Couple answer the call of Wildcare

Wamboin couple Philip and Lesley Machin with four-month-old Chester (left) and six-month-old Chubby.

Wamboin couple Philip and Lesley Machin with four-month-old Chester (left) and six-month-old Chubby.

A WOMBAT-loving couple that volunteer for Wildcare and have used their Wamboin property for the past nine years to care for injured native wildlife want to encourage others locals to do the same.

Retired duo Philip and Lesley Machin have created a sanctuary for wounded animals, including orphaned wombats, that were all rescued from being road kill to recuperate before being released back into the wild.

The baby wombats are bottle-fed three times a day before being transitioned to an outdoor enclosure. They are eventually released on a property close to where they were found, a task Mr Machin said called for daytime carers.

"It would be an ideal hobby for a retiree because there's a real need to care for animals during the day," Mr Machin said.

It's not just rural residents likely to come into contact with wombats and other native wildlife. Mr Machin said Wildcare had attended a number of wildlife callouts within Queanbeyan this year, including one wombat rescue from a Karabar backyard in April.

"We think that development at Googong may be driving them into town," Mr Machin said.

"We don't know for sure, because no one studies this stuff, but that's the service Wildcare does. It's not just in rural areas. It's within Queanbeyan as well."

And wombats aren't the only natives who have needed the help of Wildcare volunteers. Mr Machin said the team is currently focusing on educating fellow dog owners about the importance of keeping their four-legged companions secured when unsupervised.

"Around 50 per cent of the houses I go to, there will be a dog wandering around in the front yard," Mr Machin said.

"I have seen dogs run across my paddock and chase kangaroos and then the next day I've had to euthanise the kangaroo because it was injured.

"Animals are often caught up in fences if they are panicked or terrified. If the animals have a broken leg or worse, they are euthanised. But there are some very distressing instances where kangaroos are left hanging for a significantly long period of time."

During the warmer months Mr Machin said he had come across a host of dogs that had been bitten by a snake because the animal had sniffed out and discovered a snake or lizard.

"In rural residential areas it seems the norm to have dogs under no control or supervision … dogs feel safe when they are under some sort of control," he said.

"The more you let them roam the higher the chance they will come across a snake.

"It's not just having a go at dog owners over chasing kangaroos; it's about making our dogs safe," he said.

If you need to contact Wildcare, or would like to become a volunteer, please contact the 24/7 hotline on 6299 1966.

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