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Wildlife Carers in Trauma

Updated: Jan 6, 2020

Do these two images from National news outlets cause you some level of distress?

I'm very sorry if they do, but... Now imagine you aren't seeing a picture, but this is right in front of you.

  • You can smell it

  • You can feel it

  • You are seeing this for the 50th time today.

I'm sorry I needed to ask you to do that...

...but this is what wildlife rescuers, vets, and carers are currently dealing with on a daily basis as they go into fire grounds and parched gum forests to search for anything left alive that can be saved. If they do find something alive, can it be saved or is euthanasia the kindest thing to do? On top of all this they are also caring for joeys found in their Mum's pouches at the road side, dog attack victims, drought starved, and mass losses due to heat stress events. This might be a little bit shocking but this is what I am hearing more and more of on a daily basis. I have been working with wildlife carers for over four years, but in the last few weeks, the number of calls I'm getting is increasing daily. I can't answer all the calls, mostly because I'm already on the phone to someone else. You can help the wildlife carers of Australia by support me to get WildTalk off the ground NOW.

Thank you for indulging me, but I feel I have been pussy footing how bad the problem is for long enough.

Most wildlife carers are front line volunteers, and just like the RFS volunteers, they do not get paid, and they get nothing like the recognition of the things they see and are required to do. Please help me make a little change to that by supporting them and providing them with the possibility to debrief and counselling into the future.

I know many have their hand out for dollars right now. I know I'm adding to the burden, but this is needed now. I have been providing this service mostly free of charge. I conducted workshops around the country, I been talking with carers by phone and face-to face. I've been averaging 3 carers per month. In the last few weeks that has climbed to three a day, five a day, and in the last few days (since the picture of the burnt juvenile appeared) to six carers a day.

This might not sound like a lot, but when you consider, I can only talk to some, not all, the phone calls are double that. I simply can't get to everyone. WildTalk has been set up to provide this service to the wider wildlife caring community. I had planned on launching it in August at the Australian Wildlife Rehabilitation Conference, when I had funding in place etc...sadly, due to the current state of emergency due to fire and drought my timeline for the counselling component has had to be moved up, so I just need to get it started and to make that happen I need cash. Other first responders have access to an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) why shouldn’t Wildlife carers? I first spoke out about mental health in wildlife carers at the 2018 AWRC and here's my research paper, so really isn't a new thing and it's only getting worse the longer we ignore it.

Let me be clear: I can no longer continue to support the carers alone. I am seeking your financial help to engage an existing EAP provider to set up a 24/7 phone line and access to the their network of therapists.

What can you do? You can donate to get WildTalk up and running here.

You can share this post by copy and pasting the address above. You can follow my Facebook page for updates here.

If you’re a therapist (based in Australia) with specific knowledge of wildlife caring, please contact me and I’ll put you in touch with the partner EAP Provider.

NOW, please exercise a little self-care. Take a moment to breath and realise you're doing everything you can right now. It's all you can do.

I thank you for listening and I wish that we all stay safe and continue to do what we can in these very trying times.

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