Colleen Gilbee, co-founder of Wildlife Rescue and Carers Shelter on Phillip Island, cares for an injured koala.

Colleen Gilbee, co-founder of Wildlife Rescue and Carers Shelter on Phillip Island, cares for an injured koala.

EVER since Kaylene Mendola and Colleen Gilbee founded Wildlife Rescue and Carers Shelter on Phillip Island over three years ago, they have managed to fund the not-for-profit organisation entirely out of their own pockets.
Now the centre that rescues hundreds of animals each year needs rescuing itself.
“We spend between $18,000 and $20,000 a year of our own money to keep it going and we’re now tapped out,” said Ms Mendola.
“That money is for food, for cages, for medical equipment, medical supplies, etc; it doesn’t go toward our petrol or anything like that. Every single cent goes toward the animals.”
In desperation Ms Mendola and Ms Gilbee started a GoFund me page.
Within the first day, 30 people had donated $1,200 to the Phillip Island Wildlife Rescue and Carers Shelter and an additional $1,200 had been donated directly into the organisation’s bank account.
Individuals who are unable to donate money have gifted other items, such as blankets, towels and even a $600 chicken coop, to the organisation.
“For us, every cent helps,” said Ms Mendola.
“It’s been humbling and overwhelming the amount of support we’ve gotten from people.”
A Wildlife and Basic Photography Workshop has also been set up by Photo Rangers, run by Dale and Cecelia Rogers.
All proceeds from the workshop will go to the Wildlife Rescue and Carers Shelter.
At a cost of $50 per person, the workshop will take participants along Woolamai Surf Beach in Newhaven and teach them how to use their cameras in shutter, aperture, and manual modes, as well as basic composition and post processing techniques.
More information about the workshop can be found at https://www.facebook.com/events/634029320087437/.
“Dale is a really fantastic man,” said Ms Mendola. “They find a lot of animals and they call us straight away.
“He and his partner are just amazing.”
While Ms Mendola is grateful for the donations, she acknowledges that something will need to be done to provide more long-term funding.
Currently, the organization is looking into corporate sponsorships and plans to send letters to the local council and members of the Victorian government.
Wildlife Rescue and Carers Shelter on Phillip Island is the only 24-hour wildlife rescue service in the Bass Coast area.
The organisation provides rescue, care, transport and rehabilitation services for all native wildlife – including seals, possums, wallabies, koalas, lizards, turtles and native birds such as rainbow lorikeets, wattle birds, rosellas, Cape Barren geese and tawny frogmouth owls.
To donate, see the GoFund me page at www.gofundme.com/2cs2eqrc.
A fundraising goal of $20,000 has been set.