Lynne Jordan helps give orphaned wildlife given a second chance

Cuddles: Shorewell wildlife carer, Lynne Jordan, with Sherman the orphaned wombat. Picture: Brodie Weeding.
Cuddles: Shorewell wildlife carer, Lynne Jordan, with Sherman the orphaned wombat. Picture: Brodie Weeding.

Lynne Jordan had never cared for wildlife before but within six months of taking in her first joey, she became the surrogate mother to 14 pademelons and never looked back.

The Tasmanian mum of four was more used to looking after the family's pet dogs and cats and the occasional rabbit or guinea pig her kids brought home.

"I wanted another rabbit, and my husband Scott said how about finding out about being a wildlife carer because it was something I always wanted to do," Mrs Jordan said.

Sweet Face: Roadkill orphan Grace the Tasmanian pademelon has a face any mother would love. Picture: Brodie Weeding.

Sweet Face: Roadkill orphan Grace the Tasmanian pademelon has a face any mother would love. Picture: Brodie Weeding.

Mrs Jordan contacted the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water, and Environment to register as a wildlife carer and was matched with an experienced mentor to get her started but it was still a steep learning curve.

"The first pademelon joey was named Tilly, and she was found at the Burnie tip without her mum," Mrs Jordan said.

"I think I called my mentor Annette three times a day for the first two weeks to make sure I was doing everything properly and she was very patient with me."

However, Tasmania is known as the roadkill capital of the world with over half a million animals on average killed on the roads each year and a lot more help is needed to rescue and care for the orphans and injured animals.

Takes Dedication: Wildlife carer Lynne Jordan at home with Sherman the adorable wombat she is giving a second chance at life. Picture: Brodie Weeding.

Takes Dedication: Wildlife carer Lynne Jordan at home with Sherman the adorable wombat she is giving a second chance at life. Picture: Brodie Weeding.

Mrs Jordan said there were 290 registered carers Statewide but the North-West, in particular, did not have enough carers on the books.

"Parks placed about 1000 joeys last year not counting the ones we get when people knock on the door of a carer," Mrs Jordan said.

She said it required some commitment to care for wildlife but the personal rewards made it well worth it when you get to release an animal into the wild you nurtured through a tough time.

"You know it probably would not have survived otherwise and it's a great feeling."

Mrs Jordan said when wildlife carers get it right the joey is ready for release and does not want to know you but she still sees a Bennett's wallaby that's around and onto her third joey.

Her touch is gentle and tender as she feeds an orphaned wombat able to melt any heart.

On The Move: Eight-month-old Sherman the wombat is on the move. His mother was hit by a car and killed. Picture: Brodie Weeding.

On The Move: Eight-month-old Sherman the wombat is on the move. His mother was hit by a car and killed. Picture: Brodie Weeding.

"We called him Sherman after the tank," Mrs Jordan laughs as she cradles baby Sherman in a rug and bottle feeds the endearing bundle in her arms.

He suckles on the teat as if there's no tomorrow and for Sherman that was almost the case.

Thankfully he became one of the lucky ones to get a second chance at life.

"Most of the animals we get are roadkill orphans or a dog has chased their mum, and they tend to drop the joey," Mrs Jordan said.

Tucker Time: Grace the 10-month-old pademelon chows down on freshly picked green shoots. Picture: Brodie Weeding.

Tucker Time: Grace the 10-month-old pademelon chows down on freshly picked green shoots. Picture: Brodie Weeding.

"The second most common reason for picking up animals is those who are unwell from toxoplasmosis which is caused by cats going to the toilet on grass where a wallaby scratches in the dirt to eat the roots and swallows the oocysts which cause neurological issues, and they go blind.

"It takes a long time for the animal to die; it's not a quick death, it's pretty cruel."

As Tasmania's feral cat population has grown, toxoplasmosis has taken a significant toll on local wildlife.

"We also get bandicoots and birds that have been attacked by cats and I've had a lot of pygmy possums come in the last 12 months that have been picked up by cats."

But Sherman was a roadkill orphan and was only 570 grams when he came into care and needed to be fed through the day.

Mrs Jordan was a student teacher at the time on prac and she had permission to take the baby wombat to school where she placed Sherman behind a classroom divider at the back of the room, and the pupils had no idea he was there.

She fed him before school, at recess, during lunch and twice more in the afternoon and evening.

"He came to me from Sheffield after his mother was hit by a car and the driver rescued him," Mrs Jordan said.

"I got a text message from the Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary Rescue at 11 pm and was just about to head to bed so I told them if they could get him to me I would take him.

At 2.30 am he arrived here, thanks to a woman from Somerset who drove to Sheffield to collect him.

"We've got some very good rescuers in the North-West who will go beyond."

In just four years, Mrs Jordan has cared for more than 150 orphans including Tasmanian pademelons, Bennett's wallabies, wombats, bandicoots, possums, and a few tawny frogmouths and boobook owls.

Her backyard is full of animal enclosures, and she would not have it any other way because of the satisfaction she gets from doing the volunteer work.

She also cares for injured wildlife brought in for a few days of recovery time before being released.

Mrs Jordan said it was devastating when animals did not make it.

"It's just awful to lose an animal, but I have become more used to the reality of it," she said.

"My mentor told me to remember we are giving them a second chance and there are no guarantees."

Mrs Jordan spoke of the heartbreaking rescues that stay with her.

"We had a possum at Fern Glade ripped apart by a dog and bled out by the time we got there," she said.

She is candid about what it takes to care for wildlife.

"You can't take on a joey for a week and decide it's too hard," she said.

"We want carers that are going to stick it out for the long haul and know they want to do it."

Mrs Jordan said it's not cheap to raise wildlife.

"There is no funding so everything you buy comes out of your own pocket, she said.

NW vets were supportive and often provided free services but were under no obligation to do so, she said.

"We could not do what we do without our fantastic vets," Mrs Jordan said.

"For a wallaby there are four different milk formulas and it gets expensive when a 10 kg bag of milk powder costs $200 and you go through a kilo in less than a fortnight."

A report estimates the work of Australian wildlife carers to be worth $6 billion a year.