The “Day in the Life” series gives us a glimpse into the working lives of the people we don’t often see or think about, but who play an important role in keeping our community running.
Thousands of native animals come into strife each year for a variety of reasons on the Mid North Coast. And they need human help.
That’s where FAWNA (For Australian Wildlife Needing Aid) volunteers like Jill Eagleton come in.
Jill is trained to rescue, rehabilitate and release injured, orphaned and disadvantaged native animals. Her role with FAWNA is vast and varied. She is an animal foster carer, fundraiser, phone duty operator, committee member, catering officer and possum coordinator.
She looks after wildlife from her beautiful bushland property in quiet Kendall – a world away from her previous career working with her husband as an international acrobatic adagio duo!
“I have loved animals all my life. When there were bushfires in Sydney about 25 years ago, I knew I wanted to help animals. I first joined WIRES and then Sydney Wildlife before moving to the Mid North Coast three years ago and joining FAWNA,” Jill said.
Jill’s home is a sanctuary for injured animals. The verandah is lined with injured Cockatiels recuperating in cages, and there is a baby Plover recovering from a Kookaburra attack in a warm box in the spare bedroom. Outside there are large aviaries with Galahs and Parrots, and several enclosures with possums sleeping sounding and wallabies skipping happily about.
Jill’s days are busy attending rescues, taking animals to the vet for assessments, feeding and caring for the animals, and preparing them for release back into the wild.
For Jill, it’s a delight to do the rounds of the aviaries and yards in the morning and have all the little creatures in her charge come up to greet her.
“I also love watching the little joeys come out of their pouches for the first time, as they learn to run, leap and play, always with little accidents along the way.”
At the moment Jill is looking after a little joey she’s named Benny. “Benny was brought into a home by someone’s family dog. The dog had been very gentle with Benny and left not a single mark on his little body. I was worried about Benny, as he was very dehydrated and wasn’t interested in drinking his milk. A visit to the vet gave him the all clear, so now I will persevere with his feeding so he can grow big and strong.”
There are around 160 FAWNA volunteers on the Mid North Coast. They all work from their homes, and most are on call for rescues 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The organisation receives no formal funding to carry out its vital work, and they are always in need of more volunteers. Visit www.fawna.org.au or call 6581 4141 to find out how you can help.
6:00am – Feed any small babies their first meal
7:00am – Feed all the other animals in care. Wash feeding dishes, bottles, pouches and blankets
10:00am – Second feed for small babies
10:30am – Collect an injured animal from someone’s home
12:00pm – Mix milk for animals and fill all bottles
1:00pm – More feedings for small babies and middle sized animals
3:00pm – Collect, browse and find flowers for any possums in care
5:00pm – Feed possums and gliders; feeds continue for small babies and larger animals until 10pm
2.00am – Last feed of the day for small baby animals
Interview by Michelle Newman from www.newmancommunications.com.au