A Q&A with wildlife rescuer Emma Cash

Emma Cash with rescued wombat Syd at her wildlife sanctuary in Mount Evelyn called Bungalook Creek Wildlife Rescue. Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS. 253323_01

1. What is something people don’t know about you?

Completely random and certainly not wildlife related! I was on a billboard overhanging the Westgate Bridge promoting one of the major sponsors for the Melbourne Commonwealth Games.

2. How did you first get into wildlife rescue?

Ah great question and I really have no idea. Native wildlife always fascinated me. To the point where I completed a PhD in Zoology. Rescue was something I fell into and never left. Helping an animal when it is in its fight for its life, is such a privilege. Seeing that same animal be released and wild once again, really gives me purpose. You meet some amazing people when you’re rescuing wildlife too.

3. Where does your passion for animals come from?

I always had an affinity for animals. Tending to animals daily on the school farm was what got me through my school years.

Looking back and discovering old photo albums from my grandad and how much animals were front and centre of his life, I suspect it has come from him and my mum.

The love of the medical aspect of wildlife and treating the weird and sometimes stomach churning injuries, in conjunction with our amazing volunteer wildlife vet’s, has definitely come from dad.

4. What have you learnt about our native wildlife and being a wildlife rescuer since starting?

How lucky we are as Australian’s to have such unique animals on our doorstep, and how stoic these animals are in some of the most horrendous situations.

Being a wildlife rescuer has also shown me how much contempt there is when residents have to share their patch of paradise with native wildlife. But on the flip side, it has also shown me how much compassion there is for our native wildlife when a natural disaster occurs.

5. What do you love most about the Yarra Ranges?

I love that I can walk out the front door and be greeted by a bird and walk down the back and see all the resident wombats and wallabies. We live in such a beautiful part of the world.

6. What event, past, present, or future, would you like to witness?

In the past two years we have had some of the largest bushfires Australia has ever seen, floods, massive storms and a pandemic.

The event I hope I will witness in my lifetime, is when we, as humans, wake up and realise we can’t keep treating Mother Nature with such contempt. Surely by now we have worked out she is not happy?

7. Which four guests, dead or alive, would you invite to a dinner party?

Unsurprisingly my top three would be David Attenborough, Jane Goodall and Steve Irwin, it would be amazing just to sit back and listen.

For a bit of fun my fourth is Scott Cam (from The Block), anyone who knows me well, knows I’m not shy of a bit of DIY. Maybe he can show me how to build a whole kitchen in a day.

8. Who do you admire the most? My family, they allowed me to follow my passion, make mistakes and to stand on my own feet whilst knowing I still had a safety net behind me (I am positive I gave them nightmares on my journey). They taught me to work hard for everything I wanted in life and to realise that following a passion didn’t need to earn me money, but to make sure I had a job that I enjoyed and paid the bills!

9. What are some of your hobbies?

Working full time and running a shelter doesn’t leave a lot of spare time. But when I can escape for a bit I love seeing different parts of Australia, reading, bush walking and garden landscaping.

10. What is your favourite book and/or film?

I really like anything by Rachael Jones, such a great Aussie writer.