Injured native wildlife in good hands thanks to war medic | Photos, pictures

War medic John Lyle's passion to care for injured native wildlife

THERE are certain things that the horrors of war prepare you for, and one is caring for injured wildlife that would die if left untreated.

John Lyle was a medic with the Australian Army during the Vietnam War and caring for others is at the very core of everything he does.

The war may have been decades ago, but what he learned there helped prepare him to look past the horror of the injury to how the life can be saved.

"It takes a certain type of person to ignore what you see and treat them," he said.

Oberon-based Mr Lyle is among dozens of native wildlife carers around the region and he specialises in macropods such as kangaroos and wallabies.

He also looks after the odd wombat, possum and glider.

And, this week he's caring for a kangaroo that was rescued from a Lithgow stormwater drain that arrived dripping wet, sedated and bleeding.

The roo's feet are now bandaged from wounds it received from trying to escape the drain, and it's eating well and will make a full recovery.

He has cared for native wildlife for the past 21 years and it has been some of the best and worst times in his life.

"It's the worst job you can do and also the best job you can do," he said.

"You can't put a price on successfully helping an animal so they can go back into the wild and reproduce.

"It's the satisfaction of saving a life, any kind of life."

Mr Lyle is a self-confessed "mother hen" and admits it's bittersweet releasing animals into the wild after he has cared for them for so long.

It's the worst job you can do and also the best job you can do.

Wildlife rescuer and carer John Lyle

Some animals only take a few months to recover before being released, his longest treatment time was two years.

"I worry if they'll be OK. If I haven't done my job properly they won't survive," he said.

"Once a male eastern grey had been gone for about four or five years and it turned up again on our property."

You may ask how he recognised a kangaroo when it turns back up again, but Mr Lyle said it's easy.

"Their facial features are all different, they don't all look the same," he said.

A greater glider, which is listed as a vulnerable species in NSW, is among the other animals he is currently caring for.

"It arrived with bad smoke inhalation and totally emancipated because it couldn't find any food after the bushfires, but here it is months later and it's doing well," he said.

"It's an adult female and capable of breeding, and now it can go back in the wild and continue breeding."

Mr Lyle does his wildlife caring on a voluntary basis and pays for feed and vet medications out of his own pocket and admits it is tough.

"It takes up pretty much everything we have," he said of he and his wife Sandra.

"We go without things so we can do this. We don't even have a house, we can't afford it, we live in a caravan.

Mr Lyle is an independent wildlife rescuer and carer, but works closely with WIRES.

Find out more on Mr Lyle's website Care for Wildlife or make a donation.

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This story War medic John Lyle's passion to care for injured native wildlife first appeared on Western Advocate.