Knitters needed for joeys

WIRES volunteer, Kiama's Lorraine Toohey is encouraging people to knit pouches that can be used to care for abandoned baby and injured native wildlife. Picture: GEORGIA MATTS

WIRES volunteer, Kiama's Lorraine Toohey is encouraging people to knit pouches that can be used to care for abandoned baby and injured native wildlife. Picture: GEORGIA MATTS

ANIMAL rescue organisation WIRES is calling on the public to pick up their knitting needles and dust off their sewing machines to help care for injured and abandoned native wildlife.

Many of Australia's native fauna species, such as kangaroos, gliders and wombats spend a significant part of their early development in their mothers' pouches, and WIRES is calling on people to donate knitted pouches made from natural fibres to help replicate that environment.

"Generally speaking the smaller the animal, the less time it spends in the pouch, but even for a smaller animal like a possum that could be two or three months and then when you get to something like a kangaroo it could be four to six months," Cathy Joukador from WIRES Illawarra said.

"Coming into winter the pouches become more important, the joeys are too young to be able to thermo-regulate themselves."

Previously WIRES has relied on volunteers for its pouches, but hopes by getting the wider community involved they'll be better able to meet their needs.

"In the past we've sourced our pouches from our volunteers, but that hasn't allowed us to meet our demand, so we thought there's so many knitting groups out there, maybe some of them could get involved and really help us out," Ms Joukador said.

WIRES is after pouches and linings that measure 18 centimetres wide by 20cm long or 24cm wide by 30cm long, and both must be made from natural fibres.

"For the linings we'd like them made from pure cotton or flannelette," Ms Joukador said. "Both of those materials will be soft and not have threads that can hurt the joey, especially their eyes and ears.

"For the pouches we'd like them to be made out of pure wool, that will keep the joeys warm and allow them to breathe.

"Synthetic fibres would mean the joeys would be unable to breathe."

■ For more information phone 4256 6449.

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