Couple’s kindness saves orphaned possums

Published 6:00am 10 March 2024

Couple’s kindness saves orphaned possums
Words by Ashleigh Howarth

Two orphaned possums, who each weighed a tiny 150 grams when they were rescued, have been nursed back to health thanks to dedicated wildlife carers David and Lyn Gross.

Just like with any small baby, the couple worked around the clock to ensure the common brushtail possums, affectionally known as Sootie and Rosie, were well fed, bathed and warm.

“We basically took care of them just like their parents would have,” David says.

“We fed them, cleaned them, toileted them, patted them, nurtured them and loved them.

“They also loved snuggling in our shirts when they were really little because it reminded them of being in their mother’s pouch.”

Sootie and Rosie are the first possums the pair have taken in since joining Wildlife Rescue Queensland – a not-for-profit organisation based in Moreton Bay that specialises in the rescue, rehabilitation and release of native animals.

“Sootie and Rosie came to us from Australia Zoo and the RSPCA,” Lyn says.

“I was a nervous mum – I wanted to do everything I could to help them thrive and survive.

“We started off feeding them special milk in a syringe every three hours and then gradually as they progressed, they started eating things like native plants and vegetables.

“They love the native plants and flowers from our garden like gum leaves and lilly pilly shoots, as well as baby spinach, bok choy, celery, parsley, capsicum, grapes, blueberries, apples, almonds and pumpkin seeds.

“I was amazed at the amount of weight they put on in a short amount of time – pretty soon they were 1.5kg.”

When Sootie and Rosie are a little older and more confident, they will be released back into the wild.

“We know they aren’t pets – they are wild animals and need to be free – but we will miss them,” Lyn says.

“It won’t be goodbye, but see ya,” David says.

Having seen firsthand how rewarding it is to save an animal’s life, the pair encourage others to volunteer with Wildlife Rescue Queensland.

“It really is one of the most rewarding things you can do,” David says.

“Wildlife Rescue Queensland are an amazing organisation to be a part of – you get lots of support and training from your mentors and other carers.

“In addition to caring for Sootie and Rosie, we have also done animal transfers to Australia Zoo and released healthy animals back into the wild.

“In the future I want to expand my role even further to become a wildlife ambulance driver.”

Lyn and David also sponsor a joey through Bridgetown Wildlife Rescue Inc in Western Australia.

To see more photos, click through the gallery below. 

About Wildlife Rescue Queensland

  • Wildlife Rescue Queensland has been operating in Moreton Bay since 2007
  • Specialist wildlife carers are on call 24/7
  • Animals that need further treatment are taken to Australia Zoo
  • If you find an animal in need, phone the 24-hour hotline on 0478 901 801
  • Wildlife Rescue Queensland recommends you save the number into your phone
  • Information nights are held regularly in Morayfield for people wishing to know more
  • The organisation has an active Facebook page you can follow
  • More information can be found on their website


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