Nobody will deny that 2021 was a challenging year. Most people list the seemingly endless lockdowns as the most trying part of getting through the year intact. Oddly, however, the wildlife probably enjoyed a few new freedoms when the humans were locked away. The roads were not as scary to cross when the traffic decreased considerably. People who were incarcerated in their homes were suddenly finding joy in the colourful birds that arrived on their balconies and window-sills, rather than concentrating on the negatives. People became more tolerant towards the visiting wildlife as they provided entertainment and an escape from the endless online meetings. And with all the extra time that people were spending in nature trying to keep their mental health in check, a new appreciation for all things wild and free was born.
Of course, the wildlife also had to navigate a few new challenges. With humans being home more, a spike in DIY landscaping and extreme gardening resulted in a multitude of whipper snipper injuries and habitat disturbance resulting in displacement. And the introduction of ‘Lockdown Pets’ into their territories caused a fair bit of havoc. Not to mention the sudden onslaught of humans out ‘exercising’ in their droves in bushland areas and lakeside regions. These new challenges meant that wildlife was still in need of help and our team was there to provide the essential services required - albeit in a reduced capacity, due to restrictions.
As Lockdown came to an end, Spring arrived with its usual fervour and frenzy. The beautiful bush flowers burst forth and many of our wild babies began making an appearance. Nestling birds began learning to fledge, little marsupials peered from pouches, toying with the idea of venturing out and our reptilian critters shook off their winter dormancy and started to wander in search of love and a snack. As a result of all this activity, we were rather busy with patients who were getting into strife! With so many baby animals pouring in, Dr Izi joked that we needed a paediatric wing for the van!
In October, we were filmed by NHK World News - Japan’s public broadcaster. A small crew foined us for a day in the van and met some of our patients – a large python, a bandicoot, a wallaby joey and a ringtail possum.
As always, our patients were the highlight of the year! Always amazing us with their ability to conquer almost insurmountable odds.
Our team was enhanced throughout the year with several final year Vet Students who came to learn about our wildlife, using the best methods for restraining them for examination, diagnosing their illnesses and treating a variety of species. Athena, Alex, Aislinn, Steph and Maya all came along and learnt different hands-on skills and were involved with treating everything from death adders to antechinus. Steph is 10 days away from being Dr Steph Blank BVSc and we are thrilled to say she is not only an exceptional (wildlife) veterinarian, but also a brand new rescuer for Sydney Wildlife!
In addition to our steadfast and dynamic team of Dr Margot, Dr Izi, Dr Lou and Dr Kath, we were also joined by Dr Juliet, Dr Mikayla, Dr Manuela, Dr Derek and Dr Jade at different times throughout the year. Thank you to all these spectacular vets who donated their valuable time and expertise to treat our injured and sick wildlife.
In the lead-up to Christmas, we have a song playing in our heads…..
🎶🎵 4 tawny chicks 🎶🎵
2 turtle bubs
And a goanna going up a gum-treeeeeeeee…🎶🎵🎶🎵
Photos by Margaret G Woods, Peter Sharp of Tame and Wild Studio and Lynleigh Greig