RSPCA SA rolls out Kangaroo Island Emergency Response, local volunteers feeding wildlife

There are serious concerns for the welfare of wildlife on Kangaroo Island that survived the bushfires but now have no feed. Photo RSPCA
There are serious concerns for the welfare of wildlife on Kangaroo Island that survived the bushfires but now have no feed. Photo RSPCA

Volunteer wildlife feeding and caring teams from RSPCA South Australia began work on Kangaroo Island today, Tuesday, February 4.

Six of the nine volunteers selected to form the first three teams are Island residents.

The RSPCA has also announced that one of South Ocean Lodge's former Naturalist Guides, Melanie Lambert is now leading its volunteer teams as they assist locals in the supplementary feeding and rescue of affected wildlife.

The three team leaders are experienced animal handlers and rescuers selected from RSPCA South Australia staff.

RSPCA South Australia Inspector Cheryl Doudle, who has already spent weeks rescuing and caring for wildlife on the island, is providing field back-up.

The volunteer teams are operating in collaboration with landholders and groups who are already working to help wildlife recover.

Their immediate tasks include:

  • Setting up two feed distribution depots at Parndana and Nepean Bay, south of Kingscote. Islanders who wish to provide feed for native animals on their properties can collect the feed from either Keilem on Cook Street, Parndana or KI Kennels and Fodder on Hog Bay Road, Haines.
  • On request, delivering feed to private properties for distribution by the landholders
  • On request, establishing and maintaining feeding stations on private properties (including plantations).

RSPCA South Australia will also provide financial support to local residents and groups caring for wildlife impacted by the bushfires.

RSPCA South Australia will continue to coordinate volunteer teams on the Island for the next three to five months.

The duration is dependent on the time it takes for native vegetation food sources to regenerate sufficiently to sustain animals that are currently at risk of starvation.

At this stage the devastated Flinders Chase National Park and the Ravine Des Casoars Wilderness Protection Area, covering a total of 739-square-km, remain closed to the public as the Army and National Parks work to make them safe.

There are serious concerns for the welfare of wildlife that was living in these two areas, and RSPCA South Australia is awaiting access clearance from the SA National Parks and Wildlife Service.

Also currently on Kangaroo Island are RSPCA South Australia's chief veterinarian Dr Brad Ward, returning to the island for a second time since the fires, and veterinary nurse Mimi Leung.

They are among rotating veterinary teams assisting in the treatment and care of injured wildlife brought to the main triage centre, located inside the Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park at Parndana.

This ongoing emergency response is being funded by donations made to RSPCA South Australia's Bushfire Appeal: my.rspcasa.org.au/bushfires/Donate

There are serious concerns for the welfare of wildlife on Kangaroo Island that survived the bushfires but now have no feed. Photo RSPCA

There are serious concerns for the welfare of wildlife on Kangaroo Island that survived the bushfires but now have no feed. Photo RSPCA

SOL's Melanie returns

An exciting new role with RSPCA South Australia has taken one of Kangaroo Island's Southern Ocean Lodge staff members back to the island she loved after she left last October.

Formerly one of the lodge's Naturalist Guides, Melanie Lambert is now leading RSPCA South Australia's volunteer teams as they assist locals in the supplementary feeding and rescue of affected wildlife.

In appointing Ms Lambert to the role of Field Operations Manager for the next phase of the organisation's Kangaroo Island Emergency Response, RSPCA South Australia's CEO Paul Stevenson said an impressive track record in wildlife programs, combined with communications, tourism and managerial skills, made for a standout candidate.

"We are extremely fortunate to have secured the services of someone like Melanie, who not only has excellent knowledge of the native wildlife and habitat on the Island, but has also established strong community networks during her time working there," Mr Stevenson said.

"With qualifications in media, communications and tourism, and a proven dedication to wildlife preservation through active involvement in a range of projects, Melanie is a perfect fit for this vital role."

After leaving she took on a position as the Morning Turtle Program Coordinator in Port Hedland, WA.

She is delighted to return in a role that contributes to the recovery of the local community and its much loved wildlife.

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