Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Kylee cares for furry friends in Koonoomoo

Dutch Thunder Wildlife Care and Rescue in Koonoomoo takes in injured animals and wildlife.

TONI BRIENT January 24, 2014 4:10am

There are always plenty of visitors stopping by Kylee Donkers’ house in Koonoomoo, especially in extreme weather.

Most of the guests are in desperate need of medical care.

But her home hospital is not for humans; Mrs Donkers’ patients have wings, feathers and fur.

Mrs Donkers and husband James started Dutch Thunder Wildlife Care and Rescue about three years ago.

Although it’s licensed through the Victorian Department of Environment and Primary Industries, the centre is solely funded by Mr and Mrs Donkers.

The couple have more than 30 animals to treat and feed, a number which spiked during last week’s heatwave.

‘‘I get up to 25 calls a day, and the majority of the time all I have to say to people is that (the animals) are hot,’’ Mrs Donkers said.

‘‘We’re saying to people please just put shallow dishes of water out for the birds and the possums.

‘‘We’ve literally got possums falling out of trees at the moment because they’re just so hot and they don’t cope with it.’’

There were four orphaned kangaroo joeys at Dutch Thunder when the Courier visited last week.

Mrs Donkers said it cost about $2000 to rear each joey until it was big enough to be released into the local kangaroo mob.

She also had three koalas in care, two of which were injured during dog attacks.

The third koala, Mulberry, was orphaned after its mother died from complications after being hit by a car.

By Monday, a further nine koalas had been treated at Dutch Thunder for dehydration.

Mrs Donkers said there was usually a high volume of calls from people who were concerned about koalas during the heat.

She said she was pleased with people’s attention to animals.

‘‘If anything’s laying down, we’re telling people to ring up straight away because that normally means they’re past hot and they’re getting to the dehydrated stage,’’ she said.

However Mrs Donkers said it was important not to get too close to injured wildlife, who would often become agressive and carried diseases.

In addition to the kangaroos and koalas, Mrs Donkers was also caring for a squirrel glider, about 12 possums, cockatoos, magpies, ducks and a kingfisher bird.


She said people should check with a wildlife expert before ‘‘rescuing’’ infant animals, especially ducks and magpies.

‘‘We get a lot of people thinking they’re doing the right thing — ‘a little duckling down by the river so we’ll pick him up and take him’ — but sometimes they’re better left for mum to find them,’’ Mrs Donkers said.

She advised people who felt they needed to recue animals in immediate danger to advise wildlife shelters of the exact location so the animal could be returned to its parents.

‘‘A lot of people say that once you’ve touched an egg in a nest, or a baby chick, its parents won’t accept it; won’t take it back,’’ Mrs Donkers said.

‘‘That’s not true; its just a fallacy.’’

For more information or to volunteer with Dutch Thunder Wildlife Care and Rescue, phone Kylee Donkers on 0417560910.

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