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Sandy Norris

Jul 262011

Adapted from an article written by Chrisy Clay for the Ballina Shire Advocate

Please look out for roaming echidnas: winter is the start of echidnas’ breeding season, and it’s when they’ll be regularly seen trying to cross roads in search of a mate. Echidnas are rarely seen any other time. They don’t cope well with warm weather and spend most of their time sheltering from the heat during spring and summer. Winter’s cooler temperatures enable echidnas to be active both day and night. During this time we receive many calls from people concerned about echidnas they’ve seen.

Old Fred the Echidna recovering from broken bones and a large abrasion to her nose after being hit by a car

Roads are their biggest hazard, with many echidnas injured or killed each year by motor vehicles. An echidna’s natural defence is to curl into a ball, presenting only their spines, until whatever is threatening them disappears. On sensing an approaching car they dig into the bitumen and curl up, leaving them very vulnerable. Echidnas can often sustain serious, life-threatening injuries after being hit by a car, yet show no outward sign that they are hurt, and many injuries are only identified by using X-rays and ultrasounds.

This is what recently happened to Old Fred, a breeding female. This very large old echidna was hit by a car at Wyrallah near Lismore. Thankfully the driver who hit her stopped and saw that she needed assistance. Whilst Old Fred survived the impact, she damaged her nose when she quickly curled up into a ball on the bitumen. Along with a serious abrasion across the tip, X-rays also revealed two broken bones in her nose. After consultation with local vets at Keen Street Vet Clinic in Lismore and the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, it was decided to rehabilitate the echidna for release back into the wild.

Old Fred was in care for over a month and her broken bones and abrasions healed nicely. After a full recovery she was successfully released close to where she was found, with the help of the person who initially called us for assistance. Thanks to this caring person, Old Fred now has another chance at life.

 July 26, 2011  Animals
Jan 232011

Adapted from an article written by Jo Shepherd

The prolonged wet weather is taking its toll on local wildlife and no species is doing it tougher than flying-foxes.

Large numbers of bats have been coming into care, weak and emaciated, due to shortage of food.

As pollen and nectar are the main diet of flying-foxes, these animals play a major role in pollinating our hardwood forests. Unfortunately the bad weather is destroying these food sources – rain washes pollen and nectar out of blossoms, so that animals that depend on nectar like flying-foxes have no food.

Rescues of underweight juvenile bats started as early as last April with food shortages along the entire east coast.

Properly netted fruit tree with polypipe over timber stakes. This frame is also easy to remove when the tree has finished fruiting. No wildlife has been caught in netting on this property since using this setup.

Rescues due to injury from entanglement in netting and on barbed wire have also increased – because they are so desperate for food, the bats are landing on incorrectly netted fruit trees and becoming entangled.

The large increase in the number of bats in care as well as the extended period of support feeding is putting a strain on Northern Rivers Wildlife Carers’ coffers. This financial strain has been worsened by the recent shortages of apples and substantial increases in fruit prices, further to the Queensland floods.

The attached brochure (click here) will provide you with information and advice on how to best net your trees so that you get maximum protection whilst minimising harm to wildlife. You can also visit the Wildlife Friendly Fencing website for more information on how to safely net your trees and make your fences safer for wildlife.

If you would like to make a donation, please refer to our Donations page.

 January 23, 2011  Animals, General information
Nov 272010

Dr Austin using dental cement to fix the anaesthetized Lorikeet's broken beak

Adapted from an article written by Chrisy Clay for the Ballina Shire Advocate

It’s not every day a dentist is asked to help repair a wild bird’s beak, but that’s just what was asked of Dr Kim Davies of Bytes Dental (Ballina). Approached by the Northern Rivers Wildlife Carers, Kim didn’t hesitate to lend a hand to repair the Lorikeet’s broken beak.

The Scaly-breasted Lorikeet, nicknamed “Beaky-Bill”, was rescued after flying into a window at Alstonville, unfortunately sustaining a significant fracture to the top part of its beak from the collision.

Beak fractures are not a common injury in wild birds, and there were concerns that the bird may lose a significant portion of its top beak.

Lorikeets are primarily nectar feeders, using lots of extremely fine hairs on the tip of their tongues to collect nectar from flowers. Without a top beak its nectar-gathering tongue would be permanently exposed, drying out its unique brush-like tip. If the Lorikeet’s tongue was damaged, it potentially wouldn’t be able to gather enough food and would eventually starve to death in the wild.

‘Beaky-Bill’ the Scaly-breasted Lorikeet recovering before being released back into the wild

As superglue is extremely toxic and potentially lethal to such a small bird, dental cement was the only option left and Bytes Dental donated the necessary cement as well as equipment for setting the product.

Dr Ray Austin from Keen Street Veterinary Clinic (Lismore) used the dental cement to fix the bird’s broken beak under anaesthesia. The outcome was extremely positive. The dental cement realigned the beak and gave it the strength necessary for the Lorikeet to feed and climb in the wild. As “Beaky-Bill” was a juvenile, it is hoped that the damaged portion of its beak will eventually grow out and be replaced by a healthy strong beak. In the meantime the dental cement will keep the beak together and allow it to feed naturally.

After two weeks recovery in a flight aviary, the Lorikeet was returned to Alstonville, hopefully a little bit wiser to the perils of windows. Northern Rivers Wildlife Carers would like to thank Bytes Dental and Keen Street Veterinary Clinic for their assistance in giving “Beaky-Bill” a second chance at life.

 November 27, 2010  Animals