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WANTED: animal loving volunteers

Ryan Sloggett, grandson of Talbingo WIRES volunteer Carolyn Lesniak, with Ju Ju the wombat.

Talbingo WIRES volunteer Carolyn Lesniak finds it easy to sum up her passion for her work. “I like critters,” she said.

Carolyn is joining WIRES (Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service) volunteers around the state in calling for more people to join the organisation, especially in the Snowy Valleys region.

“We’ve got only five volunteers in the Snowy Mountains WIRES region (which is roughly bordered by Gundagai, Gunning, Cabramurra, Yass and Murrumbateman),” she said. “Wagga has 60.”

While she is keen to get as many people as possible to join the team, Carolyn knows it is not a decision to be made on a whim.

“I recommend it if you’ve got time,” she said. “For example, you’ve got kangaroos for 18 months. Some people say ‘it’s a nice hobby you’ve got’, which I think is a bit of a put down.”

However, those who do join up won’t be left alone.

“WIRES help with food and vet bills,” Carolyn said. Carolyn currently has a young wombat, named Ju Ju, in her care, and critters don’t get much more likeable than this one.

“She was still pink when we got her,” she said. She was beside her mother, who had been killed at Rosewood.

Ju Ju is now just under 1kg, and when she reaches between 6 and 8kg, will go to pre-release, where she will be looked after by another volunteer for a few months.

“Then it is off to freedom,” she said.

Ju Ju is being fed “Wombaroo,” a special milk provided by WIRES.

Carolyn has been a WIRES volunteer for 18 of the 36 years she has spent in Talbingo. It is easy for her to recall her favourite of all the animals that have come into her care.

“A platypus; that was great,” she said. “He lived in the bathtub.”

To find out more about becoming a WIRES volunteer, go to wires.org.au.