Tag Archives: wildlife carers

$1M Wildlife Carer Fund rorted by NSW government:


80% redirected to other programs — only 20% paid to wildlife carers.

THE NSW LABOR Opposition has disclosed that the state government’s much-hyped million dollar fund for wildlife carers in bushfire-affected regions has been rorted by the government itself, with only 22 percent of the money being paid to wildlife carers.

At least half of the Wildlife Carers Bushfire Fund has already been redirected to the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment to fund other programs, including $62,000 on mapping exercises and $438,000 on two new staff positions within the Department to oversee wildlife rehabilitators.

The NSW Labor Opposition has called for the full funds to be reinstated and given to wildlife carers as promised.

When the fund was announced — to much fanfare — the Environment Minister Matt Kean’s claimed that “the funding will help wildlife rehabilitators respond and prepare for natural emergencies. Community rehabilitation groups and the Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife will be able to access the funds.”

However, answers provided by the Minister to supplementary budget estimates questions reveal that only $220,000 has been paid to wildlife rehabilitators, with $500,000 spent internally and the remaining $280,000 unspent, six months later.

According to the Minister, the remaining funds will now be allocated towards repairing damaged infrastructure and will not be given to wildlife carers.

“The Government has been caught red-handed rorting their own wildlife carer fund,” Labor’s environment spokesperson, Kate Washington, said.

“This money was meant to go into the hands of our incredible wildlife carers to help keep injured animals alive. Instead, the Government stole 80 percent of the funds, and only a fraction of the money made its way to actual wildlife carers. It’s reprehensible.”

“Some entire regions ravaged by bushfires only received $3,000 from this fund, like the Blue Mountains and the New England region. Meanwhile, $500,000 was sneakily redirected back to the Department itself.”

“Koala mapping is important, of course, and so is oversight. But if you promise one million dollars for wildlife carers, you should deliver on that promise. The government shouldn’t steal half the money to pay itself, and then redirect the rest to other programs.”

“Matt Kean should hang his head in shame for giving false hope to the hard-working volunteers who are still struggling to keep injured animals and ecosystems alive.”

“The Environment Department already has staff who liaise with and oversee wildlife carers. They were already doing environmental mapping following the bushfires. Why does the government need to steal 80 percent of this fund to cover its day-to-day work?”

“This Minister loves a cute and cuddly headline, but when push comes to shove, and when the media attention wanes, Matt Kean has quietly cut and run with the money.”

“Wildlife carers are amazing, their work is hard and heartbreaking — they deserve the support they were promised,” concluded Ms Washington.


Share This:

Arguments for not feeding native animals

Part of the enjoyment of living in a regional area with garden space is creating a habitat for our native animals in the backyard.

But while birdbaths and frog ponds provide a useful service for native species, a bird feeder full of seed does not.  The NSW Office of Environment and Heritage has published an information document called ‘Keep wildlife wild: please don’t feed the animals’.   The Office of Environment and Heritage even pointed out that feeding lorikeets sugar-based foods like fruit, could cause the birds to die at an unusually young age.

While we desire to commune with Nature, and our wonderful native species, we may be doing more harm than good by feeding them inappropriate foods.



(image: Rainbow Lorrikets, photographer Pamela Rose)

Feeding  Kookaburras, Magpies and Currawongs with meat, mince or bread can produce imbalances in their nutritional requirements causing severe deficiencies.


(image: . "Currawong in peppercorn02" by Taken byfir0002 | flagstaffotos.com.auCanon 20D + Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 L - Own work. Licensed under GFDL 1.2 via Wikimedia Commons)

For Rosellas, Cockatoos and Galahs, introduced fruit is not natural part of their diet and  seed mixes are rarely nutritionally balanced.  Many people acting with the very best intentions feed them meat from a butcher such as cheap mince, sausage etc. Unfortunately those products are loaded with chemical additives that are lethal to birds. 

Aggression may also result from competing for food offerings. Sometimes species such as Currawongs and ravens can become so numerous that they drive other species away by aggressive behaviour or by preying on them or their young.

The digestive system of some birds is designed for a predominately liquid intake. Bread seed mixes and fruit quickly fill the bird and slow the digestion process leading to vitamin and mineral deficiencies predisposing the birds to disease through bacterial and yeast infections.  Diseases such as beak and feather diseases are easily spread through communal feeding trays.

A study of mass deaths of lorikeets in NSW showed that the birds had been killed by a condition called necrotizing enteritis. That’s a disease caused by a combination of inadequate diet and poor hygiene. In the case of that study, it turned out that the birds had been crowding onto tiny, dirty feeding trays — a situation very much different to their normal behaviour where a flock of birds might be spread across several trees.

Birds could lose their “wild-ness” and become sedentary, mate at the wrong times, and lose their nomadic drive.

For ducks, food could sink at the bottom of ponds, and in turn rot, causing increased levels of bacteria, and diseases.  Bread can ferment in the gut causing bacterial infections.

Kangaroos are designed to eat large amounts of low protein roughage such as native grasses and browse. Human food is a poor substitute with little nutritional value and will disrupt their natural intake. It’s a far cry from their natural foods, such as grasses.
Smaller macropods such as wallabies also eat fungus and insects.

In regard to feeding orphan joeys and young native mammals that cow’s milk is really not appropriate and may lead to fatal diarrhoea.Eating processed foods can cause bony growths toform in wallabies’ jaws (‘lumpy jaw’). This can lead to a slow and painful death

Fruits are not digested easily by ringtail possums, it ferments in the gut and produces vast quantities of gas – death is usually the end result. They should be fed bark, grass and leaves, eucalypt trees being the favourite for both the leaves and flowers, including native fruit and small insects.

WIRES- let Nature feed itself

Lots of people know that chocolate is poisonous to dogs, but bread causes a lethal jaw disease in wallabies and kangaroos.  When you feed wild animals you’re training them to lose their fear of people. While that might seem fine at first glance, all too often it ends badly.  An ugly minority of people exists, who desire to kill and maim animals sadistically, so then it’s going to serve the animals well to be wary of people. All people. Even the good ones.

Wildlife can still be encouraged to live in or visit gardens or properties by providing and maintaining areas of suitable natural habitat harbouring natural food sources.

If you are interested in attracting native birds to your property, there are a number of other ways you can do this which includes planting locally indigenous plans and providing nest boxes.  Fallen timber provides ideal habitat for a range of insects which provide other local native fauna such as Sugar Gliders with ample food.

Parks and Wildlife: WA Why you should not feed wild animals

Most young native animals are fed using a special formula or specialised diet to accurately replicate their natural diet, as human foods can be very harmful for them. They often need feeding every two hours when they’re tiny, with feeding routines gradually changing over a few weeks or months until they’re weaned.

To find out more about how you can become involved in wildlife care, contact your local rescue group.

(featured image:  Rainbow Lorikeet Trichoglossus moluccanus on a garden bird feeder, Sydney, Australia)

Share This: