Murrindindi Ranges Wildlife Shelter founder Kate Turner is hoping to turn her Strath Creek shelter into a 24-hour hospital for native animals this year.

Ms Turner runs an independent not-for-profit organisation – authorised by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning – in Pheasant Creek and Strath Creek, caring for injured and orphaned native Australian animals including kangaroos, wallabies, possums, koalas, birds, bats and reptiles.

“Wildlife caring is something I’ve always wanted to do. Originally it was meant to be a couple of joeys and possums, but that quickly turned into over 100 a year,” Ms Turner said.

“Once I started I just kept getting calls all throughout the region for help, from Kilmore to Essendon to Eildon.”

Ms Turner’s release site in Strath Creek has had some setbacks after a fire broke out in April 2017, causing substantial damage to the property.Three animals and medical equipment was lost in the fire including microscopes, stethoscopes, surgical instruments and more.

Fortunately, 10 pre-released animals escaped uninjured. Ms Turner and her family have since been rebuilding, but are struggling to finish due to financial restraints.

“I need to come up with a lot of money to continue finishing the shed,” Ms Turner said.

“I’m also needing more committed volunteers. People often volunteer one day and then realise how much work is involved and often don’t come back.”

After applying for numerous grants from the council, Ms Turner said she had learnt the difficulty in caring for native animals – that were often considered pests.

“All the grants that I have found that seem to be only available for domestic animals,” she said.“We can’t even get tax deductions under animals it needs to be under environment.”

Ms Turner hopes with more volunteers and time, she can begin constructing the hospital at Strath Creek.

“Currently I’m a 24-hour rescuer and carer but I want this to become a hospital once I have a registered vet on board over the next few months,” she said.

“I’ve often been asked if I look after the right animals – the rare ones. But these are the animals that need my care. I want to give these animals the right to live on the land they evolved on.”

For more information on Ms Turner’s shelters please visit Facebook @MRWSInc or contact Kate Turner on 0430 440 286.

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