Take a look at life from a different point of view..
Every day people are involved in accidents or acts of deliberate cruelty or conflict that result in horrific injuries. Sometimes they are the person responsible - causing others to suffer through ignorance, by accident or even malice - and others are the victims of horrific crimes. But what happens when you are a victim and have no control and no say over what happens to you? What if you are young or have grown up in an area where no-one has given a thought to your future?
Freya lies on the ground in shock and intense pain - she has been very badly injured. Her jaw is broken, she has internal injuries and she has lost her left eye; she is eight years old and had wandered onto a development site as trees were being felled at the rear of her home. No-one noticed her until it was too late; then they worked frantically to remove the tree from her broken body as an ambulance was called. The man whose responsibility it was to make sure the work site was safe is distraught; he makes repeated calls to the hospital over the next few days to check on her condition.
Joan is found collapsed on the ground. She has been attacked by dogs whilst making her way home. Her 3 month old baby Molli is clutched against her belly - she too has been injured and her cries can be heard as people rush to help. On their arrival at the hospital Joan’s condition is critical - she dies shortly after being admitted despite the medical team’s desperate attempts to save her life. Mollie is critically ill and not expected to make it through the night.
Jayden is three years old. He is bright and inquisitive and loves to explore his world. Having wandered away from his mum, the tree he chose to play in looked wonderful, a magnificent towering blue gum. He was unaware of the bulldozers and completely oblivious to the danger he was in. A few minutes later, as the tree gave way, he was on the ground crying and winded. He lay there for hours unable to move and eventually he dragged himself to the pavement where he was sighted by a passing motorist. On arrival at the hospital it was determined that he would need orthopaedic surgery as his spine was fractured and there are grave doubts he will ever have full function of his limbs again.
Lilly is 5 months old; her mum, and only parent, is in the final stages of leukaemia. The paperwork and phone calls have begun to place Lilly in foster care. Her mum is very young and had been breastfeeding Lilly but her milk supply had been poor due to her illness. Lilly is underweight, small for her age and dehydrated, she is examined and placed on a drip to correct her dehydration and kept in hospital for the next few days till her new foster mother arrives to pick her up. Joan succumbs to leukaemia on her fourth day in hospital. Lilly is unaware of her passing and is reluctant to take a bottle of milk from strangers.
Barbie is a beautiful and adventurous 20-month-old girl, raised in the country with an adventurous spirit. After wandering off from her mum she became entangled in the barbed wire fence she was trying to get through. The more she struggled the more entangled and torn she became. It was hours until she was found and she had lost a large amount of blood; she was in shock and suffering from exposure. Her rescuers were unable to entangle her without inflicting more pain and damage to her now shredded thigh and tummy so a portion of the fence was cut and arrived with her at the hospital. She underwent immediate surgery but the damage was horrific. The surgeons have discussed the possibility of skin grafts at a later date. She will be in hospital for many months and undergo a series of painful procedures.
Macy had decided to go for a walk to get dinner; she crossed the road carrying her five month old infant Bodi who was warm and snug against her in the winter chill. It was just after 8 o’clock on a Wednesday night when, out of nowhere, a speeding car roared around the corner and hit Macy full on. She was thrown through the air as the car took off, leaving its victims laying on the road on the cold winter’s night. Macy suffered horrific head injuries, a fractured jaw and right leg. Bodi suffered a fracture of one of his tiny legs, as well as cuts and bruises. They were found by a passing motorist many hours later. Macy died whilst waiting for the ambulance, her rescuers unable to save her, with the distraught woman clutching Macy to her body to keep her warm. Bodi was crying for his mum, he was in severe pain and freezing cold and, as the minutes ticked away, he went into shock; by the time he arrived at the hospital he was in a critical condition and life saving techniques began immediately.
Boo is two years old. She is a victim of abuse and was recently removed from her 'mother'. In her short life she has only known an ignorant and abusive type of love. She is suffering from malnutrition and has never been allowed to play or explore her world. She is terrified of everything around her and sits on the floor huddled in a ball. She is very unsure, and even scared of food, as well as the new, caring people around her. She will need counselling, special care, love and attention for a long time; there are grave fears she will ever recover from her ordeal.
Mary and her infant Toyah were enjoying an afternoon in a leafy parkland area when they were set upon by a gang of youths – rocks and sticks were hurled at them in a horrific, unprovoked attack. A man walking his dogs in the park came to their aid and alerted authorities. Their successful rescue of Mary and Toyah would however be tempered by the devastating discovery of the body of another infant who had been killed by the same gang earlier. To date, the police have been unable to track down those responsible.
These stories represent just some of the thousands of koalas that come to grief through the direct results of human impact each year. Yet these survivors are the lucky ones – they found their way to a place that can help. Many others are not so fortunate.
Whether it is by motor vehicles, domestic animal attack, deliberate cruelty or just plain ignorance, what these Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital patients have in common is that they are all innocent victims.
That so few people care is appalling enough but add a name and a story with a human impact and doesn’t it make you think again? What happens when you get to the line that tells you it’s a koala? Do you stop caring or does the name become a face?
As I read down the page and think about their stories once again, my heart go out to these victims of crime or accident and I’m reminded that that every decision we make for our future must include consideration for other species because, without them, we too will cease to exist in the end.
Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital
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