29 June 2016

Page 3

Chelsea • Mordialloc • Mentone Your guide to what’s on this weekend for peninsula families

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Wednesday 29 June 2016

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Possum rescue delights

Possum tragic A SUCCESSFUL rescue effort to save a brush-tail possum in Chelsea Heights sparked a social media viral sensation and global online media coverage. Pictures: Phil Wall, Chelsea SES

Stephen Taylor steve@baysidenews.com.au THE heart-warming rescue of a dangling brush-tail possum in Chelsea Heights on Sunday morning has gladdened hearts around the world. The possum’s plight – and the good natured banding together of Amaroo Drive neighbours, the power company, and SES crew to save it – had been shared online by more than 14,500 viewers in the US, Spain, Germany, Italy, South America, the Philippines, and the UK, by Tuesday morning. “It could be the possum that reunites Europe,” quipped Chelsea SES’s Phil Wall, who said he certainly “couldn’t stand by and watch an animal suffer like that”. The female possum’s plight sparked a rescue call about 8.45am when neighbours saw it desperately hanging from a TV cable about four metres above ground and some distance from the power pole on the freezing morning. “She couldn’t go up or down, but was using the cable as a sort of harness to support herself, and making the best of an obviously stressful situation,” Mr Wall said. “She was smart because she had worked out that if she lifted her back legs she could take the weight off herself.” Unfortunately, her baby had fallen

Cnr Springvale Rd & Wells Rd, Chelsea Heights PH: 9773 4453 www.chelseaheightshotel.com.au

out of her pouch, and was discreetly removed. “To see that poor thing hanging there and obviously stressing meant I just had to help,” Mr Wall said. “It was funny but the training just kicks in: I was walking around underneath saying, ‘You’ll be all right, don’t worry sweetheart’ – it just becomes second nature. “She was looking at me and one of the neighbours said, ‘She’s listening to you’,” Mr Wall, who has two ringtail possums in his own garden, said his wife told him to take some banana to give to the stranded possum because she knew how much they liked eating them. Everyone lent a hand: one neighbour called the power company, another came outside with a possum cage and another brought a sheet so, if necessary, the possum could be dropped into it. Two power line workers in a cherry picker put the possum in the cage and snipped the cable. She was lowered to the ground and taken to a vet in a neighbour’s car. Later that day she was taken to Frankston Animal Emergency centre sore, tired and stressed – but safe. She will be released back into the wild when fully recovered. He laughed off callous suggestions made on a morning radio show that “a bullet would have been cheaper”. “I am a volunteer so it was cheaper than a bullet – we all did it for free.”

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