This is a very sad sight indeed, a pathetic little whistling kite having diesel removed from its body and feathers.
Last week I took my son to a nearby wildlife rescue centre, Express Wildlife Rescue, for him to do a few hours of voluntary work and in the end I stayed too. It’s in Wanneroo, North of Perth, and is run by a very driven and dedicated woman called Andrea.
The kite was rescued by a ranger from a vat of diesel and was covered head to toe in a sticky goo, just like when birds are taken out of an oil slick. One of the last things I helped with before I left was cleaning some of it off. It’s a tricky balance though. The diesel seeps in through the skin, so it’s important that it is removed as soon as possible. On the other hand, it’s a wild bird and too much handling could cause it to die of shock. And it’s bound to be even more stressful when being handled by 2 people and washed. Sadly, the bird died the next morning. As with any animal that dies there, the vet did a post mortem. One of the reasons is to find out over time which treatments are best what sort of care has the highest success rates ( how long can you handle a wild bird for before it’s too long, foods, temperatures etc ). It turned out that it was covered in goo inside too, so it had it in its stomach and lungs too. There was no way it could have survived that.
Andrea has a very high success rate with around 75% of all of the animals she takes in being returned to health and to the wild. She had another kite there which was due to be released within the following few days after recovering from an attack by a cat.
Most of the animals fall into the following categories. 1) Attacked by another animal (fox, cat, dog etc). 2) Hit by a vehicle. 3) Deliberately hurt by humans. I was shocked by just how many felll into that third category. There was a beautiful white dove there. It had been rescued after it had been completely plucked by its owners while it was still alive.
One of the most popular residents is Monopoly, the kangaroo. He was orphaned when his mother was shot, then he was poisoned. The cruelty left him epileptic, so he’ll never be able to be returned to the wild (he needs regular medication) and he probably won’t make it to maturity. But, for now, he has a very happy life. His best friend is a golden retriever who enjoys his company. The two of them played together for ages, before finally settling down for a rest. Monopoly needed to just make sure the hair was soft enough before he too lay down with his best friend for a rest .
The rescue centre is a not for profit organisation and is always fund raising to pay the medical fees and food bills. There’s a page on the centre’s website listing things that they are short of (news papers, towels, food bowls etc) so if any readers live nearby, perhaps they could take a look at the list to see if they can drop off anything useful.