Wildlife rescue campaigner
TASState RecipientYoung Australian of the Year2012
Greg Irons, the director of Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary has put together a new kind of wildlife rescue program. Tasmania is rich with fauna, but around half a million animals are killed on the state’s roads each year. With no wildlife rescue service operating out of business hours, Greg set up Friends of Carers Wildlife Program, the first community run wildlife assistance service in the state. It arranges free training on basic wildlife rescue, transport and temporary care, and provides Bonorong with a database of willing people on call. Greg became director of the sanctuary at just 25 years of age, and has already enlisted more than 200 volunteers. The rescue service runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week. As a private sanctuary that cares for orphaned and injured wildlife, Bonorong depends on donations and visitor entries – so Greg has set up important networks with the RSPCA and Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife. He is also a familiar face in the children’s ward of the Royal Hobart Hospital visiting with baby wombats and blue tongue lizards to brighten sick children’s days and help spread his conservation message. Greg’s deep understanding of Tasmania’s wildlife, and his passion for conservation values, is helping preserve the state’s precious environment.