January 30 - February 6, 2016: Issue 249

 Kayleigh Grieg


Kayleigh with a swamp wallaby joey

 When One’s Alarm Clock Says Hiss, Not Beep, You’re At Kayleigh’s House!

Wake up, get ready for school, oh and don’t forget to say goodbye to the bearded dragons, baby possums, blue tongue lizards, multiple snakes, turtles and other various, recuperating Australian animals that are currently in our care!

At least, that’s the usual routine for my brother, Connor (14) and I Kayleigh (12) and we love it!

Having a mother who works as a volunteer for Sydney Wildlife, Southern Cross Wildlife Care, the Wildlife Roadkill Prevention Association and numerous other animal welfare groups, certainly has its perks!  Due to my Mom’s constant involvement in wildlife rescue, rehabilitation and release, the Greig family household is a sanctuary for the hindered animalia of Australia. 

My awesome dad may not be the biggest fan of animals but we are grateful for his tolerance (and we are even more amused by his startled reactions whenever we hide a snake in his birthday presents…)! 

Throughout our experiences, we have saved an assortment of different creatures from myriad bizarre places.  From animals trapped in the electrical room of a water treatment facility (hundreds of metres underground on a level aptly named ‘the Bat Cave’ or ‘Hell’) to the rooftops of two-storey houses and even echidnas in the dashboard of a car. 

Most critters get into trouble by accident, but the saddest occurrences are when we humans do terrible things to the animals.  Animal cruelty is illegal.  Even chopping a snake with the dreaded ‘garden shovel’ is no innocent act, and it can cost you a hefty fine.  Also, under no circumstances is suctioning a baby red-bellied-black snake into a vacuum cleaner a good idea (because that has actually happened before!)

In most cases, you should call an organisation such as Sydney Wildlife or Wires for advice before doing anything for wildlife in distress. Also, if you are told to keep baby animals warm, DO NOT PUT THEM IN THE OVEN to keep them warm while you wait for the professionals to arrive, or the birds will not survive (again – something that has actually happened)!!!

Bringing friends to my house really singles out the braver ones from the others, what with the menagerie of snakes around…

We have future plans of being partners in crime… I MEAN um, animal care of course…  Is it hot in here or is it just me? Heh heh…

I cannot wait until I am old enough to become an animal carer myself, but in the meantime, I certainly encourage anyone who is eighteen or older to join this wonderful ‘job’. There is never a dull moment! 

By Kayleigh Greig (12 years old)

 Kayleigh Greig

Pittwater's Australia Day Award 2016 Young Citizen of the Year

On Thursday 21 January Pittwater Council announced its Pittwater Citizen of the Year, Young Citizen of the Year and Sportsperson of the year at a reception held at Avalon Beach Surf Life Saving Club.

Pittwater’s Young Citizen of the Year was announced as Kayleigh Greig. Kayleigh is only 12 years of age and is already an active wildlife ambassador, and has been for quite a while. 

Lynleigh, Kayleigh and Justin Grieg at Pittwater Council's Australia Day Awards 2016

On Tuesday January 26th Kayleigh addressed hundreds of people gathered at Newport Beach for the Australia Day Breakfast and Citizenship Ceremony. As part of the proceedings the mayor of Pittwater, Councillor Jacqueline Townsend introduced some of this year's Australia Day awardees including Kayleigh.

"On behalf of all Australian animals I'd like to wish you all a very happy Australia Day and ask you to remember our animals are just as Australian as we are and hope that they have a happy Australia Day too." Kayleigh said.

This young lady is passionate about looking after and saving our native animals, whether they are furred, finned, scaled or feathered, and clearly has an affinity with all the 'critters' she is part of saving.

We first met Kayleigh a few years ago assisting her mum, with her brother, at a fundraiser for Southern Cross Wildlife Care at which Dr. Howard Ralph was speaking. Although there is definitely a shyness and genuine humbleness in Kayleigh, when it comes to native animals, that lovely smile beams, those honest eyes fix on yours and her clear strong voice has no trouble speaking out.

In April 2015 Kayleigh approached the Premier of NSW.

Above: Kayleigh with Premier Baird - Picture courtesy Lynleigh Greig

 Young Wildlife Carer Speaks to NSW Premier Mike Baird

One of Pittwater's young wildlife carers, Kayleigh Greig, daughter of the lady who curates our Southern Cross Wildlife Care Critter of the Month column, Community News page, recently enlisted our Premier's help to prevent more tragic wildlife deaths on our roads. 

" Premier Baird met and cuddled baby Sara Wombat and some other native animals that have been orphaned as a result of road accidents. It has been a very trying week in Sydney with the storms and flooding, so Kayleigh was very impressed that Premier Baird was able to spare time to hear what help we need with the issue of protecting our precious wildlife. He has a wonderful team and we look forward to working together to protect Australia's national treasures." -  Lynleigh Greig, April 2015.

We spoke to Kayleigh about helping her mum Lynleigh look after our native animals as a volunteer carer for Sydney Wildlife, Southern Cross Wildlife Care and Wildlife Roadkill Prevention Association and about winning this year's Young Citizen Australia Day Award for Pittwater;

When and why did you begin doing this?

I began my involvement in all things wild when I surprised my parents with a request for a serpentine pet on my seventh Birthday... 

Soon after we obtained the most wonderful pet ever (Scayleigh Slithers Greig - a beautiful Spotted python), people started ringing us for advice about wild snakes that were in their yard/house/garage. We always went to help out, and eventually my mom decided to learn the correct handling techniques and became a volunteer rescuer for Sydney Wildlife.

Kayleigh with Scayleigh and her mates‏

What was the first animal you looked after and what did this involve?

The first animal we looked after when mum joined Sydney Wildlife was a superb fairy wren who was rescued from a sticky insect mat by a worker at a plant nursery. Sadly, as a result of being stuck to the insect mat, many of the little wren's feathers were ripped out during the process. Appropriately, we named her Plucky.

Listening to her cheerful tweeting and excited fluttering on her road to recovery, we could all see that this was a beginning to a long line of furry, scaly and feathery faces, just waiting to be rescued!

Being awarded the Young Citizen of the Year 2016: how does this feel? 

Being Pittwater's Young Australian Citizen of the Year has provided me with many reasons to be ecstatic! For one, it was very flattering and I think I was smiling so hard I might have looked creepy... But it was also a huge triumph for Australian native wildlife, as it showed that the protection of animals (not just pets) is being recognised. We must hope that many others also use their passions for wildlife to lend a hand. 

What’s next?

My next aim is to get funding to create a ‘Mobile Wildlife Hospital’- the first of its kind - to use in roadkill hotspots. With all the road widenings and the new hospital site, wildlife are going to be harmed on the busy roads. We have already pleaded for help from some of our politicians and are optimistically waiting for their response…

Do you have a 'motto'?

Standing up for yourself is great, but standing up for others is greater...


How you can help our Native Animals:

Sydney Wildlife operates in the Greater Sydney Metropolitan Area which extends from the Hawkesbury River in the north, to Picton in the south and from the foothills of the Blue Mountains to the ocean. Phone: 9413 4300.

As well as caring for sick, injured and orphaned native wildlife, Sydney Wildlife is also involved in educating the community about native wildlife and its habitat. From kindergartens to retirement villages, community education packages are tailored to meet the specific needs of a wide range of audiences.

Sydney Wildlife is an entirely voluntary, charitable organisation. There are no paid staff what-so-ever.

Sydney Wildlife is licensed to do the work it does by the National Parks and Wildlife Service under the National Parks and Wildlife Act, 1974. Sydney Metropolitan Wildlife Service Inc.'s registration number is: Y256271-5

People over 18 may Train to become a wildlife rescuer and carer

Next course - 20-21st February 2016 at Northbridge

If you would like to become a Wildlife Rescuer, a Wildlife Carer or help out answering Sydney Wildlife's Rescue Hotline; if you are at least 18 years old and live in the Greater Sydney Metropolitan area, then you might like to join the team at Sydney Wildlife by completing a two day Rescue and Care Course. 

You don't need any special qualifications to do the course, just a love of animals and a commitment to the protection of native wildlife and habitat.

The two day course covers the rescue and care of a variety of native animals including adult possums, lizards, turtles and a wide range of birds.  After completing the course and gaining some experience you can choose to go on to do other courses and learn how to rescue and care for other animals such as baby possums, macropods (such as kangaroos and wallabies), raptors (such as owls, falcons and other birds of prey), snakes and bats.

The cost is $100 per person (or $130 for two people sharing materials who reside at the same address). The fee covers the cost of a range of materials; start-up equipment and a license fee of $30.00 per person.

For more information on what's Involved (in Becoming a Carer)

Southern Cross Wildlife Care was founded by Pittwater veterinarian and long standing wildlife care specialist, Dr. Howard Ralph. Southern Cross Wildlife Care was established for the sole purpose of treating and caring for injured, sick and orphaned wildlife. 

Dr Ralph does all this work at no cost and SCWC relies on volunteer carers and donations to meet the expenses for medical equipment, medicines, power, maintenance, oxygen, food, cages and many other associated items needed for this vital service.

There is a Care Centre is in the Southern Tablelands and Dr. Ralph also treats sick and injured wildlife in Sydney. Howard travels every fortnight to the Southern Tablelands to attend to the growing number of animals that are injured or too sick to travel.

Southern Cross Wildlife Care is treating and saving thousands of our native animals every year. SCWC could also use your support with other types if volunteering such as data entry, PR/Advertising, promotion and fund raising.

The Wildlife Roadkill Prevention Association aims to reduce death and injury to native animals, especially swamp wallabies, on the Northern Beaches of Sydney, Australia, including the major arterial roads: The Wakehurst Parkway, Mona Vale Road and McCarrs Creek Road. 

The association was formed in 2005 to address wildlife roadkill and raise awareness of broader conservation issues on Sydney's Northern Beaches. The group is a broad alliance between local government, police, the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS), National Parks and Wildlife Service, scientific advisers, WIRES and Sydney Wildlife.

In 2005, committee members began collecting data on the location, species and date of each wildlife fatality on key arterial roads. As a result, the RMS and Warringah Council funded a 0.5 km swamp wallaby exclusion fence on the Wakehurst Parkway, a main arterial road of the Northern Beaches.

The fence has been an outstanding success, as no swamp wallabies have been killed or injured on the protected section of road since it was put up.

The association is now actively involved in lobbying the RMS to incorporate roadkill mitigation devices in roadworks planned near the new Northern Beaches Hospital in Frenchs Forest.

How to help an injured animal: Roads

STOP carefully if it is safe for you and other vehicles.

WRAP THE ANIMAL in a towel or pillowcase and place in a secure box.

CALL WILDLIFE RESCUE or go to the nearest vet.

Keep the animal warm, quiet and in the dark DO NOT FEED or offer water. Keep noise to a minimum.

AVOID HANDLING the animal to keep it calm. Keep it away from domestic pets and children.

Place it in a SECURE AND STABLE part of the vehicle - on the seat or the floor

Please CHECK POUCHES: they may contain young.

Above and Below: Kayleigh receiving her Australia Day 2016 Young Citizen of the Year Award from our clearly happy Mayor of Pittwater, Cr. Jacqueline Townsend. 

Copyright Kayleigh Greig, 2016