LAOKO is always seeking new members as support both financially and physically is always needed. There are two types of membership:
- Active Members: These are members who volunteer time towards the rescue and rehabilitation of injured and orphaned wildlife – e.g wildlife carers, wildlife rescuers, snake handlers and those that aid in the euthanasia of severely injured wildlife. The licence that LAOKO holds requires that all persons who work directly with animals MUST be a member of LAOKO.
- Inactive Members or Associate Members: These members don’t have the time to commit to animal rescue and rehabilitation however have an interest and compassion for supporting local native wildlife via primarily financial means through paying the yearly membership fee. The membership fees help LAOKO immensely by providing funds for the costs associated with wildlife rehabilitation activities
If you choose to become a LAOKO associate member there are always opportunities available that support LAOKO in important ways that don’t take the time and commitment that animal rescue and rehabilitation does. When Associate Members have a spare few hours or a spare day they can assist with emergency phones, sewing pouches, constructing holding pens, admin work, newsletter, market days, sausage sizzles, educational presentations and fundraising.
To Join LAOKO and become a part of this active volunteer group print a copy of the Membership Form found here. To view the membership form you need the free Acrobat Reader software. If you don’t already have it click here. Either scan and email your membership form to firstname.lastname@example.org or post your completed form. Membership fees are to be paid at the same time and this can either be done online now, or pay via paypal to email@example.com or post a cheque or money order payable to LAOKO Inc.
- Why should you get involved?
Within the Snowy Monaro Region hundreds of native animals come into strife each year for a variety of reasons. Loss of habitat, motor vehicles, harm from domestic pets, diseases, barb wire fences, or pollution are just a few of the many reasons why the local wildlife needs our help. We have a very caring community who want to help these animals in distress however don’t have the correct resources to help them efficiently. Often what is good for the animal can be distressing for humans, and vice versa. LAOKO (Looking After Our Kosczisuko Orphans) is a network of trained volunteers willing to assist these animals in the best way possible. Joining LAOKO gives you the training and the confidence to rescue, rehabilitate and release injured, orphaned and disadvantaged native animals. Becoming a member of LAOKO is a great way to support and give back to the region along with meeting like minded people who also care about the welfare of wildlife.
- What kind of volunteers are we looking for?
Being a small region we often struggle to have enough volunteers willing or able to help out in the field. If you are considering becoming a volunteer we gently urge you to do so – it is extremely fulfilling knowing that an animal has breathed a little easier because of you. To become a volunteer who works directly with wildlife you must be over 18, having a caring nature and be prepared to attend training days. You must also be able to understand the differences between caring for native animals that are destined to be released back to the wild, and the care of domestic animals.
- What can you expect to do?
We have a range of volunteer activities to suit most people. You may wish to be involved with one, or several of these activities, including:
- Staffing the rescue “hotline” that is switched to your home telephone once or twice a month
- Rescuing and / or transporting native fauna
- Providing euthanasia for animals in suffering – gun licence is required.
- Raising orphaned kangaroos, wombats, koala’s, echidnas, birds and other animals, so that they can be released back into the wild where they belong.
- Providing care and rehabilitation for injured animals
- Raising funds and awareness for the group
- Helping out at events by selling merchandise or managing the BBQ
- Training new volunteers
- Providing educational talks and presentations
- Administration (for example, accounting, newsletter compilation, website management, graphic design, marketing, social media management and data entry)
- Helping with sewing pouches and making holding pens/soft release pens.
- Do you need experience to work with wildlife?
You don’t need experience to work with wildlife you just need to have ‘the want’. Volunteers who wish to work with animals will need to undertake rescue and rehabilitation training (which we arrange), so that you know how to handle and care for wildlife. There are separate trainings for each species of animal. We try our best to pair new carers with more experienced carers, who will provide support. You will not be required to take on animals or duties that you are uncomfortable with.
- Is there disabled access?
All of the rehabilitation work we do is from our own homes. The premises LAOKO uses for training courses are suitable for access by people with disabilities. While people with disabilities are encouraged to volunteer, we must point out that If a person’s disability has the potential to put the welfare of themselves, or the animal at risk, restrictions may apply in regard to rescue and rehabilitation activities. Many rescue situations may require the rescuer to be fit and agile! Workplace Health and Safety considerations are paramount.
- What area is served?
LAOKO covers Bredbo, Cooma, Berridale, Adaminaby, Jindabyne, Thredbo, Perisher, Moonbah and Dalgety region at this point in time.
- What are the hours of operation?
LAOKO provides a wildlife rescue service to the community 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. However, individual carers can indicate their availability. People who work may only be available in the evenings or on weekends, while others may have different preferences. When a call comes in to the rescue hotline, we check who lives nearby, who is available at the time, and who has the appropriate training for that type of animal. We try to assign different volunteers, so that the workload is shared. The busiest rescue time is winter and early spring, but rescue calls come in every month of the year. If a call comes to the rescue line during the evening we may ask the caller if they are prepared to hold the animal overnight in a dark, quiet and warm environment.
- Is there anything else I should know?
Absolutely. Firstly wildlife rehabilitation is a government licensed activity, and all carers must work within the regulations that LAOKO set. Mostly these relate to providing a humane and reasonable level of care – which we will train you in. If you have pets, these must be kept away from wildlife in care as it can cause intense stress for the animal leading often to death. Wildlife thrive in quiet and relaxed homes as opposed to homes with noisy televisions and pets. Also bear in mind that while it is not a problem to have children around wildlife it is crucial that interaction is kept to a minimal and is always quiet and relaxed. You may not keep any rescued wildlife as pets under any circumstance – our goal is to get wildlife back into the wild as soon, and to deal humanely with those that can not be rehabilitated.