Possumwood Wildlife operates from a facility on the Lake George Escarpment on the southern tablelands of NSW. It has a membership of around 70, and relies on voluntary staff, including veterinary nursing and a visiting veterinarian.
The directors of Possumwood Wildlife are highly qualified in medicine and research. Each year the facility takes in around 200 wild animals who have been injured through wire fencing entanglement, motor vehicle collision, dog/ fox attack, burns, misadventure and shooting or are suffering an illness.
When recovered, the animals are returned to the wild in a protected environment for a second chance of a free life. Depending on their stage of development and the nature of their injury animals may stay with us for just a few weeks or more than a year.
Well over 6000 wild animals have directly benefited from their work. They have been running advanced macropod training courses for a number of years to groups of around 50 carers in NSW. The courses are highly regarded with evaluations always rated as ‘excellent’.
The wildlife recovery program at Possumwood is focussed in two areas:
High level emergency first aid for injured and sick mammal wildlife of all sizes and ages on a 24 hour, seven days a week basis. Visiting veterinarians and veterinary nurses as well as an experienced medical practitioner assist with this.
The provision of long-term treatment and support for emotional trauma. Wild animals lead emotional lives and we know of no other Australian wildlife program of support that targets the long term trauma recovery needs of animals.
To build a trusting relationship with the injured and sick animals in our care; and to build confidence in each animal’s ability to recover.
To work professionally with specialist wildlife veterinary expertise.
To give the sick, traumatised and injured wild animal as much time as is necessary for recovery in a safe and caring environment.
To return the recovered animal to its natural habitat and to monitor its continued success in the wild.
To advance our knowledge of wildlife wellbeing and trauma through observation, engagement, research and publication.
Fact sheets are provided on aspects of our wildlife rehabilitation experience and our research. Carers are assisted with first aid for their injured animals and with advice on many aspects concerning the recovery of sick and injured wildlife.
We stand on the side of wildlife against the pernicious, cruel and unjust actions of governments and those who show disregard for these wonderful animals.
Possumwood is our commitment to native animal well-being based on building reciprocal human-animal relations, respect, kindness and continuous learning about this unique wildlife.
We maintain an active research program in areas of wildlife rehabilitation, ethics and animal behaviour. The results of our research are presented at national and international conferences and published in journals and books.
Key areas of work include :
Wildlife illness and injury
Wildlife emotional behaviour
Wildlife knowledge systems
Wildlife and environmental sustainability
At Possumwood we foster engaged learning between humans and wildlife so we might better understand wildlife knowledge and behavior and more accurately understand their recovery needs.
For us, transpecies learning connotes the fields of transpecies psychology (cognitive and emotional behavior of animals) and relational learning (co-creating knowledge with a relational ethic) within a framework of caring for others.
Animal Politics and advocacy
In 2008 Steve formed the Animal Justice Party modelled on the Dutch Party for the Animals. He was president for nearly eight years; seeing the organisation through a number of federal and state elections, the expansion of the Party in every state, and building a membership base of around 6000. Rosemary was also one of the founding members of the AJP.
Both Steve and Rosemary have been involved in several animal welfare campaigns, including two court cases in the ACT to stop the ACT Government slaughter of kangaroos.
In 2009 Steve and Rosemary were awarded the Global Shining Award for Compassion by the International Ching Hai Association.
The inscription on the award reads (in part):
In Recognition of Unconditional Pure-hearted Love and Noble Selfless Sacrifice Nurturing our Precious Native Wildlife Species with Warm-hearted Care and Attention.
With Compliments and Gratitude for your Inspirational Example of Loving Kindness And Courageous Dedication to the Needs of our Animal Friends.