Orphaned native animals are not pets nor a substitute teddy to a child. They are highly stressed animals and often dies with incorrect husbandry and care. Anyone finding a joey or injured native animal should immediately call a wildlife rescue group for advice. To learn raising orphaned joeys, the ideal start is to learn about the species in the wild. Where do they prefer to live? How do they interact with their own species and other species? Are they territorial and how do they communicate? What is their preferred food, how long is the joey dependent on its mother and what are their threats? Many questions and the more knowledge the better understanding of some of the need for a successful released animal. Many years ago, we joined Wildlife Rescue South Coast and went to numerous courses to learn about raising native animals. Many different species have arrived at our Sanctuary including Wombats, Macropods, possums, gliders, birds, turtles and a few echidnas. As the numbers increased, so did the need for bigger and better enclosures. Our current large enclosures give the animals a great start to rehabilitation, exercise and a smooth transition to release.
Wombats are intelligent, emotional, determined, playful little “tanks” and prefers to have constant physical contact with the mother. Therefore, we often buddy them up with another orphan or two or three. It teaches them “wombat language”, behaviour and gives them comfort but each individual is different and they don’t all like each other. Monitoring, access to burrow activities when old enough and adjustments are always needed. Different age joeys have different needs and therefore we provide slow transitions to their next stage towards an independent confident free-living adult. When the wombat joeys are old enough, it is vital they have access to burrows. A wombat who doesn't know how to use a burrow will most likely not end up in a good shape as a released animal.
The gentle giants so unfairly treated by our Government. In 1992, one week before our first of two sons, Jarred and Jake, was born. Our first orphaned native animal, an Eastern Grey Kangaroo made his way to us. A local man turned up with a joey laying exposed in the back of his ute, asking if we wanted a “pet” for our new baby. He grabbed the joey by a rope that was tied around the joey’s legs, (the joey “dangling” in mid-air) and saying, “Just shot the mother” and then handed the joey over to us. The poor joey was of course in shock and had “burn” marks on his legs from the rope. After desperately trying to find someone who had the skills to raise a joey was unsuccessful, we had no choice but to take care of him ourselves. Doing all the research we could and numerous phone calls and a vet visit, it was a miracle that the joey survived and eventually joined the local mob.
Red-necked wallabies are affectionate and get on well with everyone. Sadly, they are often the victim of untrained people wanting to keep them as pets with disastrous results. Many have arrived at our Sanctuary malnourished, dehydrated and with missing fur (stress alopecia), and scold marks from urine and diarrhea. Like the kangaroos, we raise more than one at the time as they create their own mob and then after release they join our older released kangaroos and wallabies.
There is only one way to describe a Swamp Wallaby. “Hello, I’m a Swamp Wallaby and here I am”. They are cheeky, independent, incredible inquisitive and full of character. They rule the Sanctuary and like to boss everyone around. They also prefer the company of their own species but will make friends with both kangaroos and Red-necked wallabies.