Iggy pops in to help save woylies
Tasha Hennings, hospital manager at the Kanyana Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre in Lesmurdie, with a critically endangered native woylie. Picture: Nic Ellis/The West Australian

Little one-year-old woylie Iggy has travelled a long way to be part of a species-saving breeding program.

Found orphaned in the Dryandra Woodland in the Wheatbelt last year, she was hand-raised at a wildlife refuge in Manjimup, 300km south of Perth.

Iggy now lives at the Kanyana Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre in Lesmurdie, one of the last beacons of hope for her critically endangered kin.

Kanyana was one of 20 non-profit organisations to make it to the second round of The Orange Seed Project, an awards program run by WA advertising agency Jack in the box and The West Australian.

The winner gets a $50,000 marketing package, $50,000 worth of print advertising space, a $10,000 deal with Channel 7 and $5000 cash.

Hospital manager Tasha Hennings, 28, said the prize would help raise the profile of Australia's native animals and the Perth rehabilitation centre caring for 2000 of them each year.

Kanyana's three paid staff and network of 300 volunteers are capable of hand-raising orphaned animals, bandaging broken wings and even nursing sick bobtails back to full health.

"We do get a lot of cases of bobtail flu," Ms Hennings said.

"They're sneezing, their nose is running, their eyes are watery, they have a flat tail and they don't eat.

"We accept any native animal that comes through our doors."

School visits, on-site tours and a bilby breeding program keep Kanyana's volunteers busy year-round, but the woylies are the stars of the show.

The species has been pushed to the brink of extinction by feral cats and foxes - introduced pests that the woylies do not recognise as natural predators.

"We have a group of woylies from the Tutanning area and they're the last of their gene pool," Ms Hennings said.

"Because they're so genetically different to other woylies, they're really valuable for the breeding program.

"Very few people have ever seen a woylie.

"They're beautiful little animals and we want people to know about them otherwise they could all be gone."

The winner of The Orange Seed Project will be announced at an "orange tie" event in November.

www.theorangeseedproject.

com.au

The West Australian

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