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It is spring here in Australia- the time of young; the ‘baby-boom’ season of nature. It is usually at this time of year that we Carers become inundated with animals, especially juveniles and babies.

After a quick look at my last couple of blog entries, I see that the last time I posted was in May. It has been fairly quiet (as expected) up until now. Two weeks ago we received a call to come pick up a couple of Pacific Black Ducklings; the mother had walked off with her brood, and these two had somehow been left behind. Two days later we received another, similar call. Except that this time Mother Duck had been frightened by dogs and had walked off with one duckling tagging along, while the remaining seven were left behind. The residents had already caught them when they rang us. As all the ducklings were around the same age, we put the two from before in with the newest seven so they could grow up together. Unfortunately, one duckling died the next morning (I am unsure as to what was wrong). The remaining eight are well 🙂

Last year we were flooded with ducks, so far this year we have had more magpies than ducklings (though I shouldn’t speak too soon). On the 17th we got in a young magpie that was bleeding a little from the tip of the beak, but was otherwise ok. He is now being crèched with other young magpies by someone else. Most birds do better when crèched with others, and fret when are left alone. Five days later we got in another young magpie, which we also passed on to another carer to be crèched; and yesterday we got in two more magpies from a Vet Clinic (one juvenile, one still a chick to be hand-fed).

In the meantime we also received a Murray Magpie chick that had been found in someone’s roof gutter. They had taken it inside, but by the time we were able to come and get it, bring it home and try to warm it up it was already too late. The poor thing had been chilled for too long. If you are reading this and you one day find an injured or orphaned animal, please remember that the first thing that needs to be done is to keep the animal warm. Warmth is the first requirement. If it is obvious the animal needs immediate medical attention, take it straight to a veterinary clinic or animal hospital. If for any reason you find yourself looking after an animal the first thing to do is to warm the bird or animal up to about 32 degrees (Celsius) with a desk lamp, electric heat pad or hot water bottle. Don’t feed them for at least an hour, and leave them in a warm, dark quiet place to recover from shock.

Before you even think about feeding an animal, make sure you know what you have so you can give them the proper diet and the best chance at survival.

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Just a quick post to say that, yes, I am still around! There isn’t anything to report on Fauna Rescue side of things as it tends to be pretty quiet this time of year. At least where I am it is anyway…

All Lorikeets are going well. I’ve been seeing a few wild ones around too; in fact, there is one pair of Rainbow Lorikeets that come back almost every day to sit in the small pencil pine tree outside my window. I love to watch them as they chew on the nuts and branches and whistle to each other. They are colourful birds (hence the ‘rainbow’ in their name), but they also blend very well with anything green. Their backs are almost solid green, meaning their camouflage is so good it’s almost impossible to see them while they are foraging for food in trees and bushes. 🙂

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We have three Lorikeets here now. Unfortunately, two of the Musks that were here died a few weeks back; both from different circumstances. The first we had picked up from another wildlife carer, and had been attacked by a dog. We think it had died due to unknown internal injuries from that attack. The second Musk was the one I had rescued from the road. The two of them were very happy together you see, and when the first one died, this one started pining. He stopped eating as much. I tried hard to get him to start eating properly again, even got him checked up by a Vet…but he still died two weeks later 😦 I’m still sad about it actually. Both were very nice, friendly birds. Before the second one died, we got in a third unreleasable Musk to give him company. He was doing very well, but recently we took him back to the home where we first got him from. We did this because we no longer have Musks here; he is now in an aviary with other Musks and a few Rainbows.

In the meantime we got in a baby Rainbow Lorikeet. She was found by the public on the ground in a park, being attacked by Magpies. Apparently there were adults there, but none seemed to be her parents. None seemed to be trying to protect her, so beng taken out of that situation was the best thing for her. We had her checked by a Vet, who told us she shouldn’t have even been out of the nest yet. We decided to keep her on here. That was almost seven weeks ago. She has always been quite an active young bird, and very eager to fly. She can often be seen flapping her wings vigorously, and screeching in delight (it’s possible she was doing this on the edge of her nest, accidentally caught a good breeze and got blown out of  the tree). Now she can actually flutter a few metres, but hasn’t been gaining much height- yet. She has been getting louder too, and I have often described her as being ‘like a kid on red cordial’.

About three and a half weeks ago we adopted a Lorikeet from the RSPCA, though he doesn’t seem to be quite as tame as the RSPCA thought. Then again, he did spend about a month with them after he was found, and they don’t always have the quality time to spend with all the animals in their care. This Lorikeet frequently growls at people, but though he puts on a very good bluff he hasn’t bitten anyone yet.

Our most recent rescue was yet another Lorikeet on the road. This time it was my mum who spotted him. There he was sitting slap bang in the middle of a right-hand turning lane in the middle of an often-busy road. Like with the Musk I spotted back in February, this one, too, gave me a good telling-off when I grabbed him off the road; this one, too quietened down when I held him under my jacket. We also had difficulty getting this one to let go of my jacket when trying to put him into a box to let him recover a bit. At first we weren’t sure whether he was going to make it, he was in quite a bit of shock and slept a lot, only waking for a few minutes at a time to nibble on some bottle-brush. He didn’t seem to have a concussion, however, so that was good, and after a couple of days he brightened up a bit, became more active and ate quite a bit more (in fact he seemed to eat the same amount as our adopted Lorikeet, if not a bit more). He is now outside with the other two Lorikeets. As we now have three Rainbows in the large cocky cage, we thought it best the Musk went back to the carer we got him from, as he was already being chased by the adopted lorikeet and didn’t like the younger one one bit. All seem relatively happy now though.

Other Rescues: It’s actually been pretty quiet, so we haven’t had many call-outs. The only two other rescues so far was one Blue-tongue lizard that had to be put down because it was hit by a car, and a male Murray Magpie. Actually the magpie was a bit of a strange case. He had somehow got tar or a similar substance stuck all over his wings and tail (and therefore had twigs and leaves stuck in his feathers too). The vet couldn’t wash it out so, unfortunately, he had to be washed and have his wings and tail clipped. In fact, he was probably one of the cleanest wild birds I’ve seen in a while after that :). We got him to a new home where he will stay until his feathers grow back, and then will be creched with others and re-released back into the wild.

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Yesterday, mum and I were out at the shops trying to spot an injured raven mum had seen earlier in the afternoon, but we couldn’t see it. We then received a call to come and collect a lizard that had been attacked by the resident cat.

The lizard was a baby blue-tongue, and looked as though it hadn’t been born all that long ago (it was approximately eight centimetres long). The lady told us that the cat had got hold of it; she managed to save the lizard and put him back in the garden. A couple of days later and the cat had caught the lizard again. It had been bleeding a bit so she called us. The lizard also had couple of puncture wounds where the cat had had hold of it; concerned for the lizard’s health (as there’s something in cats’ saliva that’s toxic to animals) we took it straight to the closest animal hospital- which was, unfortuantely, closed. Knowing that all other vet clinics were likely closed too at this time we called Minton Farm. We were able to get the lizard up there, where he is now being looked after, and has been given antibiotics. How he is at this moment, however, I don’t know as I haven’t yet checked up on him.

We ended up bringing a Lorikeet home with us the same day- some company for the one we’ve has here for a couple of weeks or so. The first one we found on the side of the road on our way somewhere; he has a small head wound that is healing now but is ok. However, he is also unreleasable (meaning he can’t be released into the wild). As lorikeets are sociable birds we’ve been ringing around, trying to see if anyone else had another unreleasable lorikeet that they wouldn’t mind passing on. So far without too much luck- until this one came along at Minton Farm. Of course, it was hoped that he/ she was releasable but it turns out he/she’s not flying properly- and is also behaving almost tame. Both lorikeets eat out of my hand, or the dish when I hold it for them.

Most unreleasable animals are found homes- though some stay with the carers that intially looked after them when they first came into care.

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Our most recent call- out was to come get a mother duck and her five ducklings out of a pool, as the owner was worried what might happen as she had just got a dog.

When we got there we had a look at the situation. Mother and brood were swimming around in the pool, which looked polluted; the water was almost white. We tried catching the mother first. She flew off then came back a few times, always landing on the back lawn and calling to her young. However, the ducklings seemed to have been having trouble getting out of the pool. The water level was just a little too low for them to be able to jump out, and there wasn’t anything floating on the water for them to jump onto.

As we were having too much trouble catching the mother (I didn’t have high hopes catching her either as we never seem able to do so), we went for the ducklings, whom proved a tricky lot to catch. All five kept diving underwater, staying under for a few seconds, and then appearing again on the opposite side of the pool to where they dived. As the water was so murky, we couldn’t see them once they’d gone under so could not track their movements and get nets underneath them. The situation was proving more difficult than what we first thought. As the ducklings continued to dive and elude us, I grew more concerned as they couldn’t get out of the water. We tried calling for assisstance from the RSPCA and Fauna Rescue (other members), but no-one was available to help. We were on our own. At this point in time, I was quite concerned that this was going to turn into a disaster. Mother duck was there, and her young were calling to her but seemed unable to get out of the water to join her; the water was polluted and the ducklings kept diving and avoiding our nets. If the ducklings kept up the diving and could not get out of the water, it was a possibility that they would drown.

After a little while, however, one duckling managed to jump out of the pool. It ran off to join its mother somewhere at the back of the yard (a yard full of bushes, creeper, shrubs, webs and mice). At least one duckling was out of the pool, but mother was being rather quiet. Not wanting to tire out the ducklings, we stayed back, trying to get some assistance from other people. No one could help. The owner placed a couple of rakes and the pool net in a corner of the pool where the ducklings had got out before, with the ends floating in the pool so the ducklings could use that to get out.

In the meantime mother duck had lead one duckling into the garage. I followed her in and closed the exits. My mum came in too, and we went for the mother again. She fluttered a bit and came crahsing down, landing in a small box of glass bottles. Mum threw a towel over her and tried wrapping it around her to get hold of her. The duck managed to slip out of the towel but, before she could flutter away again, I grabbed her and quickly shoved her into the cat cage we had brought with us. We now had the mother. All we had to do now was catch her young and we could relocate them all. If we had not caught the mother, we would have caught the ducklings and raised them ourselves.

We had to wait for the ducklings to get out of the pool themselves, as they would be much too hard to get out with nets, as they kept scattering and diving out of sight. I took mother duck, in the cage, to the lawn and placed her near the pool where she and her ducklings could see and hear each other. I hoped that this would coax the ducklings out. Four were still in the pool, one was hiding somewhere in the garage where its mother had left it.

After a long wait, the ducklings in the pool finally started to come out, one at a time and with much difficulty. However, I lost track of one. as I did not see him come out and had not seen him for a while I grew concerned that he had drowned. The owner pointed out that because we had not been watching the pool every second (I kept checking to see if I could find the duckling in the garage) it was possible that he had jumped out of the pool when weren’t watching.

Mother duck was very quiet, and would not call to her young. We found this a little strange but came to the conclusion that she did not want her ducklings found once they’d come out of the pool so did not call to them. As we waited for the remaining three, I kept checking in the garage. At one point I heard peeping, checked again in the section where mother had hidden, and finally found the little duck hiding right in the corner. I called to mum who had the nets, and we captured him. We put him in a seperate basket and placed him next to his mother in the yard. One duckling down, four to go.

Finally the others came out one at a time, and looking quite tired; immediately after getting out they ran and hid in the creeper amongst the bushes. They were all scattered now. In the meantime I was having second thoughts as to whether one had drowned or not; there was no body floating in the water like I thought there would be if it had.

Once all the ducklings were out, we began our search for the ducklings now hiding very quietly in the garden. Walking around quietly and peering into bushes and the creeper that seemed to cover that entire section of the yard; I kept my ears open for any rustling or peeping. After a while I heard movement, and saw the leaves of the creeper move that indicated there was a duckling in there. Mum and I grabbed our nets and tried blocking his way. It was very diffcult. The duckling was right up against the fence and at one point hid behind a sheet of metal in the corner; we were also concerned about any spiders hiding in the webs. After a while, however, we managed to catch the duckling and put him with his sibling in the basket.

The next duckling was found in the same section of creeper a little while later, however, he was a little more difficult as he had wedged himself in amongst the small, dense branches of the creeper. Worried he was going to squash himself to death, I did my best to pull the branches away from the duckling but he just wedged himself in further. I pulled on the branches more and tried getting my hand in to pull him out…and then he managed to free himself and ran along the fence a bit. I managed to grab him too, and now we had three ducklings.

We searched a little for the fourth, but all was quiet, it was getting late and we had to get the others home. Mum let the owner know to call Fauna Rescue again if she spotted either of the two missing ducklings (including the one that we weren’t sure had drowned or not) the next day. We weren’t going to be on call, but we had the family, and would be keeping them for a little while for observation before relocating them.

As they talked I continued the search, but only found mice staring at me from the back fence and running up and down a small tree. If the missing ducklings didn’t survive the night, or got themselves caught in the bushes the mice would most certainly get them.

We picked up the mother and ducklings, and were just turning to leave when I spotted movement in a bush right next to the pool. The wind was blowing but the movement was not consistent with the wind. Deciding to check it out in case it was one of the ducklings, I carefully walked over, knelt down and pulled back the leaves of the bush. There, sitting quietly was a Pacific Black Duckling. He was obviously tired, and had his head in between branches, but I got him out easily. Mum and I were relieved, and the owner looked absolutely delighted. Only one to go now, unless he had drowned, but we weren’t one hundred percent sure of that.  Once again mum let her know to call us if the last duckling showed up, and we took our leave.

Back home we had to put the family in the cocky cage, which would be fine for one or two days. Mother was of course agitated and tried finding a way out, even trying what she knew was the door. We realized that she and the seven slightly older ducklings we already had in our care could hear each other. The ducklings wanted to see this mother duck, and mother duck wanted the ducklings she could hear. She even seemed to be ignoring her own ducklings to answer the others.

We rang a couple of people on the matter, and both gave us the same advice. Try putting one of the older ducklings in with mother and family and see what happens. If mother accepts that duckling, she would likely accept the rest; it’s what she wants. I put one duckling in with her and she accepted it straight away. The remaing six strayed out of their pen, and we hearded them towards the cocky cage. Mother duck watched and called out as we rounded the rest up and put them into the pen with her.

I don’t think any of the ducks could quite believe it. Mother duck suddenly had a bigger family, and the seven ducklings suddenly had a mother again. Mother duck calmed down considerably once she had adopted the others. We were very pleased with this unexpected turn of events.

At about nine o’clock at night we got a phone call. It was the owner. As it turned out the last duckling was alive, and was swimming around in the pool crying out for its mother. We were relieved it was still alive, but I also felt guilty that we had left it behind. It was dark now, so we quickly grabbed torches and drove back to the house. On the way I hoped we would make it in time. The duckling was all alone, swimming and would get chilled very quickly without mother’s warmth; I was also concerned that he might drown from exhaustion (like we had thought had happened in the first place). We got there, and the owner came out with the pool net, a sodden and tired duckling inside. I gently took it out, placed it in the basket and wrapped the towel around it for warmth. We thanked the owner, relieved the duckling was caught so quickly (the net was still in the pool, and when the duckling jumped in she just scooped him out). I kept a close eye on the duckling on the way home, hoping he wasn’t too chilled; I heard him call out at one stage and knew he was warming up.

Back home I placed him in a box inside, grabbed a sibling from the others outside (with mother hissing a little) and put them together. This was to give the little duckling time to warm up and get his strength back before putting him with the others. Fortunately it was a relatively warm night, as the lamp we use decided not to work. We left the siblings together for an hour so (with food and water), before deciding that the newest arrival was ok and that they would be best with their mum. Mother duck had settled well with all the ducklings, and we placed the two in there with no problems. The newest seemed to recognize mum and cuddled in with the others straight away. My only concern was that because the other seven were older, they were also bigger than mother duck’s five. It was also a little cramped in there and I was worried someone might get squashed overnight; I took out their swimming water and gave them a large water well instead.

Next morning all was well; they had all settled with each other completely and everyone was alive and well. We contacted another Fauna Rescue member who could take them to her sister’s dam on an adjoining property to hers. It was a bit of a walk to the dam, but was well worth it. Food was put out for the ducks, and then we released the ducklings onto the dam. They gathered together and started swimming away. I then released mother (who was facing the wrong way at first). She immediately swam to her biological and newly- fostered young. The ducklings fell into line behind her and they swam away across the large dam. We watched on in delight as mother lead her young to a small ‘island’ near the other side of the dam…

Being able to successfully re-release animals back into the wild is the best feeling. They are back where they belong. Some days are very trying but it’s rescues like these that make it all worth while. Not only did we succsessfully catch mother, her entire family and relocate them, but she adopted the seven orphans we already had in our care as well…and they were all released together; one big happy family. I couldn’t have hoped for a better outcome 🙂

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The Crimson Rosella survived his second night with us, but he wouldn’t take the medicine and his condition wasn’t improving. So on the 15th we took him to an Animal Hospital to be assessed by a Vet to see whether the bird had any chance of recovering (it was likely he had brain injuries), or whether it was better to have him put to sleep. Later in the day the Vet phoned to tell us that he was put to sleep.

The next day we received a call to get a mother duck and her ducklings out of a pool, which was quite surprising seeing as how we had thought that the breeding season was over (however, looking it up later it says that these guys breed if there’s been flooding).

The pool was quite deep but empty except for the three fet or so of water in the deep end from all the rain we had had. There was the Pacific Black mother duck and her seven ducklings, swimming around.  We had no way of getting to them, and had no nets or pool cleaners with long enough handles to get to them from the other side. So we called in the RSPCA for some help.

We got close to catching the mother, but then she flew away; which is unfortunate seeing as how without the mother we cannot relocate them all. It was also unfortunate that we couldn’t just walk them to the nearest body of water as it was too far away. We had to get the ducks out of the pool as, even if the mother could’ve somehow got her chicks up those steps she would have lost them to the cats and dogs in the area.

We couldn’t catch the mother first, so we caught the ducklings and put them in a basket in a shaded area where their mother could see and hear them, but she got away again and flew off. So now we have seven ducklings in our care. They are going well so far, and are very cute.

The next day, yesterday, we got a call out to catch a parrot in someone’s yard. He was definately someone’s pet as he wasn’t a native. We tried coaxing him down with some food, and catching him  with a net but he was a very good flier. However, he stayed in the yard and had a little nap in a young tree. Worried that if we tried approaching him with our one net again that he would fly off, we again called for the RSPCA’s assisstance. This bird was defeniately someone’s pet, so if he got away his chances of surviving in the wild were slim as he didn’t have the necassary skills to survive for long.

Even so, he was certainly clever and stubborn. With the RSPCA’s help and nets we almost had him caught in the tree, however, he found a gap, flew under the nets and onto the roof of the shed. I was a little surprised he wasn’t flying too far (I’m gussing he liked the look of the yard and the fruit there). Scared him off the shed and he landed in another tree on the other side of the yard. I got under the tree and scared him again, trying to coax him back into the yard (as he was near the fence). He sqawked again and flew off. We were sure he was around somewhere, perhaps in next door’s yard. We had a look but couldn’t find him or hear him.

I had a feeling he was probably hiding somewhere nearby. He was always very quiet unless startled; but we couldn’t spot him anywhere. We thanked the RSPCA officer for coming out, even though we couldn’t catch the bird, and asked the owner of the house to please call us again if the bird came back, and then we left.

A couple of hours later the lady said the bird was back in her yard, and that she knew because she heard him hit her kitchen window- again (he did this the first time). Once again he was in her lemon tree. Knowing we didn’t have much of a chance of catching this cheeky parrot in the daytime (as he was too good a flyer), we decided that perhaps trying at night when he couldn’t see might be best. The only catch being that we would have to know exactly where he was before nightfall or we wouldn’t be able to see him. We said to put some fruit out and try coaxing the bird down by calling and talking to him (without scaring him). We were hoping that if he was tired and hungry enough he just might come down to her. We were going to wait until dark to catch him if he was still there. However, when we rang back to see how things were going, the lady said that he had been there until about fifteen minutes ago. She said she’d ring back, however, if he came back to roost. We didn’t hear back from her, nor have we heard anything yet today either. We can only hope that he was smart enough to stay high and find a suitable roost (not to mention food), and that he’s still in the area somewhere. He could’ve flown a fair distance. He was looking healthy otherwise, and so I have a feeling that he couldn’t have escaped too long ago.

At the time we even thought of calling up the RSPCA too see if anyone had reported a parrot missing (if so they could perhaps come and call him down to them), but when the RSPCA officer called (the parrot was on the shed at this time) there was only one report, and it was for the wrong type of parrot.

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A few days back I got in a Magpie-lark (otherwise known as a Murray Magpie or Piping Shrike). It was only a chick, and we picked it up from a nearby veterinary clinic. I was a bit nervous about looking after it, as I usually pass them on. These guys are more difficult to look after than Australian Magpies (even though their diet is pretty much the same). This chick was tired but vocal on the way home and called out for food, so I gave gim something to eat. He didn’t take a lot, but I was glad that he had taken something. I was still concerned though, as he spent most of the time dozing.

The next morning he barely took anything at all, and was looking more drowsy than before. Concerned about his well-being, we took him to Minton Farm. Murray Magpies are more difficult to look after, they are rather fussy. I have decided to continue doing what I did before, and pass on any more of these birds that come into my care onto more experienced carers. Australian Magpies I can look after, but these smaller magpies…

I have recently been informed that the little Murray Magpie chick died soon after we dropped him off. Of course, there could be more to it than just the fact that he didn’t eat much. It’s probable that he fell out of the nest (he certainly wasn’t supposed to be out of it yet); therefore he could have sustained an internal injury. Sometimes you just don’t know until it’s too late.

The day after dropping the magpie off, I received an adult Crested Pigeon. The RSPCA officer who brought him had received a call to get a possum out of a flue, so she was surprised to find a pigeon instead…how it got down the chimney I’m not sure (quite possibly fell down). We kept him here for a couple of days for observation (he may have been in a bit of shock). He was going quite well but was raring to leave. Today we released him back into his home territory. As soon as I opened the lid of the basket he took off like a bullet and flew to one of the higher trees. I think it’s safe to say that he was quite relieved to be home and will be alright. I do love these successful rescues. Releasing them back into the wild is the best outcome one can hope for. 🙂

Meanwhile, a young Crimson Rosella was brought to us yesterday. He had been found waterlogged, and so the man that had found him kept him in his car to keep him warm (as he was at work at the time). Once we had the bird in a cage we realized he was looking quite drowsy (he was looking half asleep and his head was drooping), and so I put a light on him and a few towels over the cage.

Over an hour later and his condition hadn’t changed. By now all the vets and animal hospitals were closed for the night, so we called Minton Farm. From the manager we were told to put the Rosella into a shoebox so it was dark (we had a light on him but it was bright and we dont currently have any heat pads), and have a 40w globe on the outside about three inches away so the heat would transfer through the box and keep the bird warm.

We found a box that was about the same length as a shoebox but its sides higher (the Rosella would’ve been too big for the shoeboxes we had); I punctured holes in the top and sides for ventilation, lined the inside with paper, carefully placed the bird inside, closed the lid, and then switched the globe in the desk lamp to a 40w and placed that three or four inches from the box. I then realized that a bit too much light was getting into the box so I placed a thin, oldish tea towel over the light’s side and half the top to make it darker.

I checked on the Rosella about every hour. We didn’t have high hopes for him making it through the night. A lot of birds that receive concussions don’t make it, simply because of internal injuries that can’t be seen. Animals are kept in for observation, and the first 24-48 hours are critical to know their condition. Of course, this Rosella had already had a long, stressful day, and would’ve also been in shock.

I was quite relieved to check on him in the morning and find he was still alive. He still looks rather drowsy and dozes on and off. This morning I gave him some water off a spoon (he drank it) and then transferred him back into the cage. There he went straight for the seed. I noticed that he was still a bit unsteady on his feet, and he seemed to feel for the seed rather than go straight for it. I have noticed that there is a possibility that there may be some blindness in his left eye (it looks rather dull but he keeps it closed most of the time), but I’m not positive at this time.

Today I have given him some medicine. The reason for his drooping his head is that he likely has a headache, so I’m hoping this medicine helps him feel better. Tonight will be another tense one.

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