THE SUN hasn’t even begun to stir.
It’s a quarter-past-three in the morning and already Denise Friedman is tending to the menagerie of animals in her backyard.
“Mum and dad always really loved parrots and my grandparents raised budgies – I guess it started from that,” Mrs Friedman said.
She’s been the WIRES coordinator in Uralla since 1989.
In her backyard live kangaroo joeys, swampies, magpies, parrots, cockatoos and Bonnie – a rescue koala who has permanently moved in.
“I just love it, I just love the animals,” Mrs Friedman said.
“They all need help, we had to make a decision back in 1989 about whether or not we were going to do koalas because you need special facilities.”
Mrs Friedman has completed a number of special courses to qualify her to look after injured koalas.
A member of the Koala Hospital in Port Macquarie, Mrs Friedman regularly sends koala’s that are seriously ill there for treatment.
The hospital is working on building a facility at Emmaville, where rehabilitated koalas can establish a territory.
A number of eucalyptus trees will be fenced off, and the koalas will stay there for the rest of their lives.
Finding and remembering territories is an important part of what Mrs Friedman does.
Looking after magpies and kookaburras – both must be released in the exact same area, or they risk being attacked by other birds.
“They have to go back to the exact spot they came from,” Mrs Friedman said.
At 72, Mrs Friedman said she hopes to be doing this for a long time to come.
“I don’t get tired of it, I’m used to it,” she said.
“I’m not ready to give it up yet – I’ll be doing this until I get too sick and have to stop.
“You get involved in things and you just keep doing it.
“I wouldn’t change anything.”
The Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service is always looking for new volunteers.
National Parks and Wildlife Service licences are required to care for wildlife
For information contact 1300 094 737.