Woman Tried Pulling Her Dog Away From A Suitcase On Train Tracks — Until She Heard Meowing

The 8 kittens and their mom were left to die in a suitcase.

Credit: RSPCA

Credit: RSPCA

Credit: RSPCA

Credit: RSPCA

When a woman was walking her dog in a remote area in England last month, she saw an old suitcase lying on some abandoned train tracks up ahead but didn’t think anything of it. It wasn’t until her dog, which she was walking at the time, pulled her towards it and started sniffing ferociously that it occurred to her that something must be inside of it.

Still, she attempted to pull her dog away and keep walking, but when she got closer to the suitcase, she heard it: faint meows were coming from inside the suitcase, and this motivated the woman to act fast. She quickly unzipped the suitcase in the corner to peek inside and saw a mama cat and her kittens trapped inside.

The woman rushed to bring the cats to her house and quickly called the RSPCA to come and pick them up. Upon further inspection, they determined that the 8 kittens found in the suitcase were thin and malnourished while the mom was extremely dehydrated. When the RSPCA arrived to retrieve the abandoned animals, they actually separated the 5-year-old mom from her kittens in order to put her in intensive care.

Credit: RSPCA

Credit: RSPCA

“She was kept at the vets as she was so dehydrated and needed a drip, but has since been moved to the cattery to be with her litter and is doing much better,” Amy De-Keyzer of the RSPCA told The Dodo.

At just 5 weeks old, the kittens were very young but seemed to be in okay health. They required food to get them to an appropriate weight and the staff at the RSPCA gave them lots of love to show them that humans aren’t all bad, like the ones that stuffed them in a suitcase and left them to die.

Credit: RSPCA

Credit: RSPCA

In the cutest move ever, the staff decided to name them after the characters from the Disney movie, The Aristocrats, making their names Toulouse, Tiny Tim, Scat Cat, Berloiz, Alli, Duchess, Marie and Eve. Their mom was named Tarini. The shelter hopes to put the cats up for adoption soon, once they are stronger and able to be rehomed.

Since the area that they were found is remote and the woman didn’t hear the meowing until she was close to the suitcase, it’s likely that the suitcase would have been the grave for all 9 cats. It’s a mystery why anyone chooses to put animals they don’t want in a situation they can’t escape from, but it happens time and time again despite the fact that it’s fairly easy to surrender animals to local shelters. This story ended happily, however, and is a reminder to us all that these incidents happen frequently and people should be on the lookout.

Credit: RSPCA

Credit: RSPCA

Mountain lion returned to forest after life in back of circus pick-up truck

The Rescue of This Mountain Lion, Chained For 20 Years In A Circus, Will Move You To Tears  

An animal performer’s life in a circus is anything but glamorous, and keeping them captive for the sake of entertainment should no longer be tolerated.

When Mufasa, a mountain lion chained for 20 years in a Peruvian circus was first rescued by Animal Defenders International, you could see in his eyes how his spirit was absolutely crushed. Listless and perhaps clueless, and used to having many staring eyes on him, he watches on as his rescue unfolds, and it is about to change his life forever.

It’s cited in that major circuses have violated the minimal standards of care for their animal performers set by the United States Animal Welfare (AWA). It is very likely that these animals are first broken to ensure their obedience, and then trained by whips and other dreadful and painful tools. They would spend most of their lives in chains and cages, and the quality of how they are transported from one place to another as the circus travels are far from ideal. It is also very likely that the same cruel treatment are experienced by animals in circuses around the world.

Mufasa has been finally released into the Peruvian forest through efforts of ADI and the locals alike. He seems to be in disbelief as he experiences freedom for the first time in 20 years, but you could at last see the light returning to his eyes as he roams the greenery to his heart’s content.

This beautiful mountain lion has since passed away on December 2015, but this video shows how human kindness can still triumph over human ruthlessness, and that initiatives for the rescue of circus animals should be whole-heartedly supported.

This article (Watch: The Rescue of This Mountain Lion, Chained For 20 Years In A Circus, Will Move You To Tears) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author and

Western Ringtail Possum has been declared Critically Endangered,

On January 6, 2017, the Minister for Environment declared the Western Ringtail possum, nguara as being Critically Endangered, uplisted from the previous listing of 'Endangered'. Under section 14(4) of the Wildlife Conservation Act 1950, four mammals, including the western ringtailed possum, woylie, brush-tailed bettong, Gilbert's potoroo, central rock rat, antina were listed as critically endangered.

Phoebe rescued ringtail possum at HideAway Haven

Critically endangered means these mammels are rare or likely to become extinct. Species moved from vulnerable to critically endangered list after numbers dropped by 80% over 10 years to about 8,000 in just three isolated pockets in south-west Western Australia.  Western ringtail possum's endangered status is blamed on feral cats and foxes, frequent fires from prescribed burning, poisoning by rat and snail bait and habitat destruction as land is cleared for housing developments. 

Mr Falconer (FAWNA president) said based on the numbers collected and studied by FAWNA, (Fostering and Assistance for Wildlife Needing Aid. Based in the south west of Western Australia) the group predicted the species had less than 10 years before it became extinct.  Mr Falconer says “The only way to come back from the brink of disaster is if the Government finds some land for a reserve and creates a breeding area for them. There needs to be money spent and reserves protected by fences created.”

Planting peppermint trees, putting water on fences, and keeping cats and dogs inside at night is one way we can all help.

Western Ringtail Possums are nocturnal and sleep in leafy nests in tree-holes during the day. The actual gestation period of Western Ringtail Possums is not known. Births mostly take place in winter. Young emerge at about three months and suckle until six to seven months.

We have Western Ringtail Possums living at HideAway Haven.  We don't see them very often, but they have been known to sit in our Peppermint trees and watch out guests come and go during the night.  Phoebe is our rescued possum cared and reared by our daughter and released by us at HideAway Haven.  We hear her as she chats to us at night if we are outsde.  Too cute :-)


Gilbert's Potoroo is the world's rarest marsupial and Australia's rarest mammal

Gilbert's Potoroo,  sometimes called the "rat-kangaroo"  is a small marsupial teetering on the brink of extinction. Found naturally only in dense scrub on a rugged, windswept headland thrusting out into the Southern Ocean at Mount Gardner headland, Two Peoples Bay Nature Reserve, just 20 minutes from HideAway Haven, in Amazing Albany on the South Coast of Western Australia. Within that small area (1000 ha), it occurs in at least four separate patches of long-unburnt, dense shrubland on the valley slopes It is estimated there are only 30 to 40 animals in the only known wild population. The greatest threat to its continued existence is wildfire.

Gilbert Potoroo's are a medium-sized mammal slightly smaller than a rabbit and bearing some resemblance to a bandicoot, Gilbert's Potoroo has a dense coat of soft grey-brown fur. Adults range from 900 g to 1200 g. Gilbert’s Potoroo feeds mainly on underground fungi.

Female Gilbert's Potoroos can produce young at any time of year. Young are born 4-6 weeks after mating and are approximately 1 cm long at that stage. They spend three to four months in the pouch before coming out for the first time at around 150g body weight. Within a week, at around 190g, they have permanently left the pouch, although for around a month they will still suckle from the mother. Young potoroos begin to eat solid food as soon as they leave the pouch and over the next few months they gain, on average, 6g/day. They remain in their mother's home range for another month or two but at about six months of age, when their weight reaches 500-600g, they will leave. (source:  Hand-rearing of large pouch young is successful, but it is very labour-intensive.

What can you do to help with conservation?

  • Learn more about endangered species and spread the word to family, friends and colleagues. Our More Information page is a good starting point for further research and includes links to other relevant sites and a list of further reading.
  • Join a conservation organisation such as:
    • Our Gilbert's Potoroo Action Group
    • Australian Conservation Foundation
    • World Wide Fund for Nature
    These organisations can also often offer volunteers opportunities for hands-on involvement in conservation work.
  • Organise a fund raising activity for Gilbert's Potoroo. Donations can be given to:
    • Gilbert's Potoroo Action Group
    • CALM
    • Perth Zoo

If you think you may have seen a Gilbert's Potoroo, or found animal remains which you think could be a Gilbert's Potoroo, please check our sightings page which gives guidance on distinguishing Potoroos from similar animals and complete the online sighting report; alternatively, you can note down the sighting details as listed on the page and contact us at:


HideAway Haven is a luxury 5 star, multi award winning hosted accommodation in Albany, on the Amazing South Coast of Western Australia.  We love creating memories for our guests.  Our passion is sustainability and the care of our precious wildlife.

Honey Possum - endemic to the south-west of Western Australia

The honey possum, also known by the native names tait and noolbenger, is a tiny Australian marsupial and unique to Western Australian Banksia woodlands. This mouse-sized marsupial lives on a diet of nectar and pollen. It can drink 7 ml of nectar a day, which would be like a human drinking 50 litres of soft drink! It weighs just 7 to 10 grams and has a tail (88 to 100mm) that's longer than its head and body combined! 

The Honey Possum is endemic to the biodiversity hotspot of south-west of Western Australia. Feeding solely on nectar and pollen, honey possums play a crucial role in pollinating native plants in the south west. 
The honey possum is mainly nocturnal, but will come out to feed during daylight in cooler weather. Generally, though, it spends the days asleep in a shelter of convenience: a rock cranny, a tree cavity, the hollow inside of a grass tree, or an abandoned bird nest. When food is scarce, or in cold weather, it becomes torpid to conserve energy.
They feed on banksias, bottle-brushes, heaths, grass trees and kangaroo paws.  Females give birth to two to three young – joeys – at any time of year, whenever food is abundant.  At birth, they are the smallest of any mammal, weighing 0.005 g. Nurturing and development within the pouch lasts for about 60 days, after which they emerge covered in fur and with open eyes, weighing some 2.5 g.  They stop nursing at around 11 weeks, and start making their own homes. Although the gestation period of a honey possum is quite short, about three weeks, they only raise about four to six young a year in their natural habitat.
Honey Possums have no means of protection and being largely ground dwelling they are highly vulnerable. Factors that threaten them include fire, habitat changes caused by declining rainfall and die-back, and predation by birds and feral animals such as foxes and cats. In spite of set-backs and ongoing environmental changes the endearing and diminutive Honey Possum is not listed as endangered.  Honey possums have a typical lifespan between one and two years.
If a baby or adult possum is found out in the open during day light hours it means something is wrong with the animal and they will require capturing and assessment by an experienced carer.
Baby possums found without their mother should come into care if they are to survive. Juvenile possums may venture short distances from their mothers so observation is necessary of the possum to see if their mother is close by.  
Most injured or orphaned possums are found on the ground. You can catch them by throwing a towel over them and scooping them up. Place one hand at neck and the other at base of tail (if there are no spinal injuries). If spinal injuries leave possum in the position it has chosen to be in and lift into carrier without changing its chosen position. 
Do not lift a possum from under its front legs like a baby. Always have their full body-weight supported by one hand under their rear and another holding them upright but slightly curled around the chest cavity. Minimising the possum's shock and stress is vitally important as shock is often the number one cause of death in injured possums.  Shock is the loss of heat and fluids from the body, which is a natural response to injury. Interaction with humans causes additional stress to an injured animal and this can kill an already shocked possum. 
If you find a baby possum please take it to one of our carers as soon as possible as young possums need regular milk feeds. We do not recommend that you attempt to raise the possum yourself, unless you are a member of a wildlife care organisation such as Fauna Rescue. 
Young possums have very specialised needs and need specialised equipment. Depending on the age it could need hourly feeds and the longer they are without milk the more their chances of survival decrease.

HideAway Haven is a luxury 5 star, award winning hosted bed and breakfast accommodation in Albany, on the Amazing South Coast of Western Australia.  We love creating memories for our guests.  Our passion is also sustainability and the care of our precious wildlife.


Phoebe - ready for release

Our beautiful Phoebe, a Western Ring Tail Possum who was orphaned when she fell of her Mummies back as she was branch hopping between the trees, is now ready to be a big girl in the wild.  Joslyn hand reared Phoebe for several months until she had gained enough weight to be released.  Phoebe has been out the the past several nights, racing across the deck, trying to climb windows and waking us up.  We think she has ventured further a field now as we don't hear her, but every morning we find her fast asleep in her pouch. She is not eating the food we leave out for her, so she must be getting enough to eat during the night. Western Ring Tail Possums love Peppermint Tree leaves and we have plenty of those in our backyard.

There is little knowledge of the social behaviour of Western Ringtail Possums. They are said to be very solitary and mostly live on their own, but our Phoebe loves it when we spend time with her while she is in her pouch.  We don't handle her anymore as she needs to learn to be a wild child, but she knows where she can be safe and warm.

The Western Ringtail Possum is listed as a threatened species. Their legal status under the EPBC Act (Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999) is "Vulnerable" and under the West Australian Wildlife Conservation Act (1950) they are listed as 'rare or likely to become extinct'.  We are so blessed to have Phoebe here, she can join Polly who is our resident wild possum.

Phoebe came to us from licensed wildlife carers Pauline and Kevin at Dreamers Dream Wildlife Rehabilitation in Mount Barker.  This is now our Sammie Jo's new home.  We are guided by their expertise and knowledge during Phoebes release stage.

"It is such a privilege to share our backyard with a species that cannot be found anywhere else on this entire planet."

Caring for our wildlife is everyone's responsibility

Each year many tens of thousands of native animals are presented for care after being discovered sick, orphaned or injured by members of the community.  The primary aim of rescue and treatment of wildlife should be to rehabilitate and release the animal as quickly and effectively as possible. Animal welfare is a recognition that animals, like us, deserve a life free of pain, discomfort, distress and hunger, and one that reasonably fulfils their physiological, psychological and social needs. Animals that we rescue are often sick, debilitated or suffering from serious injuries;

Who Funds Wildlife Rehabilitation?

Everyone thinks that some agency, probably a government funded one,  protects and cares for wild animals in distress. But this is not the case.  Wildlife carers are trained volunteers who give their time and care free of charge. They pay for the care of wildlife, including VET costs from their own pocket.

Burn out for wildlife carers seems to occur all too frequently these days and it should be everyone’s responsibility to help each other and provide support and finance when we recognise that someone is struggling. 

Little Holly at Dreamers Dream Rehabilitation in Mount Barker.  She was taken into care around Christmas time in 2015.

Please keep your dogs locked up at night

Myopathy happens when a kangaroo is under extreme stress, as is the case when it is being attacked or chased by a dog.

They do not have to be injured directly to develop myopathy, which is a disintegration of the muscle fibres. From within 24 hours up to a few weeks after the incident, they will show stiffness and paralysis mainly in the hindquarters, progressing to complete paralysis, it will also salivate excessively, death will occur within 2-14 days after the stressful incident.

Usually we will not see the kangaroo in this state, as it will go somewhere quiet and out of sight to die.
It is natural for us to think that if the dog did not catch the kangaroo, no harm has been done, the dog had a good run, the kangaroo got away. As you have just read, the kangaroo may have gotten away, but it did not escape a painful and slow death.

It is very unfortunate that this situation takes place on a regular basis in the country, as it is avoidable, just by locking up your dog at night when most Australian native animals are most active.

Be alert to what is taking place around you, especially at night, and help our native animals survive in an ever diminishing natural environment.


Tireless Work of our Wildlife Carers in the Great Southern

Who are the tireless workers in our region who spend hours looking for injured wildlife during the many bushfires.  They are on the ground looking for our wildlife who may be injured and burnt.  Some of them will have been without food, others are scared and hiding. 

Our wildlife carers provide for the animal’s physical and psychological needs.  They must have appropriate training, lots of time, suitable facilities and they are prepared to meet all the costs incurred, such as food, housing and some veterinary expenses.

Wildlife carers  primary objective is to rehabilitate and release these animals back into their natural habitat and to raise community awareness concerning the care and conservation of native animals. 

Wildlife carers who rehabilitate kangaroos are very special people - a rare breed in themselves. So many joeys find themselves orphaned when their mother is killed. Mothers are killed through culling, road accidents and getting caught in fences.

Kangaroos have a very specialised needs, are extremely stress-prone and can die from shock alone. Young joeys need to be fed every 4-5 hours around the clock meaning carers do not get uninterrupted sleep for many months.

Carers sterilise bottles, make formula, feed it, toilet them, wash the pouches they sleep in many times a day and also provide supervised playtime outside in a fully enclosed pen. They make splints for broken limbs and bandage burnt feet.

Vet bills are very expensive as is the milk formula. No government agency compensates carers for their expenses.  Some carers struggle financially and can barely feed themselves after caring for the kangaroos.  

It can take 18 months to get the joey to the point where he/she is ready to be released and costs approx $2,000 each. 

Without our wildlife carers, there would be far few koalas, roos, birds, lizards, snakes, possums and a range of other native animals able to live another day in their natural habitat.

Training and networking is extremely important for our carers, but with most of their money being spent on milk, fences, aviaries and vet bills most of our carers cannot afford to go to these annual conventions.

The Australian Wildlife Rehabilitation conference gathers carers together to meet, learn and share their experiences.  The conference gives wildlife carers the opportunity to learn from each other and from experts in the field including researchers, carers and veterinarians. Topics have ranged from the latest hands-on treatment for wounds to emergency response, fund-raising and lobbying.
The 2016 conference is in Melbourne. It is extremely important that our local carers attend, but as their resources are extremely limited, it makes it very difficult.
At HideAway Haven we would like to show our appreciation and support to our local carers by raising funds to help ease the financial burden. All money collected will be distributed evenly to Great Southern wildlife carers who are attending the conference. 

We have set up a Go Fund Me page raise funds.  Please make your donation here.

Sammie Jo who was orphaned as a result of a cull and Josie as a result of a road accident.