How volunteer animal-lovers are saving our wildlife
Chris Gauthier of Mundoolun is a true friend to wildlife.
The wallaby carer has been volunteering with Wildcare for 6 years – ever since he found a sick koala and didn’t know what to do.
‘I have always had an interest in wildlife and seeing that koala and feeling a bit helpless made me realise I wanted to learn,’ he says.
He signed up with Wildcare and attended its orientation workshop and training – learning basic rescue and common signs and symptoms of diseases and injuries – and got to work, first caring for wallabies only and, for the past 3 years combining that with rescuing wallabies, koalas and other animals as well.
‘Caring and rescuing has its ups and downs – obviously it is not always nice cuddles with cute joeys but the reason we do this is to support wildlife and give animals a second chance,’ Chris says.
‘We try our best to replicate the best that their parents and nature can offer, it’s a lot of work and a big commitment but also so worthwhile and rewarding.’
Chris shares his home with plenty of Aussie wildlife
He says Logan City Council’s EnviroGrants play a crucial role in ensuring the work of wildlife carers can continue.
‘We are so grateful for whatever help and grants we can receive, it is so helpful,’ he says.
‘It ensures we can get the right equipment; we can cover costs of things like transport, fuel – all of the costs that need to be covered somehow. I might need to drive for a few hours a couple of times a week and with the cost of living rising, it puts pressure on people.
‘I’ve received lots of the equipment that I have at home now as a result of grants which has been important.’
Chris says Wildcare is always seeking new volunteers in a range of roles including drivers, rescuers, carers, data collection and social media.
‘Even people who can spare a few hours a week would be incredible, and there is a range of things you can do,’ he says.
Head to the website if you are interested in finding out more about volunteering at Wildcare.
Chris says, as a driver, he could get a call at 3 pm or 2:30 am – and he juggles his role in transporting the animals, with caring for wallabies and a fulltime job as a high school teacher.
Once a wallaby is checked at the vet, Chris will care for them at his home using some of the equipment funded by grants – sometimes for almost a year.
‘Of course, after caring for an animal for that amount of time, you will bond with them – they view you as their primary carer,’ he says.
‘Wallabies are really cute, they have their own personalities. I love watching them do zoomies, it’s quite fun to hang out with them.
‘Sometimes they need 6 feeds a day, so I am up in the night and then I need to feed them on my lunchbreak at work too.’
Applications for Envirogrants are now open until 15 March – you can find out more here. EnviroGrants – Logan City Council