Jack,much loved, never forgotten

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From my personal experience of meeting thousands of wildlife carers throughout Australia, I have come to the conclusion that the most successful carers are those who were born with a natural affinity with animals.

This selfless occupation requires compassion, strong convictions, dedication, perseverance, determination, discipline and an inquisitive and forever questioning mind. The ability to use 'common sense' is an absolute in successful wildlife caring, an attribute which I feel is now very rare.

These unique people have a natural desire to try and 'right' the wrongs regarding the welfare and concern for the survival of our most unique of animals. They experience the joy of seeing an innocent little animal receive a second chance after its mother has been killed, the satisfaction of watching while a rehabilitated or hand reared joey is established and freed with its own kind and of course the wonderful experience of emotional love and nurturing which is an integral part of marsupial rearing.

It is an ongoing pleasure to actually witness the very different personalities of each individual joey, no matter what the genus or species. Having a virtually 'wild' animal place their trust in our ability to rear it from the most undeveloped stage to its maturity is an indescribable joy and just this one privilege is payment enough in return for our care.

The only repayment to carers for the long hours, loss of sleep, loss of a 'normal' existence, expense, occasional heartbreak and frustration for the ways things are; is to know that they are undertaking an integral part of the survival of Australia's unique marsupials. Left up to the powers that be and the uncertainty of nature, these animals' survival is very questionable indeed.

Lynda Staker