TO THE RESCUE: Wildlife carers Kathy and Stephanie Silk with kangaroo joeys.
TO THE RESCUE: Wildlife carers Kathy and Stephanie Silk with kangaroo joeys. Dominic Elsome

Mother-daughter team forfeit money and sleep to save lives

WHEN Kathy Silk returned home from work to find a sack with two kangaroo joeys hanging from the fence, her desire to help animals was reignited.

She grew up in Africa caring for animals with her father, who would bring home injured and orphaned wildlife from the national park where he worked.

The labour of love was an act she did for 20 years before relocating to Australia but after a brief break she recommenced her passion and has done so for the past three decades.

Mrs Silk helped more than 1000 animals last year alone and her efforts have escalated from a part-time hobby to a full-time commitment.

With her daughter, Stephanie, by her side, the mother-daughter team are permitted animal carers.

Mrs Silk said caring for animals was the centre of their lives, with the pair on-call 24/7.

"Sometimes we are called out at 4am and with one rescue after another we don't make it back home, apart from feeding our small joeys, until after dark that night," Mrs Silk said.

"Whether we are actually doing the rescue ourselves or just phoning around to find someone closer to the caller who is able to help, we always do our best to help every animal that we are called out to."

Mrs and Miss Silk are just two of the six million Australians who volunteer their time for different causes across the nation.

The pair were recognised for their work by community members on a recent post on the Gatton Star's Facebook page.

At present, the pair care for 10 joeys, three possums, two groups of marsupial gliders, several birds and a blue tongue lizard on their three-acre property.

Due to poor health, Mrs Silk is unable to work but uses whatever money she gets from her pension to help the animals.

"We are self-funded - everything comes out of our own pocket," she said.

To care for the animals the pair have enclosures, aviaries, tanks and cages of various sizes to accommodate all animals.

They also work closely with the UQ animal hospital to ensure all the rescued animals have the best possible health.

"Depending on the injury or how small a joey is, when it comes into care we can have an animal for anywhere up to a year," Mrs Silk said.

Miss Silk urged people to phone them on 0410 334 661 if they found injured wildlife in the Lockyer Valley or contact the nearest vet.

From May 20-26, volunteers will be celebrated as part National Volunteer Week across thousands of events held country-wide.

Minister for Communities Coralee O'Rourke urged all Queenslanders to thank those who sacrificed their time and money for the benefit of others.

"Our hard-working volunteers are out there every day helping communities," Mrs O'Rourke said.

"They're a vital part of making sure our communities thrive."

In its 30th year, National Volunteer Week's theme is "Making a world of difference".

Mrs O'Rourke said National Volunteer Week was an opportunity for people to consider giving a bit of their time and volunteering in their community.


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