AS the 2017-18 wildlife rehabilitator grant applications open, wildlife carers are arguing it’s not enough.
The state government is calling for applications for their yearly program, which gives recipients $2000 to put towards improving their standard of care.
Kristy Ramadan is one of the wildlife carers at Bohollow Wildlife Shelter, an organisation which she and friend Deb Fowler operate.
Together the shelters assist injured wildlife from Bearii to Rushworth and Dookie to Moama.
And Ms Ramadan said the funding won’t even cover the monthly running costs for her Bunbartha shelter.
“It’s great we get the funding, but in reality it wouldn’t cover a whole lot for the shelter,” she said.
“Yearly it costs about $25,000 and a lot of it comes out of our own pockets so we are grateful for any help and donations we receive, but the grants aren’t much.”
Ms Ramadan said the organisation relies heavily on donations from members of the public to meet costs.
“If it wasn’t for people donating I probably couldn’t do it. And a lot seem to understand that, I’ll have people handing me $5, $20 or even $100 to continue the work we do,” she said.
“I’m always so grateful to anyone who donates; it’s the main way locals can get involved in helping the shelter. They help me keep the doors open.”
But she already has plans about what to use the funding for, if she’s successful.
“I’d be able to put the $2000 towards another enclosure, but it won’t get me very far,” she said.
“We’re looking to build more enclosures on a new shelter property; these will be flight enclosures for raptors and all birds.”
Previously, funding had been used for other animal enclosures and in her experience Ms Ramadan said there was a need for a funding increase.
“The previous grant of $2000 gave me enough to do wall posts for an enclosure, then I had to find money for walls and all the internals — a lot of it out of my own pocket.”
She also has a message for anyone who encounters sick or injured animals.
“Ring for help immediately, the quicker someone calls the better the outcome is likely to be,” Ms Ramadan said.
“Don’t try to keep the animal yourself, it’s actually illegal to keep wildlife but also they could have injuries which you either may not be aware of or can’t treat yourself.
“My advice to anyone who finds injured wildlife is to not do anything until you speak with someone from a registered shelter, they can advise you on the best thing to do.
“If that’s to send the animal to a shelter, it’s often a big help for people to drive closer to the shelter. Even if it’s only half way it makes all the difference because a lot of money is spent on petrol.”
For more information or to make a donation visit bohollowwildlife.com
For information on the wildlife rehabilitator grants visit wildlife.vic.gov.au/grants/wildlife-rehabilitator-grants