I remember recently embarrassing myself by screaming loudly when a bluetongue lizard ‘jumped out’ at me from behind the pool filter. I admit it; I don’t cope well with unexpected wildlife encounters.

Fortunately, Telstra’s field crew are well prepared for any local animal encounters or capers, ensuring all critters, great and small, are treated properly and below I have shared a number of tales from the field.

The first few stories below deal with a furry and a couple of feathery encounters. And I’ll be following these up with another blogs which feature some scaly situations and how cows can sometimes get in the way – no bull! Actually, there will be at least one bull story as well.

Squirrel gliders go underground

Possum encounter

Service Delivery’s Shayne Murakami and Silcar were performing audits when they met some unexpected tenants in their pit in Beenleigh, Queensland; a family of squirrel gliders.

Shayne reported this to his manager Shane Josey, who then sought advice from Telstra’s Environmental Operations Group and then on their recommendation, engaged the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The EPA put the team in touch with sugar glider expert Trish from Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation.

Trish explained, as cute as they may be, squirrel gliders can bite, so are basically a health and safety issue at ground level and they gnaw, so they were a network integrity issue as well, because they could damage the cable.

An expert mentioned how unusual it was that these gliders were below ground at all as they usually nest in trees.

The appropriate permits were acquired to remove the little critters and the Service Delivery team received approvals from the electricity authority to use their post to mount a housing box on to.

The good news is the operation when without a hitch and the squirrel gliders were housed in their new hutch, up high where they belong.

You can check out Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation: www.wildliferescueeducation.org

Birds of a feather

Unexpected encountersIt was an evening in September when Peter Deed, from our South Australian construction team, was attending to some night work up a 20 metre steel pole. It was there he discovered three newly hatched chicks nesting right where our equipment needed fitting.

Not wanting to disturb the feathered fauna and unsure if they were a protected species, Peter emailed his team manager and project manager for instructions.

Business Specialist Claire Hadley worked with their Environmental Specialist and Fauna Rescue on a plan. Jess Mann from Fauna Rescue organised to be onsite at 9:00pm that night.

Meanwhile, Claire had constructed a temporary paper-lined nest for Peter to place the birds in.

Peter relocated the birds to their new home and handed over to Jess, who confirmed they were Rainbow Lorikeets, a protected species. At the time Jess told Peter she felt that the chirpy little chaps stood a good chance of survival.

To the rescue

In 2010 I remember Network Construction mobiles installation crew members Phil Leonard and Aaron Darby being mobilised for an emergency of the feathered kind. At the request of the North Stradbroke Island Parks and Wildlife Office, located just off the coast of Brisbane, Phil and Aaron climbed our mobile tower to return a wayward Osprey chick to its nest.

Unexpected encounters - Bird rescue

Parks and Wildlife Ranger Greg Grimmett explained to the team that it seemed the Osprey chick attempted its first flight from its nest at the top of the Telstra tower at night and wasn’t quite strong enough, entangling itself in the security fence which surrounds the tower site. The baby Osprey was rescued by North Stradbroke Island locals who then contacted the Parks and Wildlife Office to have it returned to its nest.

Phil and Aaron were sent to the Island to meet Ranger Greg on site. Following a successful climb to return the chick to its nest, Mum and chick were happily reunited within 12 hours. Phil, Aaron and Telstra were thanked by locals and Parks and Wildlife for their quick response and caring attitude towards the environment.

Have you ever had a wildlife encounter of the caring kind?

Related Links: