This was not cosmetic surgery however the groundbreaking operation this young echidna received saved its life. Before this, echinda's with fractures to their snout, had to be euthanased. Now new research and surgery has given these animals a second chance.
In August, WIRES received a call to rescue an echidna that had been hit by a car in Ballina. New WIRES member, Kim, went out on her maiden wildlife rescue. On arrival at the scene Kim found a dispersing juvenile echidna with injuries to its snout, leg and spines.
Kim quickly rushed the echidna straight to BallinaVet Hospital, where it was confirmed that the echidna did indeed have a fracture to its snout. After liaising with the Currumbin Wildlife Hospital (CWH) it was soon time for a trip across the border to see the vets and nurses now specialising in these amazing creatures.
Determined to save the life of this echidna Kim agreed to take the journey north to the hospital where it would receive the keyhole surgery it so desperately needed for its survival. WIRES sought the approval of NPWS to transport the echidna over the border and once we had this Kim and the echidna were on their way. Upon initial assessment at the CWH it was found that the echidna was female and so she was promptly named “Edna”. To recover from her surgery Edna was kept under observation at Currumbin for a further 8 days, after which time she was transported back into NSW to start her rehabilitation process with WIRES.
Edna then recovered under the watchful and loving eyes of WIRES Northern Rivers echidna coordinator Sharon McGrigor. Her rehabilitation involved spending the next week in a hospital environment where Edna could receive the antibiotics she needed to prevent infection. After her first seven days in WIRES care, Edna visited Lismore Veterinary Clinic for X-rays to assess whether her snout was healing properly after surgery. Thankfully it was.
It was now time to see how well she functioned in an outdoor enclosure. Here Edna spent the next 21 days rebuilding the necessary muscle tone required for survival in the wild. We hoped that it would not have been this long but the injury to her leg needed more time to heal.
Over this period Edna's feeding habits and movements were observed and improvements in her condition showed that she was now ready for release. Edna's initial rescuer, Kim, was then contacted and asked if she would do the honors of releasing her. Delighted, Kim accepted, and Edna was released back into her home range at Ballina on the 17th September.
After a total of 6 weeks in care Edna had been successfully rehabilitated and released back into the wild. This wonderful outcome would not have been possible without the help of all those involved and because of this WIRES would like to extend their gratitude to the following people for their devotion to injured Australian Wildlife.
NPWS, Mark Pittavino. CWH vets, Mick Pyre, Mimi and Erina. Ballina Vet Hospital vets, Tony and Willa. Lismore Veterinary Clinic vet, Nick Jones.