Found an orphaned animal? What you should do next, according to expert wildlife carers

Buddy the baby pademelon was emaciated, starving and his organs were shutting down when wildlife carer Jill* was contacted for help.

But rather than surrender the joey into proper care that night, the person who found him on a Tasmanian roadside in his mother’s pouch and took him home for a week, refused because the children wanted to keep the joey for another night.

The next morning when the carer came calling, it was too late.

Trish Bone leans against the fence.
Trish Bone, coordinator of Tasmania’s Animal Rescue Cooperative.(ABC News: Luke Bowden)

By the time the family decided to hand him on, he was past saving, she said.

The baby pademelon.
An expert says a trained carer is the “difference between life and death, between them suffering and not suffering”.(Supplied: L Cowling)

“It’s incredibly selfish behavior by people to keep a joey, a wildlife creature that needs specialist feeding, specialist care, for someone to keep it, the wildlife always pays the price.

The Animal Rescue Cooperative said Buddy’s story was sadly not uncommon.

The organization has taken to social media to share the stories of wildlife “misguided members of the public selfishly choose to keep the household pets, always causing suffering and usually a tragic outcome for those animals”.

George the pademelon with soft drink can for size reference.
George’s growth was severely stunted after he was starved while in the care of an untrained member of the public.(Supplied: Sloth Hill Animal Sanctuary)

At the age of six months, George weighed less than a can of coke when he was seized from a member of the public.

After three months in care, he’s nearly doubled in weight but will never live in the wild again.

“He’s less than a quarter of the size he should be so for him to be released now would ultimately be a death sentence,” his carer Michelle said.

Tessa the pademelon wrapped in a blanket.
Tessa didn’t see the outside world for at least six months.(Supplied: Sloth Hill Animal Sanctuary)

Pademelon Tessa had never been outside until she was surrendered to Michelle.

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