Join in ... with Wildlife SA

Brian Yeend invites you to come and join his Rockleigh-based native animal rescue service.

“Join in” aims to promote community connections and wellbeing in the Murraylands – and it could promote your business, too. Murray Bridge News is seeking an ongoing sponsor for this weekly feature. Call Peri on 0419 827 124 or email murraybridgenews@gmail.com.

It is a hot, dusty afternoon at Rockleigh, where a track winds its way through a farm gate and over a tree-dotted ridge.

It looks almost like any other farm at first, with a man and a boisterous German shepherd waiting at the next gate; but look around and you’ll notice compounds filled with emus, peacocks and kookaburras, and paddocks with kangaroos.

This has been the headquarters of Wildlife SA since its founders, Brian and Rachael Yeend, moved up from White Hill three years ago.

Here they nurse injured native animals back to health and – since hand-reared animals are not usually suited to be returned to the wild – look after them for the rest of their days.

When did you first get involved with Wildlife SA?

Rachael had been (a wildlife carer) for years but had issues with the committee ... We were on kangaroo number six when I looked at Rachael and said “our budget doesn’t stretch around the feed bill for this, we need to find some way of fundraising to support the cause”, and Wildlife SA was born. We've now got 46 kangaroos hopping around the place, or not hopping yet, some of them; and various aviaries full of bits and pieces.

What do you get out of your involvement?

It’s a reason to get up and get through the day. It gives (Rachael) great joy to sit there with a baby kangaroo in her lap and feed it ... I’m here all the time anyway (as a carer) so you can consider it a bit of our giving back to society ... It’s satisfaction you get, personally, from saving something that would otherwise die.

What is your fondest memory of your time with Wildlife SA?

Our earlier kangaroos we probably spent more time with because we had smaller numbers coming through back then ... They were still coming in the house when they were 25 kilograms, sitting on the bed and watching TV with us in the evening.

What do you spend your time doing each day?

Round about eight or nine o’clock it’s up and feed the joeys, and the lorikeet at the moment. Then it’s rounds of feeding the outside aviary animals – emus, peacocks, kookaburras, there’s a kestrel our there – cleaning water bowls, filling water bowls up. Most of the time at the moment it’s property maintenance or building frames for the shed I’m about to put up, or whipper-snipping. A bit of cuddling kangaroos and talking to the people who come and go. These kids are still (feeding) four times a day ... Then it’s dishes, wash the bowls, go to bed and start again.

What is your goal with Wildlife SA?

To keep doing what we can do to the best of our ability for as many (animals) as we can do it for.

Why should people join Wildlife SA, as a donor or a volunteer?

We don’t have volunteers at the moment ... but it would be worthwhile (putting some on) if we got a number of people. We do need sponsorship for the animals, cash donations, donations of food; or the one thing we need is a volunteer bookkeeper to help with tax and so on ... Our vain wish is for a world of peace, forgiveness and caring.

“Join in” aims to promote community connections and wellbeing in the Murraylands – and it could promote your business, too. Murray Bridge News is seeking an ongoing sponsor for this weekly feature. Call Peri on 0419 827 124 or email murraybridgenews@gmail.com.

Clarification: This story has been updated to reflect the fact that Wildlife SA keeps emus and peacocks in compounds, not aviaries.

Get 14 day free trial