Rescue

Rescue

Rehabilitate

Rehabilitate

Research

Research

Release

Release

Australian Marine Wildlife Research & Rescue Organisation – AMWRRO

Australian Marine Wildlife Research & Rescue Organisation (AMWRRO), providing a rescue and rehabilitation service for our incredibly unique Australian marine wildlife species.

Found an injured marine animal?

Southern Elephant Seal – Ellie Released…

Ellie making her way out of the Kennards Trailer

Ellie making her way out of the Kennards Trailer

A textbook release for Ellie our Southern Elephant seal who was released at 07:00 south of Adelaide.

The AMWRRO crew arrived at Torrens Island at 02:00 to load Ellie into a donated Kennards Hire trailer for the 4 hour road trip to her release location.

Arriving on site for her release at 06:45 (sun rise) Ellie; now weighing a whopping 335kg was ready and waiting for the tailgate to be lowered. After a quick look around she was off and out of sight within minutes of release.

Ellie gained over 95kg whilst in care and considering she started moulting only days after arriving at AMWRRO it is amazing that she pulled through her rehabilitation.

Southern Elephant seals loose approximately one third of their body weight whilst moulting and thanks to the very dedicated team at AMWRRO she was fed the much needed balanced diet, additional proteins and oils during this period which is ultimately what saved her life.

Much to AMWRRO’s disappointment the Department for Environment Water and Natural Recourses (DEWNR) (Minister Ian Hunter MLC) has enforced many new conditions on AMWRRO to stop these animals being taken into care in the future without prior approval.

Last yawn before her long swim back home!

Last yawn before her long swim back home!

This will prohibit AMWRRO from providing the 24 hour rescue service to the general public for marine mammal issues as any sub-Antarctic species will now need departmental approval before the animal is touched or helped by AMWRRO Rescue Officers.

After hours approval is extremely difficult to obtain due to department officials not answering their phone after 16:59 each day and even harder to contact anyone on weekends.

Ultimately this will lead to animals suffering longer and at times even dying on our beaches without assistance – or will be “dealt with” by the department…

Despite AMWRRO being licensed for these species, DEWNR and Minister Ian Hunter are making our life extremely difficult when it comes to making a difference and saving lives, lives DEWNR and Minister Hunter are responsible for.

Amelia’s Death Sentence Removed

Amelia's stomach showing two ganged hooks.

Amelia’s stomach showing two ganged hooks.

Amelia is a young female Australian Pelican who owes her life to the residence and rescuers of the Goolwa region. 

Local residence noticed fishing line wrapped around her wing and contacted Wildlife Welfare Organisation Inc. (WWO) who promptly rescued the bird and removed the external fishing entanglements.  Unfortunately whilst disentangling her they found fishing line descending into her mouth and subsequently her stomach; this was unable to be dislodged.

WWO contacted AMWRRO and the following morning the bird was transported to Torrens Island for treatment.  On further investigation it was confirmed that Amelia had come in contact with active fishing interactions or unattended set lines (both of which are lethal to wildlife) and was subsequently dealt a death sentence.

A Slow and Painful Death

A Slow Painful Death

Two huge hooks now embedded in her stomach, one perforating her mucosa (stomach lining) and required immediate removal before the hook opened up her stomach completely – infecting her entire gastrointestinal tract and of which leads to an excruciating painful and very slow death.

The procedure lasted approximately 35 minutes and was a great success. Amelia is now on the road to recovery and should be ready for release within the next few weeks.

Special thanks to those Goolwa residences for keeping an eye on their local wildlife and for raising the alarm when finding a problem; and to WWO for their prompt response and abilities to conduct such a great rescue.

For information about responsible fishing tips please click here.

Australian Sea Lion Finally Freed from Death Sentence!

Gotcha!

After more than 10 weeks of being entangled the AMWRRO crew finally managed to locate and rescue this young adult Australian Seal Lion from certain death.

Hand injecting Max high up in rocks

Hand injecting Max high up in rocks

Yesterday afternoon AMWRRO received information that this young male was only metres away from the shore line at a location that cannot be disclosed. After two hours he finally came ashore and the dedicated, highly trained AMWRRO crew jumped at the opportunity and was on site within the hour.

AMWRRO Crew move Max to dry ground weighing in at 173kg

AMWRRO Crew move Max to dry ground weighing in at 173kg

Once on site, his initial location was accessible via a sandy beach, but due to fast rising tidal movements his rescue soon became a logistical and occupational minefield as it took over an hour to get the necessary clearance by the landowners that incorporated several meetings regarding OH&S before we were cleared to do our job.

Unfortunately in this time the tide has risen to a point where the rescue took place in knee deep water – making the rescue much more dangerous for our crew.

Once sedated by hand injection it took him 25 minutes to fall asleep before we could access him, load him onto a stretcher and start the 150m walk in knee deep water carrying his 173kg body to dry ground for additional treatment before loading him and starting the 1.5 hour road trip back to Torrens Island.

Entangled death sentence

Entangled death sentence

With his entanglement finally removed; the full extent of his injuries were now known and treated accordingly whilst under a full general anaesthetic. Emergency bloods were taken and run in house and additional blood sent to the lab.

AMWRRO Crew work frantically to treat Max after arriving at AMWRRO – Torrens Island

AMWRRO Crew work frantically to treat Max after arriving at AMWRRO – Torrens Island

All infected and necrotic tissue was removed from the wound site, cleaned and dressed; Max was now finally freed from a cruel and terribly painful death sentence.

The ultimate death sentence

The ultimate death sentence

Max is currently in dry dock and will remain there until medications start taking effect and the wound starts healing. Max will then be transferred to the main wetland rehabilitation facility where he will once again be able to swim freely and catch live fish whilst gaining the weight he had lost whilst entangled.

Treating the open wound

Treating the open wound

A timely reminder to everyone to keep their rubbish contained and disposed of accordingly, especially any object that can entangle around animals or be ingested (so basically everything!). Ropes, fishing line, crab pots and nets are of particular concern as these items entangle and kill more animals then ever reported.

Fortunately for Max he was found in time to be saved and flippers crossed he makes a full recovery and released in the coming months

The dedicated AMWRRO team that rescued Max!

The dedicated AMWRRO team that rescued Max!

Anyone sighting an entangled marine animal please contact AMWRRO directly as these reports often take several hours or even days to filter through other departments before AMWRRO is notified and anything can be done to help the said animal – which can have dire consequences if the animal is badly injured.

Special thanks to everyone who kept a close eye out for this young male (fishermen included) and to the very dedicated crew of AMWRRO volunteers that dropped everything to assist this amazing animal whenever asked.