Injured or orphaned kangaroos in the Eurobodalla are getting a second chance at life thanks to the efforts of one couple who have opened their house – and their pouches – to the region’s native wildlife.
WIRES carer Rae Harvey and her partner Sayo Prentic, of Wildlife Rescue South Coast, have transformed their Runnyford home into a sanctuary for 19 kangaroos, nursing them back to good health before their return to the wild.
With seven hungry joeys currently in their care, the couple is on hand 24 hours a day, seven days a week for feeding, cleaning and a few cuddles in between.
The couple said the commitment was not something they took lightly.
“We feed these animals round the clock. I do the morning shift and my partner does the night shift, sometimes not getting to bed until 3 or 4 in the morning,” Ms Harvey said.
“It’s also a very long commitment, at around 12-18 months per animal, and every animal costs around $1000 to raise if you’re lucky and they’re not sick.
“So, it’s not something the public should be doing, certainly not without training and being a Wildlife Rescue or a WIRES member.
The mob of roos ranges in age from eight months up to almost two years of age, with many being the victims of motor vehicle accidents on the region’s roads.
Ms Harvey said it was devastating that the Australian icon faced such an uncertain future.
“According to immigration records, seeing Australian wildlife is the primary reason people come to this country, yet we treat them with disdain,” she said.
It’s also a very long commitment, at around 12-18 months per animal, and every animal costs around $1000 to raise.- Rae Harvey
“We think they’re pet food. We hit them with our cars and don’t stop. We don’t care and we see them as pests and they’re not.
“We’re killing them at a rate that is ruining their genetics and we have to do everything we can to keep those genetics strong.
“In one hundred years, there’s going to be none left.”
Vehicle accidents, culling and loss of habitat remain some of the biggest threats to the kangaroo population, with regional areas such as the Eurobodalla especially prone to kangaroo deaths.
Ms Harvey and Mr Prentic urged people to be honest and to follow the right steps upon finding an injured or distressed native animal.
“They’re often surrendered to wildlife groups once they start getting diarrhea, are losing weight and are refusing to drink and are on death’s door,” she said.
“If you find one, try and get them into a pillowcase, keep it dark and quiet, don't let children be around and call an experienced wildlife group as quickly as possible.
“If you do have one in care that you shouldn’t have and you need to surrender it, please do and tell the truth.”