Unlikely wildlife warrior thrives after politics
The region's next high profile wildlife warrior has emerged as a former deputy mayor who upset some over his stance on native cottonwood trees during his tenure.
Former Division 2 councillor Tim Dwyer recently returned from a stint in the outback working with some old mates to help conserve an often-overlooked animal.
Mr Dwyer said he'd been enjoying some time off since retiring from Sunshine Coast Council in March, after a long stint as an elected representative.
He said he'd been due to head north to Bowen, but plans changed and he ended up heading out west of Cunnamulla, to Currawinya National Park for a week with his old friends Mike McLean and Matty Wallace.
They were there to help Save the Bilby Fund CEO Kev Bradley in his efforts to preserve bilby populations.
From working on enclosures to monitoring wild cats, maintaining motion sensor cameras and smoothing roads for tracking, Mr Dwyer said it was a week well-spent, as part of the foundation's efforts to preserve the long-term viability of the animal.
"It was a terrific time to be out there," he said.
"I like getting out there and doing it."
It's not the first time Mr Dwyer has played the role of animal activist, having saved swamp wallabies out near Beerwah some years ago.
Mr Dwyer also confirmed he had given the kiss of life to a possum once before, after a crow had hurt it in his backyard.
He said the possum had been brought into his daughter's room barely breathing, so he "blew oxygen" in its mouth, bringing it back from the brink enough to rush the marsupial to a nearby vet.
That story was first told on the floor of council chambers in a meeting during the previous term, and Mr Dwyer was happy to confirm the details.
Unfortunately his efforts weren't enough to save the life of the possum, but he did recall another more successful rescue attempt at the Metropolitan-Caloundra Surf Life Saving Club many years ago.
With midnight rapidly approaching, and a few drinks consumed, Mr Dwyer said he'd been surprised to spot a small whale washed up on the rocks on the beach in front of them.
He and a few others helped drag the whale into the shallows and nursed it from midnight to 6am, when SeaWorld representatives were able to be consulted.
The whale was then moved in a sling into the Kings Beach Pool for further assessment.
Mr Dwyer said they were able to borrow a Pantech truck from a stunned onlooker to drive the whale down to SeaWorld for treatment, before its eventual release three weeks later.
Mr Dwyer said he grew up on a quarter-acre block near the Caloundra water tower where the fauna had been in abundance, sparking his fondness for animals.
"I try to do whatever I can," he said.
The trees were set to be replaced with almost 2000 new low-growing shrubs and ground covers, while 60 trees were to be planted in the revegetation area and five banksia trees were to be planted in the landscaped area.