An echidna has managed to survive “traumatic” injuries in the NSW Southern Tablelands.
Wildcare worker Diane Hinton told Yahoo News Australia that Warri, named after the town east of Canberra where he was found, was brought in by a member of the public with plastic burnt on his melted spines.
“I don’t know what the plastic was but it wasn’t hard plastic like from a Tupperware container - it was more brittle,” she said.
“When he was brought in I didn’t think the surgery was going to go well for him because my expectation was the plastic had melted into his flesh and muscles.”
Ms Hinton said such was the extent of the burnt plastic into Warri’s back some of his spines were stuck together.
“I couldn’t see under the melted plastic. It was literally set solid,” she said.
“He was also quite traumatised when he came in and still is. Echidnas are very sensitive to noise but he is especially.”
Armed with a pair of pointy-nosed pliers and wire cutters, Ms Hinton carefully removed the plastic. It took about an hour but luckily, the echidna only lost spines and the burns hadn’t penetrated his flesh.
“He’s doing very well,” she said.
“He doesn’t have regrowth yet but we anticipate his spines will grow back.”
It’s not known exactly if the echidna was injured in bushfires. Parts of Warri were damaged by the North Black Range bushfire in December though.
Warri was found on a property affected by fires too.
It’s estimated a billion animals were killed in Australia’s bushfires over the summer.
Scientists fear some species may never recover.
The echidna has been re-introduced to the wild and allowed to forage twice a day until he fully recovers.
Ms Hinton added he’s “still healing emotionally”.
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