LAOKO the local wildlife group is sad to see member Kaitlyn O'Brien, leave the area to take up a position in Oberon.
Looking After Our Kosciuszko Orphans (LAOKO) Snowy Mountains Wildlife Rescue president, Brendan Diacono said Kaitlyn has only a member for a year, but has made a big contribution to the wildlife group despite living in the region for only a short time.
Kaitlyn moved to the area with her partner Sam Kahsnitz on New Year's Eve in 2019, and Kaitlyn took up a short term ranger position with the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) in Jindabyne before working for the Snowy Monaro Regional Council as a Biosecurity Officer, which ended in June.
Kaitlyn got involved with LAOKO after noticing a wombat with mange just over 12 months ago in the Kalkite villiage, where she lived with Sam, and reported it to LAOKO for help.
LAOKO mange treatment co-ordinator, Elena Guarracino said Kaitlyn and Sam joined LAOKO straight away, wanting to help treat the wombat.
"Kaitlyn soon became a valuable and active member of the LAOKO mange treatment team and started treating wombats with mange, after some initial training.
"She also conscientiously checked wildlife roadside-casualties , regularly rescuing orphaned and injured joeys on her way to and from work, and caring for joeys. She was on a steep learning curve, but rose to the challenge, with support from the LAOKO animal co-ordinators," Ms Guarracino said,
LAOKO animal co-ordinators Kylie Clifford and Kelly McMahon said Kaitlyn rescued more orphaned wildlife than any other LAOKO member.
"Kaitlyn regularly dropped into the Cooma Pet Shop and would always have a joey she had just rescued to give us," Mrs Clifford said.
Mrs McMahon said Kaitlyn covered a lot of kilometres in her job as a weeds inspector and would always stop to check the pouches of any road kill she saw.
"Her nick name is "pocket rocket" and she has been really conscientious and compassionate about wildlife in need," Mrs McMahon said.
"Kaitlyn also took on the challenge of caring for orphaned joeys, not an easy task to juggle with work and other community roles."
After many months of care, the two Eastern Grey joeys, Ruby and Charlie, that Kaitlyn had cared for went to pre-release with Peter and Mimi Day at Cathcart recently.
Kaitlyn also joined the SES in Jindabyne and was valuable addition to the Rural Fire Service effort, providing mapping support at Cooma Fire Control, during the horror summer of bushfires in the region.
Her current contract has ended and she is taking up a 12 month contract with NPWS, again as a ranger, at Oberon.
While sad to see Kaitlyn go, Mr Diacono said her contribution to LAOKO has really been appreciated and wishes her well for the future.
"Kaitlyn is a great example of how people can get involved with LAOKO. Checking pouches, keeping an eye out for wombats with mange, lending a hand in their treatment and, with training, caring for orphaned joeys," Mr Diacono said.
Interested in helping LAOKO? Call 6456 1313.