist handlers in Bicheno.
Devils too are directed to very specialist carers at the Devil project.
Bats are welcome but please handle carefully to avoid the deadly Lyssa Virus. (Not reported to be in Tassie, but best be cautious!!).
There is one classification of bird which they cannot nurture or rehabilitate and these are members of the raptor family. Eagles, hawks and owls to be precise. They will take these birds on a short term basis until they can be moved to the Raptor centres which have the correct facilities for handling and caring for these birds.
A word of warning is offered around handling members of the raptor family. If you ever find an injured member of the raptor family please be very careful, and cover the injured or distressed bird with a towel or jacket. The talons or claws of raptors are extremely sharp and a swipe can leave a very nasty wound.
During my visit with Vicki and Geoff I was privileged to meet a number of birds in a walk through aviary.A young white Zebra Finch was happy to bob around my feet and even jump onto my shoe.
Over time Vicki and Geoff have cared for all manner of creatures (great and small) including wallabies, pademelon, echidna, wombat, and sugar gliders. They especially cater for birds, including injured, stunned and surrendered birds. Injured Lizards are also welcome.
A shy young Pademelon seen hiding in a jumper is being cared for until he is old enough to spend time in pre-release before moving off into the wild. All the bird aviaries had "guests"; some sporting permanent injury whilst others will soon be released.
Vicki and Geoff get a great sense of achievement when their charges are returned to the wild. It is impossible not to admire what they are doing.
Would You Want To Help? Well, being entirely reliant on their own skills they would welcome donations.
And your help need not be restricted to money either. Treated posts, sleepers, wire, corrugated iron, alsynite roofing; indeed almost any building material in new or good condition would be most welcome.
Also help with construction labour, concrete; pretty much any quality building material will be put to good use.
You see, they have much more to build.
Like a specialised wombat enclosure, completion of their Animal Clinic, a temperature controlled area for the seriously injured, play pens for younger animals, a second pre-release area a specialist aviary dedicated to water birds as they have special needs during rehabilitation and food storage.
With each aviary costing between $3,000 and $5,000, and a need for at least five more, their ongoing costs are going to be significant. This is why Vicki and Geoff will be very appreciative of any offers of assistance.
What if You Come Across an Injured Animal?
Now, if you happen to come across a very young animal or bird, needing help; or an injured animal or bird, there is a place where they can receive help.
Just ring the numbers below and your cry for assistance will be answered.
Ask for Vicki or Geoff.
Well done guys, well done.
mobile 0400 378 055 during the day
(03) 6375 1483 during the day