Where can I let them go? by Jan Smith

Being a wildlife carer has given Jan Smith much satisfaction. It has also made her very concerned about the threats faced by native animals in the Redlands due to habitat loss.

Where can I let them go?

Young brushtail possum

Young brushtail possum

As a wildlife carer living in the beautiful Redlands area, I raised possums from tiny babies to release age. A question often of me asked was:

How can you let them go? It must be so hard.

Of course it’s hard, but our aim is to return these creatures back into the bush where they should be.

Wildlife carers take in orphaned baby animals, and rear them until they are old enough and big enough to live independently in the wild. We handle them only when they are young. At this time they need the food, comfort and love of a foster parent.

We then work to “dehumanise” them as they grow, until they do not recognize people as friends. As carers of koalas, birds, bats, possums, wallabies and other wildlife, that is what we are trained to do.

We also work with sick and injured wildlife, handling them just enough to get them through their illnesses or injuries. We then return them to where they came from, if this is possible.

In many cases the areas they have come from no longer exist. Progress has removed their bushland, trees and hollows. In these cases we do what we can to find a place near their original area. So I am more concerned about the question:

Where can I let them go?

Koala stumped by development

Koala stumped by development

With all the development in the Redlands, and the quarrying that supports development here and elsewhere, I ask you to put yourself in the place of a koala.

Imagine how you would feel, if you did escape the developers, the bulldozers and people mulching the trees that have been cut down. Picture a lone koala, returning to where its home used to be, finding only bare ground, only bits of trees and leaves lying on the ground. Imagine its feelings of loss, fear and confusion.

When I hear of the clearing and quarrying where a company ‘accidentally’ cleared hectares of koala habitat, I feel so sad. I wonder why people think that koalas don’t matter?

We have so few koalas left. Don’t people care that we are losing them at the rate we are? Doesn’t our wildlife matter? Why don’t we all try harder to conserve these wonderful animals for future generations?

I know there are many people out there who do care, who are trying desperately to save our wildlife, our bushland, our green spaces. But without the help and understanding of those in the City Council, State and Federal Governments, the prospects for survival of our native animals are very grim.

Saving these beautiful creatures from extinction will require more and more people to tell those in charge that this is something we must do.It may not be economically optimal or any other excuse that gets trotted out. But it is the right thing to do.

And while development is posing such a severe threat to wildlife numbers it becomes vitally important to save each single animal that is orphaned or injured. Think about becoming a wildlife carer, and join me in wondering: where can I let them go?

Jan Smith – 31 March 2015

Further information about being a wildlife carer

If you want to know more about wildlife care here are some links that may be helpful:

Bat Conservation & Rescue Qld Inc.

Birds Injured Rehabilitated & Orphaned (BIRO.)

Fostercare of Australia’s Unique Native Animals (F.A.U.N.A.)

Orphan Native Animal Rear and Release Association Incorporated (O.N.A.R.R.)

Wildcare Australia

Wildcare Straddie

Information about rescue and rehabilitation of native wildlife provided by the Department of Environment and Heritage

Information about being a wildlife carer provided by Redland City Council

Information about Redlands 24 Hour Wildlife Rescue coordinated by Redland City Council



Please note: Offensive or off-topic comments will be deleted. If offended by any published comment please email thereporter@redlands2030.net

7 thoughts on “Where can I let them go? by Jan Smith

  1. breaks my heart, every time a tree is felled anywhere. Why do Councils behave similar to ‘pathological liars’ believing everything they espouse even if it is not true. Just ignorance at a very high cost.

  2. Hi Jan, wonderful article powerfully showing your anguish when it is time to release your charge back to the big wide world. Having rehabilitated various wildlife, I can testify to the same anguish when it is time to release an animal that you have spent time, attention, money and loving care to get them back to the peak of condition and dehumanized, able to survive in a wild situation to find that the situation they were originally rescued from no longer exists! As National Park charges you to keep to as close as possible to the rescue site for genetic diversity, you have problems with development! You then have to look for environment areas nearby, hopefully that council keep, observe for awhile to see what native wildlife already exists so you aren’t releasing into another taken territory of similar species, or try for private property nearby to ask permission to release on the property. One main reason for council not to sell ANY environment or parklands throughout the Redlands.

  3. Some things are a lost cause! I don’t know that we’ll help them back to the straight and narrow, but we’ll sure help them out of council! Karma is nasty when you’ve been living on the wrong side of right. Maybe in their next life they can come back as a native animal and see how that works out for them!

  4. As a full time carer of fallen developers, politicians and councilors, I have a terrible job of rehabilitating them back to a normal healthy life. They come to me drugged high on avarice and a insatiable desire for wealth. One must remember that they did not start out this way, they all started out with good intentions so we must not judge them as it can happen to the best of us.It probably starts at some big meeting when they all get together to discuss large new building projects, after dinner the drinks are flowing and someone slips in the drug avarice,then the wink wink, nod nod and before you know it your hooked. Alas, even though they are riddled with guilt and know they are wrong, the rehabilitating success rate to get them on a good and honest path is almost zero.So in the end I have to release them back to their Mc Mansions, Swimming Pools, BMWs and Yachts. We should never give up on telling them when they are wrong and that we will be watching their every move,and assist them back to the straight and narrow.

    • Oh so true Luke the drug grabs their personal need for power and money. To be part of the “in crowd of movers and shakers ” of course at the community expense, but I found the only way to get them off the wagon is to vote them out if they are elected members, so that hopefully they have to get a real job and mix with the average worker.
      For developers getting them off the wagon is a bit more difficult, maybe refusing their inappropriate developments, making them pay the real costs of their development instead of the ratepayers bearing the cost. But the biggest incentive is making them move out of their luxury Home and live in a three bedroom 1 bathroom home in their own horrible treeless developments for two years. I reckon the next one they build might be a better quality if not it is off to rehab.

  5. I care!! It devastates me that more people don’t care. They think about themselves; where they want to live; they don’t think about the animals being displaced to achieve what they want. I thank you for the care that you give and I do try very hard to bring to the attention of our government the urgency of saving our beautiful wildlife.

  6. Thank you Jan. As usual a beautiful piece of writing that really hits home to those WHO DO CARE. Thank you for the links to further information on wildlife care and THANK YOU for caring for our native animals and their habitats. You make a real difference in the lives of these little creatures and I wish there were more people like you.

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