Archive for the ‘Caring for wildlife’ Category

Marine turtle rehabilitation centre, Australia

Turtle information centre, and a great combination of wildlife conservation, research, education and tourism

Jennie Gilbert and her husband run a large veterinary clinic in Cairns, and Jennie is also a researcher of marine turtles at James Cook University. In 2000, she and fellow marine biologist Paul Barnes started one of Australia’s largest  voluntary  turtle rehabilitation centres with  an attached  interpretation centre presently being built.

Scuba divers coming ashore on Fitzroy Island

I recently visited the turtle rehabilitation centre , on Fitzroy Island, near Cairns, Far North Queensland.

Fitzroy is a beautiful little continental island with fringing reef. Just over an hour’s ferry ride from Cairns, it includes rainforest walks, lovely beaches, mountainous terrain (it is essentially a mountain top with most of the rest of the mountain now covered by sea) and coral you can snorkel amongst just by walking out fro the beach. Not quite as diverse as the outer reef, there are still plenty of species of fish foraging amongst the corals, and I was especially thrilled when a unicorn fish passed close to me.

The turtle hospital is near the best snorkelling area, and when I visited had just two turtles in the tanks (I was told there were a few more at the Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre on the mainland). One – an olive Ridley turtle –  was very badly injured when first brought in  and recovery is taking while.

Green turtle (usually herbivorous) eating a squid at the Turtle Hospital, Fitzroy Island

The other, a green turtle, is doing very well and will probably be released fairly soon. Since green turtles are herbivorous, I was surprised to see her eating squid, but they apparently adapt very readily to that in captivity.

You can easily visit Fitzroy Island as a day-trip from Cairns, but even better you can stay overnight, either at the campground or the very attractive and comfortable Fitzroy Resort

The turtle information centre is due to open a little later this year: keep tuned for a report here from Jennie.

Further reading (on Jennie Gilbert, turtle research and turtle rehabilitation):!search/profile/person?personId=1264094801&targetid=profile

Jennie Gilbert with a green turtle on Fitzroy Island. The missing piece of shell on her right hand side will never re-grow, but she has now recovered well from other injuries and is soon to be released )

Wildlife Rehabilitation Course

Wildlife Rehabilitation Course

A 100% online TAFE course will begin in February – for details see and click the relevant links to rehabilitation of native birds and mammals

orphaned grey kangaroo joey

orphaned grey kangaroo joey



The Training package for the old course has been reviewed and MSIT has replaced the old Certificate III in Native animal rehabilitation with a new Certificate III in Animal studies which focuses on wildlife.  The course details can be found here.

There is also a Certificate II in (general) animal studies which covers the broader animal care industry including domestic animal care.  For information on the Cert II click here.


Gala dinner for Wildlife Hospital

Gala dinner to aid Currumbin Wildlife Hospital

WTA member Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary (Gold Coast, Queensland) is holding a gala dinner on 22nd October in support of their excellent new wildlife hospital.

The wildlife hospital services not only their own animals but orphaned, sick and injured wildlife throughout the southeast corner of Queensland, often brought in by concerned members of the public, and can include anything from echidnas and kangaroos to snakes and frogs.


Wildlife Rehablitation Conference 2012


The 8th National Rehabilitation Conference

Townsville, Nth Queensland, July 16-20, 2012

Call for Presenters

The 8th Australian Wildlife Rehabilitation Conference is to be held in Townsville .

It will be run by North Queensland Wildlife Care Inc, established in 1989, a not-for-profit and totally self funded organisation with a core of highly skilled and motivated rehabilitators.  The conference is to be held at the Rydges Southbank Conference Centre in the heart of the city.  A facility that has a maximum seating capacity for 300 attendees.

The theme for this conference is ‘Continuous Improvement’.

We wish to include presentations on the many aspects of wildlife rehabilitation; including speakers from wildlife care organisations, the veterinary community, environmental concerns, research, mining operations and their environmental impacts, legal constraints, and other matters pertaining  to  the care of our wildlife.

Each speaker will be given 30 minutes, this will  include five minutes for questions from the floor.  Additional questions will be collected and answered later in the conference.  Presenters will be required to allow the publication of their papers on the conference website and in the printed proceedings.  We offer speakers free registration for the day of their presentation if necessary.

Please express your interest in presenting by email to as soon as possible. Abstracts of approximately 200 words, a biographical statement of 100 words, plus details of your audio-visual requirements should then be submitted by email to the same address.

Should you not have e-mail access, please post to:

Margaret Neihoff,  PO Box 1446, Aitkenvale, Qld 4814

Abstracts are due by 1st March 2012.   Complete papers due by June 1st 2012

Lucy Arrives at Huon Bush Retreats

Lucy Arrives at Huon Bush Retreats

by Nick Stowe

Huon Bush Retreats has adopted a small and cute new orphan; Lucy, the Rufous Wallaby.

Lucy’s mother was killed in a road incident in the Huon Valley area. She was delivered to us by the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service at a very young age and we are taking on the responsibility of raising her, as a recognised and experienced wildlife carer premise, to ensure she has the best chance in life.

We work hard with local carers to raise and rehabilitate young and injured animals and have three environments that facilitate their recovery – hand raising, soft release and hard release.

We are in a fortunate position to be able to hand raise Lucy. Due to the natural bushland surrounding the property, it makes the transition period of release much easier. As Lucy ages, she will be free to come and go via our cat flaps and venture outside the building to explore the surrounding bush!

Next to the office we have a soft release pen. This again ensures interaction with humans and the ability to come and go.

Near our vegetable garden is our hard release pen. This enables carers to leave animals for three to four days with food and water. The pen gate is then opened one night to enable them to move out into the wild.

We estimate Lucy was about 5 months old when these photos were taken and were just furred when rescued from her mother’s pouch. Her tiny body is just 20 centimetres long and tail only 15 centimetres, so she still has plenty of growing to do – a Rufous Wallaby (or Tasmanian Pademelon), grows to a head and body length of 60cm and a tail length of 41cm. The average weight for males is 7kg and females, 4kg.

Luckily for Lucy, there are plenty of other Rufous Wallabies in our reserve and we are accepting the fact that one day she may not decide to come back home!

If you’re planning to stay at Huon Bush Retreats, now would be a great time to meet Lucy in her infant stages.