IN GOOD HANDS: Ash the baby mountain brushtail possum is being looked after by wildlife volunteer Cheryl Cochran after he was found by chance in an empty Rosebank property. He will be in care for six months before being returned to the wild.
IN GOOD HANDS: Ash the baby mountain brushtail possum is being looked after by wildlife volunteer Cheryl Cochran after he was found by chance in an empty Rosebank property. He will be in care for six months before being returned to the wild. Mireille Merlet

Meet the tiny possum rescued from a Rosebank fireplace

MEET Ash. He's a young mountain brushtail possum rescued from a fireplace in an empty granny flat at Rosebank.

His carer Cheryl Cochran, a volunteer with Northern Rivers Wildlife Carers, said the owners were walking their dogs past the empty property when they started barking.

Once inside, they could hear Ash squawking from inside the firebox.

"He had fallen down the chimney, which had a metal flue, and there was no sign of his mum, so he must have crawled off her back and somehow crawled into the top of the flue and ended up in the firebox," Ms Cochran said.

"Luckily it had all been cleaned out, so there was nothing in it.

"He's so tiny, just 200 grams."

Ash is the fourth animal rescued by wildlife carers from a fireplace or chimney in the past three weeks.

It's a concern, particularly in winter, when many animals such as possums and flying foxes are looking for somewhere hollow to climb down.

The problem is, metal flues and chimneys are almost impossible for animals to climb back up, leaving them trapped in fireplaces to starve or dehydrate.

"This year for some reason we've just had so many more calls," Ms Cochran said.

Ms Cochran said the best thing people could do was put bird wire or mesh over their chimney or flue to stop animals accessing it.



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