WA fires: The horror of animals left behind and the possum providing hope

THOUSANDS of skeletal remains of what was once native bush fauna of Yalgorup National Park is all that can be found at the side of a deathly silent Forrest Highway.

Local fauna relocator Allison Dixon fought back tears as she re-created a vision of what she found after thousands of animals had failed to escape the “merciless beast” of a fire last week.

“The fauna were trying to run from the flames and they achieved that until they hit a fence between Old Coast Road and Forrest Highway,” she said.

When Ms Dixon could get to the fence she said there were dead wallabies, bobtails, baby kangaroos and quendas.

“Coming down Preston Beach Road there are dead bodies where the fauna has tried to make it across the road but their feet are so burnt they have passed away in the middle,” she said.

“It’s not good out there.

"It's the worst I've seen." 

Ms Dixon said rangers had been shooting stock because there was no hope for them.

“On Coronation Road the flames were travelling so fast they took the kangaroos out who were travelling flat out, so you can imagine how the domestic stock suffered,” she said.

“When I drove into Waroona there were four big cattle trucks waiting to go into the blocked zones to get cattle but they couldn’t get through the blocks.”

With fire rescue training Ms Dixon said she went into the blocked boundaries to rescue endangered species and any other animals she could help.

“I had possums with their babies dying in my arms from their burns and dehydration,” she said.

Over five days the only rescue Ms Dixon made was a male ringtail possum who was later called Preston.

 “It’s all I could get,” she said.

Sitting in the branches of a tree with singed hair on his back Ms Dixon climbed and rescued him from the park.

Preston is now being cared for in the Ringtail Rescue and Rehabilitation centre in Bouvard by Ms Dixon and carer Sue Harders.

Ms Harders said Preston was eating well but they would need to monitor his weight over the next couple of days before releasing him back into the wild.

“His home has gone so we will need to assess other sites before we plan his return,” she said. 

If people would like to help the ringtail possums they can plant peppermint trees, keep their cats and dogs inside at night and put water containers in elevated positions.

To find out more about the Ringtail Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre contact ringtailpossum14@gmail.com

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