Before going to Murphy’s Creek Tavern for the Field Nats Christmas Party, we visited the Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre for an educational talk by Trish LeeHong, who runs this Centre. It is a few kilometres off Murphy’s Creek Road, along Stevens Road, and is a haven in more sense than one.
Trish currently has 85 animals in her care. She aims to rehabilitate them into their natural environment. To this end, she does not give them names, does not talk to the animals and has them on diets special to that species.
She brought out a feeding bottle for an 18 month old kangaroo and as soon as she stepped into the enclosure the kangaroo came to her and raising itself on its hind legs began to suck on the bottle. As she was feeding it she talked about some of the animals that were there. They included:
- A 12 year kangaroo that had been kept by someone in a small enclosure with the result it had not developed its leg muscles to be able to bound about in more open spaces. It was being rehabilitated.
- A whip-tailed wallaby which was given its bottle of milk by one of the Field Nats members, Trish Gardner.
- Quite a few black-striped wallabies who were very good at hiding under a bush. When they ran, their pattern of running was distinguished by the fact that they held their front paws spread out, and not close to their body. One of these wallabies was fed by another Field Nats member, Barbara Weller. One of these wallabies had lost one-third of its tail in an accident.
- There were a number of birds at the Centre also, many juveniles who had to be fed: a nankeen kestrel, two crows, a currawong, a number of tawny frogmouths who had a meal of mice, each packet of mice costing $10. A kookaburra, rather shy because of the crowd, had come to the Centre when it was only three days old.
- In another enclosure there were two koalas, a mother, which had come to the Centre with a fractured pelvis, and a baby. Trish had to collect branches of eucalyptus trees, from as far away as Cooby Dam, for these two koalas. Koalas only eat the top young leaves from specific eucalypts so Trish has planted a Koala food plantation
|Whip tailed wallaby fed by Trish Gardner|
In the short break for morning tea, most of the Field Nats who were at the Centre became members of the Centre. This would assist Trish to acquire Charity status and would enable her to apply for Government grants.
After the break, we were shown a shingleback lizard before Trish entered an enclosure to feed the echidnas with their specially formulated milk with over 30% fat content. Initially one echidna came out and gave us a very good view of how its long tongue was used to drink the milk. It was soon joined by another two. Trish also showed us two puggles (very young echidnas), so young that they lacked spines.
|Holding up puggles|
By now, it was time for the Field Nats to go to the Tavern. So the President, Linda Mangubhai, thanked Trish LeeHong for giving us a very good idea of the work she did at the Centre and for showing us the various animals in her care. She presented her with the Club mug and told her that a cheque for $75 would be sent to the Centre. Our group hopes to return in the New Year to see the rest of the Centre.
(Report and photos by Francis Mangubhai)