Council hears wildlife carer's tearful plea after complaint
BUNDABERG Regional Council has backtracked on demanding wildlife carers remove water containers from bushfire-ravaged areas around Kinkuna Estate.
Late last year, the area around Walkers Point and Kinkuna Waters was devastated by fires, requiring heavy machinery and firefighting aircraft to bring flames under control.
Many animals were killed and many more had to be euthanised in the horror that unfolded, according to wildlife carer Tammy Florager.
Mrs Florager, who is president of Woodgate and Surrounds Wildlife Rescue Incorporated, reached breaking point today upon hearing that a complaint had been made about 10-litre ice cream containers containing food and water for wildlife and her group had left out.
An order was given to remove them within days, a decision that left Mrs Florager in tears.
"I totally burst out crying," she said.
"I just thought 'we can't let this happen'."
Wildlife carer's heartbreaking plea:
Mrs Florager said bushland had burnt for "kilometres and kilometres" and it was painful to think of the dead and injured animals left in the wake of the fires.
"We had to put many, many animals down that were injured beyond thinking," she said.
"It's devastating really. I had a lady come and say 'where are all the kangaroos?'"
After members of the group posted a tearful video describing the wildlife carers' plight, Bundaberg Regional Council had a change of plan.
Council CEO Steve Johnston explained why.
"Council commends the volunteer members of Woodgate and Surrounds Wildlife Rescue on their efforts to assist animals that were injured or orphaned in recent fires," he said.
"Council received a complaint in relation to plastic buckets containing food and water being left on vacant land at Kinkuna Estate."
Mr Johnston said the council had been worried about kangaroos crossing the road.
"Officers were concerned the food and water could entice kangaroos to cross the road, posing a safety hazard to motorists, and draw wildlife closer to residential areas," he said.
"In Bargara last week, a resident was attacked by a kangaroo."
News of initial plans to scrap the buckets travelled almost as fast as wildfire, with a complaint lodged by a Brisbane woman to the RSPCA within hours.
The RSPCA contacted the council following the complaint.
Social media platforms including Facebook and Twitter came alive with outrage.
But wildlife carers breathed a sigh of relief with the news of the decision.
"Following discussions by myself with Woodgate and Surrounds Wildlife Rescue, Mayor Jack Dempsey has requested that buckets be allowed at suitable locations not too close to residential areas," Mr Johnston said.
Mrs Florager said she was relieved a compromise had been reached.
"The outcome we've received has been wonderful," she email@example.com
Mrs Florager called for locals to put containers of water on their properties to provide water for wildlife, and asked residents to remember that green grass and minimal rain did not translate to enough growth and water for wild animals.
Anyone interested in donating to the wildlife group can email firstname.lastname@example.org.