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How I became a wildlife carer

Six years ago, when we moved here, my partner found a joey on our property. I was absolutely thrilled when the rescuer asked me if I would like to learn how to care for him.

Denise McLean writes:

Six years ago, when we moved here, my partner found a joey on our property. I was absolutely thrilled when the rescuer asked me if I would like to learn how to care for him. I have successfully raised and released many joeys since then.

I have also had my fair share of sadness when the little ones didn't survive. Joeys often sustain fatal injuries when mum is killed and you wouldn't believe the health problems that can occur.

Human expansion and population growth place wildlife at risk

I live 10 kms from town on 10 acres in a small coastal town of 700. There are 2 estates just out of town comprising of 10 to 40 acre blocks. It is not very populated and the local wildlife could co exist with humans. Unfortunately most humans do not seem to be able to accept this.

Most joeys come into care due to mum being hit by a car or by being killed by a domestic dog. Many people don't know this, but even if the dog doesn't actually kill the kangaroo, the exertion from the chase and the stress will often leave the kangaroo with myopathy and it will die.

More and more people are moving to this area and unfortunately, because the councils, builders and the owners don't care, too many trees will be cut down and the wildlife here will eventually loose their ability to survive. It is really tragic as we are a huge tourist destination for many overseas visitors and the main reason they come here is because you can get to see kangaroos in the "wild".

An important message

If you hit a kangaroo, please stop and check to see if there is a joey in the pouch. There is always someone you could contact in the local area, but be aware that not all vets are confident about treating injured joeys and some may euthanase them because of this. On the other hand, some vets are wonderful with wildlife and very sympathetic and helpful to wildlife carers.

Public misperceptions

I cop a lot of flack from the public for being a carer.

"Why would you bother when there are already thousands out there" is the usual response.

"Do you think you have the power to decide who should live and who should not, because I don't feel I have, and every animal deserves the right to life the way it was meant to," is my response.

Kangaroo mothers would not be dead and joeys would not be orphaned and in need of my care, if it wasn't for the greed of humans, the lack of respect for others and roaming dogs (which actually is a lack of respect for others).

Comments

Wildlife carers are the unsung heroes of Australia doing back-breaking and heart-breaking work every single day of their lives, without pay and without holidays. I honour you Denise and all wildlife carers and I just wish that more Australians would take care to drive more slowly and carefully on our roads, to not use barbed wire fencing, to not buy meat that comes from native animals and not shoot at them 'for fun.' All these activities just make more work for amazing individuals like Denise McLean.

My sincere condolences for the tragic loss of Raini last week. You must be devastated ....