01 Sep Miracles Happen Beyond This Gate
Sadly, all too often wildlife carers are faced with the heartbreaking news that nothing can be done in terms of treatment for an animal that they have in care. At Southern Cross Wildlife Care (SCWC) our experience is that this is rarely the case. This is why some have said to us: “Miracles happen beyond this gate”. This was no different during the drought and devastating summer bushfires.
As SCWC is the only dedicated charitable wildlife veterinary clinic in the region, we were already responding to an onslaught of drought affected patients before the fires hit. SCWC’s Dr Howard Ralph, perhaps Australia’s most experienced wildlife veterinarian, has attended many disasters, including the 2009 Victorian Black Saturday fires, over many decades and has a great deal of experience in burns and other complex injuries. We responded to animals being brought from far and wide, by wildlife carers, firefighters and members of the public. We also provided mobile clinics for hard hit areas. As a year-round clinic, the flow of cases hasn’t ceased and we still have repeat patients, as well as a constant and saddening line of new animals of all species injured and sick.
Whilst things always seem to be busy, the 2019/20 fire season brought the disaster front uncomfortably close. Large fires started to the southwest and thick smoke made work on some days almost impossible. Later another huge fire engulfed bushland far to the east but showed no signs of stopping. With full waiting rooms, poor phone and internet reception and the news of other areas being suddenly devasted by the unprecedented season, friends kept wary and weary eyes on the fire maps to update us on any change in the wind. The clinic was evacuated twice and one of the largest fires came within 12km but fortunately no closer.
We hope Australia won’t face such conditions again. We will continue to help our wildlife and treat each and every patient, no matter what species, with compassion and respect.
Photo credit: JoMcArthur/We Animals Media