THE BOBCATS: A HOME FOR WILDLIFE AND A HEART FOR THE FUTURE
Each September, WWF recognises the ‘Include a Charity’ campaign, which celebrates supporters choosing to continue their impact after their lifetimes by including WWF in their Wills. This year, we are recognising two such supporters who have chosen to create a lasting legacy for nature.
Bob and Cathy Stuart jokingly call themselves the ‘Bobcats’. Their blended name is not just clever, but also incredibly fitting, as it represents their long-time dedication to wildlife.
In 2003, Cathy became a volunteer wildlife rehabilitator, looking after a wide variety of animals either in wildlife shelters or, when the animals needed around-the-clock care, bringing them into their home. Over the years, they opened their home to an incredible variety of animals. Bob jokes that he wasn’t keen on the aroma of seabirds in the house, but they were all welcome, and they were all special. Though mothers will never admit to it, Cathy did have her favourites: Quendas, Black Glove Wallabies and Sacred Kingfishers. She even had the privilege of caring for a couple of animals for Perth Zoo including a long-nosed potoroo.
“Unlike the human patients I nursed to health in my career,” says Cathy “wildlife don’t always realise when help is being offered. But on the occasions that they do put their trust in you, it’s a very special experience.”
Take Dennis, the 35kg western grey kangaroo who allowed Cathy to care for him during a 5-week period in which he was unable to stand. Once he finally did stand, that was it, he never let Cathy or anyone else get close again. For giving her that privilege, he is one she will always remember fondly.
Cathy and Bob recognise that, as our climate becomes more and more extreme, so too will the loss of wildlife, their habitat, food source, shelter and roost sites. It’s particularly upsetting to Cathy when news coverage of a disaster, such as the ever-increasing bushfires, reports on the number of humans and buildings impacted, but fail to recognise the impact of these disasters on wildlife and their habitats. She says this is “an example of how humans don’t always think of the other species we share this planet with. Sure, it is good news when a fire causes no loss of human life... but the impact on their livestock and on the wildlife of the area is devastating and long lasting.”
Cathy and Bob have spent decades supporting and advocating for wildlife, and they don’t want that support to stop just because they aren’t around anymore. They have both chosen to include a gift to WWF in their Wills so that their lifelong passions will continue long after their lifetimes;
“The work WWF does to protect and promote care of our precious wildlife and their habitat is vital, and we are both happy to support the cause. We hope our donation in our Will, when the time comes, will be helpful in continuing the work.
Of course, none of us know what the future holds, but we remain committed to supporting you.”
The Bobcats are leaving an incredible legacy for Australia’s wildlife. You can too. Please consider including a gift in your Will to WWF just as Cathy and Bob have, and ensure the causes you love are protected into the future.
Have you been putting off making your Will? It’s easier than you might think, and is the best way to ensure your favourite causes are supported for future generations. WWF partners with Gathered Here - a free and easy online Will-writing service. Gathered Here are pleased to offer WWF supporters the opportunity to write your Will for free (plus free and unlimited updates of the Will for life). It can take less than 10 minutes to have an incredible impact on our precious wildlife and the places they call home.
BONUS: The Bobcats are on a mission to not just rehabilitate individual animals, but also to increase public awareness to help push a cultural shift towards conservation. As an educational volunteer, Cathy plays a game asking participants to use all the letters of the alphabet to start the name an Australian species - it could be any mammal, reptile, bird, insect, fish or plant, anything as long as it is an Australian native. Very few can complete the set, can you? Challenge your friends and family, and launch a conversation with them about the many overlooked species that need our attention and protection.