Wrapped around its little finger – the common brushtail possum has well developed claws on its front limbs that help them hold their food comfortably.

    Photo Credit: Peter Virag

    Ralph, a common brushtail possum during his morning feed. This species is a nocturnal, solitary tree dweller.

    Photo Credit: Peter Virag

    Raisin playing peekaboo in her makeshift pouch.

    Photo Credit: Peter Virag

    Raisin having an early morning siesta in a hamper filled with soft fabric that emulates the natural comfort of a mother kangaroo’s pouch. Raisin was found severely dehydrated in the pouch of her mum who had been hit by a car, hence the name.

    Photo Credit: Peter Virag

    Everly flapping its wings on Anthea Gurr’s back (she is an avid wildlife rescuer in Melbourne). The orphaned grey- headed flying foxes are only released back into nature once their muscles that are responsible for flying are fully developed and after they’ve learnt how to find food sources. This kind of “training” is carried out at a “creche” at a special Sanctuary called the Flyby Night Bat Clinic which is located in Olinda in the Dandenong Ranges.

    Photo Credit: Peter Virag

    Ralph clinging onto Stephanie’s hand. Their long bushy tail functions as a fifth limb that helps them with climbing trees and keeping their balance very efficiently.

    Photo Credit: Peter Virag

    Griffin hanging upside down from the handle of a basket. “Bats have a special tendon with a ratchet-like locking mechanism in their legs which allows them to hang securely without expending any energy,” says bat expert Dr. Justin Welbergen.

    Photo Credit: Peter Virag

    Julie feeding an orphaned grey-headed flying fox. This vulnerable keystone species plays a significant ecological role in the pollination of numerous native Australian plants. Unfortunately, their population has decreased dramatically in the past century.

    Photo Credit: Peter Virag

    Stephanie with her trendy coiffure.

    Photo Credit: Peter Virag

    Everly ready for a nap.

    Photo Credit: Peter Virag

    Julie feeding an eastern grey joey named Imogen. The species-specific milk replacing formulas are combined with special supplements high in
    protein to ensure healthy growth of the animals.

    Photo Credit: Peter Virag

    Imogen having seconds in the lap of Stephanie, a veterinary student who was on practical placement at the time.

    Photo Credit: Peter Virag

Wildlife rehab

By Peter Virag | February 7, 2019

Our iconic native wildlife are all having to deal with less and less living space. Where wildlife used to be able to spread out in their native habitat, urbanisation is resulting in constantly decreasing bush and is creating pockets of wildlife. As animals move out of those pockets, they come into contact with people and… View Article

Our iconic native wildlife are all having to deal with less and less living space.

Where wildlife used to be able to spread out in their native habitat, urbanisation is resulting in constantly decreasing bush and is creating pockets of wildlife.

As animals move out of those pockets, they come into contact with people and with vehicles – usually with catastrophic and tragic results for the wildlife.

Joey and Bat Sanctuary, a registered wildlife rehabilitation shelter located in Heidelberg Heights in suburban Melbourne, is run by Julie Malherbe with assistance from her husband Francois.

In this story, Peter Virag focuses on the more intimate interactions between humans and the animals in care to emphasise the level of commitment that is needed on a daily basis for successful rehabilitation.

You can follow Peter on Instagram and Facebook for more images.