Environment

Baby wombat Jack nursed back to health by ACT Wildlife after hit by car

It's hard to believe that adorable little Jack, who playfully scratches his ear before burrowing into his carer's arms, was close to death just weeks ago.

The baby wombat suffered a serious brain injury, a misaligned spine and serious shock when his mum was hit by a car and killed.

A kind passerby rescued the bruised and battered survivor, before a Canberra vet and chiropractor worked round the clock to save his life.

However, nursing the injured wombat back to health was no quick or easy task, as he suffered constant seizures for days.

ACT Wildlife volunteer Lindy Butcher took little Jack into her home and has been caring for him 24/7.

She also cares for Illawarra, a baby swamp wallaby who was abandoned by his mum.

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"Whenever Jack wasn't having a seizure we were dropping water or milk into his mouth just to keep him hydrated," she said.

"We didn't know whether he was going to live or not."

After the vet and chiropractor dealt with his injuries, the seizures stopped, but the 700-gram wombat needs to be kept in care for 18 months before he can be de-humanised and released into the wild.

Ms Butcher wakes up at 3am each night to ensure he is fed every four hours. Over the next year, she expects to spend $400 to $500 on formula and more on making beds for the animals.

However, it's a small price to pay for fulfilling the newly retired teacher's passion for caring for wildlife, which she has done for 20 years. She would often bring the animals to work with her, hanging their pouches over her chair and feeding them in her breaks.

"I've looked after three wombats, thousand of birds, hundreds of possums and several wallabies," Ms Butcher said.

"I love the little animals. I love seeing them grow up and release them into the wild, like I did with my own teenage children."

ACT Wildlife is a non-profit animal rescue group that looks after mammals, birds and reptiles that have been hit by cars or mauled by cats and dogs.

The RSPCA and TAMS also refer calls to the relatively new organisation.

ACT Wildlife president Marg Peachey said they were not coping with the surge in demand from the past year.

"The increase between 2014 and 2015 was about 250 per cent in animal intake and calls that we take, while volunteers are an increase of 30 per cent," she said.

Ms Peachey is seeking donations for the out-of-pocket volunteers and to create a single drop off point for animals.

For more information visit the ACT Wildlife website actwildlife.net

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