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Tasmania’s wildlife system is collapsing under the weight of demand and lack of carers

Tasmania’s ‘fractured’ wildlife protection system and lack of carers are to blame for the suffering sick, injured or orphaned animals.

Last year, the Tasmanian government partnered with NSW’s Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service (WIRES) to place injured and orphaned wild animals with carers.

Injured wild animals are reported at Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary in Brighton, north of Hobart, and once the injuries are cleared, WIRES contacts a carer to help the animal rehabilitate.

North of Launceston, director of the Kanamaluka Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre, Jessica O’Connor, said pressure was mounting on overworked carers to take in more wildlife, sometimes from great distances from their residence.

Ms O’Connor said caregivers often felt under extreme pressure from WIRES.

“If no one picks up the animal because no one accepts the call or the message on the app, it will be euthanized,” she said.

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Ms O’Connor says WIRES has underestimated the lack of caregivers and the number of animals in need of help in Tasmania.(Provided: Jessica O’Connor)

“We have seen many more wild animals being cared for by carers who have had too many animals cared for and have not been able to care for them, and they are often malnourished and underweight. , or dehydrated, or they have just been kept in less than ideal conditions.”

Ms O’Connor said wildlife had also waited too long with unqualified people.

“Members of the public came to me in tears because a possum was in pain under their care, or an animal was in pain under their care, and they didn’t know what to do with it,” she said.

little bird on scales
Ms O’Connor wants the state government to help care for at-risk animals such as this red-headed plover chick.(Provided: Jessica O’Connor)

By the time the animals arrive at the center, they often have to be euthanized.

Ms O’Connor said WIRES bit off more than he could chew in Tasmania but was ultimately not to blame.

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