FAMILY KILLED: Pet cat helps wildlife carer save last glider
LUCKY circumstance saved the life of Willow, a feathertail glider whose family was killed and home was destroyed.
Now, wildlife carer David Locke is eager to find it a companion.
When the neighbours cut down a tree more than two years ago to make way for a new building, David knew a home had been lost.
It wasn't until his pet cat brought in a tiny and rare native animal that he realised just what had been living in the tree.
"One of our cats brought a glider in - it's been trained not to harm anything," he said.
The glider was perfectly healthy but was very young, just a baby.
David, who has been a wildlife carer in Australia for more than 46 years, went to check the area where the tree had been felled and found more feather-tail gliders.
"I found three dead other ones - it was so sad," he said.
In the nearly 50 years he had been a wildlife carer since moving from England, David had never seen a live feather-tail glider.
"They live very high up and can actually jump or glide 30 metres and they're only 6.5cm long," he said.
"They are rare - and very rarely seen."
Spending its days sleeping inside small logs in its home in David's house, the surviving glider only comes out at night.
"He's in the little log but, depending on the weather conditions, he might go in his little hanging basket," David said.
It was more than two years ago but, without a mate to pair it with, David is concerned about putting it outside.
"They don't live very long," he said.
"We're hoping to find another one so he can have a mate but to release him now, he would die."
David's cats are just three of the animals living on David's property and all three are indifferent to the wildlife, one barely twitching a whisker when the nearby tawny frogmouth flapped its wings.
"They've all been trained - they won't touch the birds at all."
Among the animals he cares for is a galah with an injured wing, a tawny frogmouth, a young joey rescued from the pouch of a kangaroo fatally hit by a car, and many more.
"There are hundreds - plenty have been released and they don't go, they stay around the property," he said.