Drivers urged to look out for wildlife

It's not just oncoming drivers and their children who are hoping you drive safely this Christmas.

As the state's police do their utmost to warn drivers - again - to take it easy this summer, a protection force of a different kind is preparing to swing into action to save the vulnerable from carnage on the roads.

The volunteers at wildlife rescue service WIRES are getting ready for the busy time of the year, when more drivers often means more injured native animals reported.

WIRES Illawarra branch member Lyn Collard warned that roads with little street lighting and bushland on either side were hot spots for incidents involving vehicles and animals.

"WIRES is asking drivers to proceed through roads like these with caution," she said.

"Native animals can dart out quickly from dark, dense bushland and suddenly be in your path."

WIRES has received over a hundred animals into care this year in the Illawarra as a result of road incidents - including brush-tailed possums, ring-tailed possums and swamp wallaby joeys.

This month, Ms Collard is caring for an eastern grey kangaroo joey. The joey is living in a simulated pouch made from wool by WIRES volunteers - and has made himself comfortable.

"He'll be starting to emerge from his pouch in the next couple of months," she said.

"Eastern greys are real 'pouch potatoes' so they have to be thrown out of the pouch."

Ms Collard said it was vital injured animals did not go unreported.

"It is important for people to report animals that potentially have joeys in their pouches so that we may rescue them," she said.

"It is often unsafe for cars to stop and for drivers to check pouches themselves, but we can check the animals if we are notified."

To make a donation to WIRES, go to wires.org.au, and to report an injured native animal call 13 000 WIRES (1300 094 737).

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