Public Education

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Public Education

Post  David on Wed Mar 04, 2009 5:26 am

I was wondering if others have had experience giving talks to schools or public groups. We have taken a baby wombat to the local primary schools and talked about wombat behaviour and also to the local TAFE in one of their animal care courses.

We would be interested in hearing of other's experiences, particularly how you spread the word that you were available to do talks on wombats. Ours was simply word of mouth to friends.

We am aware that WIRES is against using animals in talks so has anybody met any opposition. We found it was the fact that we had the baby wombat that got the kids attention and really excited them about the wombat.

I would be interested in any experiences in other members educational experiences that could be included in the Societies Bulletin.
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Public Education.

Post  JohnM on Wed Mar 04, 2009 3:35 pm

Hi David, With public showing of animals be a little careful. It is not a WIRES rule re public showing but a condition put on your license by NP&W Act regarding animals in care. [i]I Quote ; The licencee shall not permit any public viewing (including the carrying or feeding of animals in public places) display or exhibition for promotional, or any other purpose, of any live native animal that is held under the licence and is being hand-raised or is undergoing rehabilitation for release.
End quote. I agree it adds interest to your visit, however the purpose of native animal care is to return the animal to the wild without being humanised, made a pet of etc. The wilder and tougher they are released the greater chance of their survival after release.
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Wildlife education

Post  David on Fri Mar 13, 2009 10:51 am

Just playing devils advocate
But how would you get on if you were a member of WIRES and licensed under the DPI for exhibited animals.
Surely there must be room for exemptions or accommodation of special circumstance. I mean technically by that statement we cant carry an animal to the vets if it entails moving through a public place. We have open days here for people to see alternative building, sustainable living, have artsy/crafty days in the bush, do we technically have to hide the animals.

As far as wombats are concerned we could not think of a more humanised native animal up to the age of about 12 months. Its only once they start going into the pre-release pen that they start becoming dehumanised.

Last christmas we took our wombats to the family get together. It was a revelation to a number of our family members who now have a whole new respect for our native fauna. If they had been lft at home they would have missed out on several feeds and been badly stress by separation and lack of food and attention.

Because of seeing the wombats on our property we know of a number of people who now check dead wildlife on the side of the road and who no longer consider wombats as pests.
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Reply to Devils advocate.

Post  JohnM on Fri Mar 13, 2009 1:40 pm

David, Why does WIRES come up again with the NP&WS policy on animals in care, all Native Animal Wildlife Carers licensed by NP have the same requirement on animals in care, not just WIRES. The DPI license is totally remote and deals with exhibited animals such as zoos, display of animals etc. If you hold an animal under the NP&WS license for rehabilitation etc. you would not be legal to exhibit it under any DPI permission.
I agree the public needs to be aware and once shown they have a better understanding of the animals. I agree Wombats do humanise, but a lot of carers have other animals in care and I believe the spirit of the NPWS rule is to cover all animals.
To the vets? Stretching the elastic band? Practicality would come in, enclose them, bag them etc., but leading them down the street on a leash is probably more within the meaning of the rule intent. Surely while at the vet the animal would need to be protected from the domestic animals involved etc. by being covered, contained etc., not shown/displayed to all and sundry.
Visiting family on occassions, we all take our animals that require regular feeds, medications, free from stress etc., and sure family get to see the feeding but in a quite atmosphere, and are then placed in a quite room away from all the people present. When on display can we be 100% sure the animal is not stressing, I think not.
The old saying - Rules for fools, but a guide for the wise is covered by the NP rule, and it allows sensible procedures by the Licensee without enforcement.
With regard to visits to your property, again common sense must prevail surely. I know of a set of licensed carers (Not with WIRES but with another licensed groiup) that promote their guest house on the wildlife care premis and advertise sharing time with the roos. I believe this is more the reason for the NP rule again, not in the scenario you state.
I can relate factual stories of wombats coming back into care because of poor caring techniques, eg two over the past two years that repeatedly came to private residences, and when taken into care they had no idea what grass was, and they were in an emaciated state. Another full grown male forced his way through a residential door and laid on a mat in front of the open fire place in winter, poor caring maybe? Puts a lot on reliable carers when this happens, especially when the vet recommends euthanasia.
WE are all in it for the betterment of the animal, but unfortunately some cause the rules to be written.

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Wombts used to educate

Post  Amanda Cox on Sat May 23, 2009 3:54 pm

I ave been present in a number of venues where orphaned nativeanimals have een used to educat the general plic ranging from preschoolers through to adults. I have always been impressed tat the carers have always ha the animal's bst inerests at heart- inclding refusing to show an animal that seemed stressed and ending the "show" when the animal no longer wanted to be out of his/her pouch. My experience has been that carers in general know what they are doing and ensure that animals aren't harmed by the experience. Strange that this cannot be done openly and properly with appropriate guidelines, yet anyone can get a license to kill one of these animals and if a wombat, it is fine for the crown to let them die of mange. We appear to have a very peculiar value system.Orphaned animals when certified well by a Vet or animal co-ordinator should be used to help raise awareness for their species. If their carer can't recognise when they've had enough or are becoming stressed,perhaps they shouldn't be caring for them.

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