All creatures great and small

A helping hand: Meredith Ryan nurses Poppy the wallaby on her property where she cares for and releases many injured wildlife.

A helping hand: Meredith Ryan nurses Poppy the wallaby on her property where she cares for and releases many injured wildlife.

MEREDITH Ryan has a natural love for animals.

It's something that is contained in a lot of people, however, it takes a special kind of person to dedicate their life to such a cause.

Since moving to the Mid North Coast in 1989 to live on her families property, which spans 850 acres, Meredith has helped an abundance of wildlife by taking them in and nursing them back to health.

Her dedication to FAWNA (For Australian Wildlife Needing Aid) is undisputable with much of her work also done on the administration side of things as vice chair of the NSW wildlife council and secretary.

Raised in Sydney, the 67-year-old met her husband Andrew in 1980 and has happily shared her love of creatures with him on their property outside of Wauchope.

Her interest in FAWNA was sparked when she read an article in this very newspaper, which aimed at creating exposure for the work that they were doing on the Mid North Coast.

"I realised at that time that it was something I wanted to do on a regular basis," she said.

"I've always had that natural love for animals and wanted to help and care for them. Neither Victoria nor South Australia had a proper licensing system for wildlife rehabilitation so when I came to NSW I recognised all of these wonderful groups for helping wildlife.

"The wonderful feeling that it gives you to be able to pick up a broken creature that someone has cared about and contacted you for help is amazing.

"Through your own effort you can get it right and back out into the wild to have a life it deserves."

A helping hand: Meredith Ryan nurses Poppy the wallaby on her property where she cares for and releases many injured wildlife.

A helping hand: Meredith Ryan nurses Poppy the wallaby on her property where she cares for and releases many injured wildlife.

That effort even stretches back to the devastating Ashe Wednesday fires, where Meredith would provide food drops out for the injured wildlife and was the go-to person for wildlife who needed personal care.

She was also called to remove a black snake from someone's table during Christmas lunch last year.

"You just have to do things like that.

"The community is wonderful and we live in a place where people are worried about the welfare of animals," she said.

"We get a lot of calls. Each and every rescue has a story attached to it."

Some of her fondest memories over her many years with FAWNA are the people she can connect with due to their common interest.

"You meet a lot of wonderful people through FAWNA and we are all from different walks of life but are tied together by that common love of animals and caring for the wildlife," she said.

"We had a wonderful moment just this week with two kookaburras from our local group who had come from carers in Port Macquarie.

"Unsure of where we could release them, I took them onto my residence where the local kookaburras really took them under their wing so to speak and brought them food through the fence. It was a beautiful moment."

There are many other organisations and individuals who help FAWNA with their efforts and Meredith wanted to pay special mention to them.

"The Police and Vets are wonderful and I would like a special mention of their work to help us," she said.

"WIRES does not operate in this area, but aggressively publicises itself throughout NSW.

"I would like to encourage all people to visit www.fawna.org.au and when you see injured wildlife please call our 24 hour rescue number on 6581 4141."

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