Redlands After-hours Wildlife Ambulance (RAWA) service has marked 20 years of rescuing injured, sick and orphaned native animals under Redland City Council coordination.
Redlands IndigiScapes Centre played host to an anniversary celebration on Saturday 18 August, bringing together original and current volunteers and stakeholders to acknowledge the milestone.
Redland City Mayor Karen Williams said RAWA, coordinated by Council and serviced by volunteers, continued to be a crucial environmental and community service.
“Council initially began supporting wildlife rescue in 1985, when the then Redland Shire Council donated a vehicle to Eprapah Scout Warden Don Burnett in support of the work he and volunteers were doing rescuing and releasing koalas,” Cr Williams said.
“In 1998, Council resolved to undertake full coordination and operation of the service and RAWA, as it exists today, was born.
“The rescue vehicle has been upgraded five times, with the newest vehicle received in June 2018, but the engine that keeps this service running is our amazing volunteers.
“Each and every day for the past 20 years, there has been a volunteer on call ready to help wildlife in need – about 180 volunteers in all over that time.
“On an annual basis, the RAWA volunteers contribute 5,475 hours of dedicated service to Council and the community, working from 5pm to 8am every day.
“This 20-year milestone would not be possible without the dedication, sacrifice, compassion and tireless work of these volunteers and I thank them on behalf of all of Redlands Coast.”
The RAWA service is highly regarded by wildlife hospitals and organisations in south-east Queensland and also plays a key role in educating the community through volunteer interaction and participation in Council’s schools program and community displays.
It has also provided, and continues to provide, valuable data to help shape environmental policy and guide Council’s decision-making.
Redland City Deputy Mayor Cr Lance Hewlett, who represented the Mayor at the weekend’s 20-year milestone event, said it coincided with breeding season for many animals, and also served as a timely reminder for people to be on the lookout for wildlife.
“Now is the time to be particularly cautious – slowing down and taking caution when driving and keeping pets indoors or contained at night when native animals are at their most active,” Cr Hewlett said.
“If you do see an injured native animal, contact Council’s 24-hour Wildlife Rescue Service on 3833 4031.”
Cr Murray Elliott, who was part of the Council that endorsed the creation of the RAWA service, also attended to thank volunteers and support the celebrations.
For more information, or to enquire about volunteering for RAWA, visit the Redlands IndigiScapes Centre website or call 3829 8611.