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  • Kathleen Graham

From the bushfires

2020 has shaped up to be a dramatic year so far, and having since dealt with floods and COVID-19, it seems so long ago that bushfires ravaged the country, leaving destruction and devastation in its wake.


Back in January, I was given the opportunity to travel down the NSW South Coast with Dr Izi Sladakovic from Avian and Exotic Sevice as well as Lynleigh, Joan and Dr Margot from the Sydney Wildlife Mobile Care Unit. Setting up on the property of a macropod (kangaroo) carer, we spent the weekend examining injured wildlife. Many vets and wildlife carers around the country bore witness to the destruction caused by the fires, with many animals being killed in the fires, or needing humane euthanasia as a result of the injuries they suffered. However, among the devastation, there was hope.....


Wanda, a juvenile orphaned wombat had some inflammation of the surface of her eye, and of her eyelids. She was quiet and dehydrated after being found by the side of the highway. The amazing Joan - one of Sydney Wildlife's experienced wombat carers - took her in to rehabilitate her until Wanda was older and healthier for release back into the wild.

Dr Kath Graham from This Vet examines a juvenile wombat that was found in the bushfire affected areas on the NSW southcoast
An eye exam on Wanda the Wombat

I have been very fortunate to work alongside Dr Izi Sladakovic, a boad-certified veterinary specialist in small mammals, birds, reptiles, aquatic animals and zoo animals! Izi runs an exotic service, and works closely with Sydney Wildlife Rescue, sharing her amazing knowledge and experience with these unique species. I was very glad to be with both Izi and Lynleigh - who is a very experienced reptile carer - for the weekend. Seeing them in action, and having them on hand to help me examine the eyes of a tiger snake and a red belly black snake was amazing!


Veterinary specialist, Dr Izi Sladakivic (left) performs a physical exam on a red belly black snake as experienced reptile carer Lynleigh safely restrains the snake with the use of a tube
Veterinary specialist, Dr Izi Sladakivic (left) and Lynleigh examine a red belly black snake

There was a lot of media coverage associated with some of the bushfire relief efforts....with a mixture of needing to get the work done, a strong dislike of being on camera, and the importance of publicity to help with awareness and fundraising for volunteer-run efforts like the Sydney Wildlife van, our examination of a tiger snake was captured on video.......



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