It's like a zoo in the backyard
74-year-old animal lover, Lynette Millet from Bilgola Plateau, has volunteered with WIRES for over 26 years, and has now been awarded the prestigious title of Senior Volunteer of the Year.
“Six o’clock this morning we got up to go and reunite a kookaburra, to try and find it’s parents,” local Lynette Millet begins.
Her husband, David, had also reunited a magpie with its parents that morning and they had planned to reunite a cockatoo with its parents during that summer afternoon.
“That’s what we try and do, we try and get them back.”
The Bilgola Plateau resident may be retired, but she’s not living like the average retiree.
At the time Peninsula Living catches up with Lynette, her and David are carers for an aviary full of lorikeets; five baby tawny frogmouths; a cockatoo infant; and a baby kookaburra.
They are also caring for several possums; a blue tongue that was about to give birth; a baby flying fox; a baby ring tail possum and two brushtail possums.
“It’s like a zoo in the backyard,” Lynette says.
“I start my first feed at around 7:30am and finish my last feed of the little flying fox at about 10:30 at night.”
Lynette works her personal life around the animals, as she has taken on the responsibility of caring for them full-time until they are ready to be released back into the wild.
“I play tennis on a Friday morning, so I get all the feeding done early, then I play tennis for couple of hours and them come home and start again,” she explains.
Lynette undergoes regular training to be able to give the animals the proper care they require and uses her knowledge and skills to train new volunteers with WIRES.
She is also the current possum coordinator for the local wildlife service and has had a special interest for possums since she was a young girl.
“When I was about 10 I had a baby possum brought to me from the country and my mum and I raised this possum. We knew nothing about possums back in those days, what they ate or anything else, we raised it on entirely the wrong things but now we know,” she smiles.
Once the possum was a few years old, it was homed at nearby Taronga Zoo.
Lynette says she has always loved animals and, when she was younger, she wanted to be a vet. However, without the funds to go to university it ‘wasn’t really an option’.
“What we do is probably better than what a vet does, because not only do we get to treat them, but we also get to nurse them back to health and release them as well.
“That’s the nice part, when you get to release them back out there into the wild,” she says.
David is also a lifetime member of WIRES and Lynette says that she ‘couldn’t have done it without him’.
“This morning when I was feeding the baby flying fox, he was feeding a baby possum – a little ring tail. He’s very good with the little ones. He’s very patient,” Lynette says.
One of her most memorable experiences was when a young penguin came into her care, as he had a flipper which had been cut off by a boat propeller and they nursed him back to health.
“It started off with him swimming in circles because he couldn’t steer, then he learnt to do it with his leg, and he actually went to the aquarium down at Darling Harbour,” she recalls.
“I spoke to one of the carers down there the next year, who said he had fathered a little penguin, and I thought, ‘Well that was lovely.’”