Kelowna animal rescue group in Australia chronicling efforts | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kelowna animal rescue group in Australia chronicling efforts

This little orphaned Joey was rescued by the organization a team from Kelowna is assisting.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Brad Pattison

Animal rescuer Brad Pattison and his team have thrown themselves into helping the wildlife ravaged by Australia's wildfires and the images they're sending home are heart-wrenching.

Most recently they've sent images of a kangaroo found in a burnt property that they've rescued. The creature's scorched limbs were treated after his team brought the creature to safety.

Pattison's team of five — three from Kelowna, one from Waterloo and another from Kitchener, Ont. — have been working with the Jirrahlinga Koala and Wildlife Sanctuary while in Australia for a mission that’s expected to last two weeks.

“One of the things my team does is we put ourselves out there. We never say we’re the heroes and we’re coming to help you. It’s ‘what can we do to bring assistance to your community?’” he said, in an earlier interview.

“We’ve put out 25 emails to different organizations and we had nothing — then one said, ‘please come and help us.”

The team travelled to Melbourne Jan. 18 and took 24 hours to learn the environment and the landscape.

Pattison has experience with wildfire rescues as an Okanagan resident and he’s also experienced as an arborist, which helps him with tree rescues.

“Imagine that two-thirds of your body is hurt and you are petrified and in pain — these animals can’t get down the tree, their hands are burnt,” he said. “So we will go in and retrieve the animals.”

Koalas aren’t the only creatures that Pattison expects to help retrieve.

The rescue works with a variety of species and the rescues to date have been diverse. One of the things his team has done is create hanging fruit kebabs for the flying foxes to eat safely in the trees away from predators. You can also see them laying out hay and sweet potatoes for the wombats, kangaroos and other animals to eat.


He's still collecting funds to help with the effort.

“The more money we get, the more ointment and more bandages we can get,” he said. “We’re dealing with burn victims, we are not dealing with broken limbs."

This crisis, he said, will go on for a long time after the fire has gone out.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Kathy Michaels or call 250-718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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