Wildlife rescuer's confronting message to driver who abandoned injured animal

Tom Flanagan
News Reporter

A wildlife rescuer has hit out at a driver who abandoned a badly injured wombat they struck in regional Victoria.

Raewyn Jeganathan was called out to the marsupial on Little Yarra Road in the Yarra Valley after concerned passers-by spotted the wombat clinging to life on the roadside.

“I just thought not again,” she told Yahoo News Australia.

“I get really sad [when I see wildlife in that state] and thought you poor thing and there’s nothing I can do to end its suffering [while keeping it alive].”

The wombat was seriously injured and its bowel was perforated. Source: Waratah Wildlife Shelter

Ms Jeganathan, who runs the Waratah Wildlife Shelter, explained on its Facebook page the extent of the wombat’s injuries.

“He was eviscerated, his bowel perforated, leg broken, jaw broken and teeth smashed out of his mouth. His agony was distressing,” she wrote.

She also shared graphic images of the injured wombat while criticising the driver’s inability to do anything about the wombat’s injuries.

“I see where you pulled over as he was dragging under your car, didn’t have time to call for help? I’d certainly hate for you to be late to wherever you were rushing off to,” she wrote sarcastically.

Ms Jeganathan urged any motorist who strikes wildlife in the road to pull over and check on the animal. If injured its vital to call for help, she said.

Mouth and paw injuries the wombat sustained. Source: Waratah Wildlife Sanctuary

“The longer they’re left the less chance there is of rehabilitation,” she explained.

Ms Jeganathan had no choice but to euthanise the wombat.

Drivers mustn’t fear repercussions

According to Ms Jeganathan, up to 90 per cent of call-outs she and other volunteers in the area receive are not from those who injure the animals. The majority of calls are made by passers-by who come across the injured wildlife.

She wanted to reiterate with drivers that volunteers are fully aware accidents can happen and sometimes hitting wildlife is unavoidable.

“We understand accidents do happen but what you do afterwards is really what matters, and taking a couple of minutes out of your day to call us so we can get there as quickly as we can is essential.”

She said drivers “shouldn’t feel bad” about accidentally striking animals and that they shouldn’t fear the response of wildlife rescuers.

“Many people feel bad at what they’ve done but I never get angry at any of them,” she said.

“While there are people who could drive better, sometimes its not their fault.”

She said motorists who strike animals should always call for help and a quick look on Google would easily find nearby volunteers who could come out and help.

The wombat spray-painted to show it had been checked by a wildlife rescuer. Source: Waratah Wildlife Shelter

Urbanisation threatens local wildlife

Last year Melbourne-based wildlife rescuer Krysti Severi explained to Yahoo News Australia the urbanisation of suburbs on the outskirts of Melbourne and other cities was having a detrimental effect on local wildlife populations.

She said increased traffic led to “horrible” suffering for animals struck by vehicles.

“They’re just not in paddocks anymore, they’re locked into development areas, they’re boxed in. They don’t know where to go,” Ms Severi said.

Ms Severi, like Ms Jeganathan, urged drivers to slow down and be aware of native wildlife.

She said if drivers do hit animals they should pull over immediately and simply drop a pin on a map app and send it to a wildlife rescuer.

“They’re very dedicated, they will go out and look for the animal and end their suffering,” Ms Severi said.

Ms Jeganathan echoed her sentiment, saying the majority of people who offer their services are volunteers and “do it for the love and the want to help”.

Earlier this month, the Victorian government ended the unauthorised killing of wombats across the state.

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