It has been a fascinating time for some of our WILVOS carers. A very experienced furless ‘pinkie’ macropod carer has been training some of our rehabilitators in the care of eastern grey kangaroos. Jo has raised these little joeys from a very small stage but they are now furred and ready to move on.
Our new kangaroo carers are doing well, and finding that it is a little more difficult and time-consuming than looking after birds and possums. Nevertheless they are doing an excellent job and will be the competent macropod carers of the future.
Ideally, a joey would go through their twelve or more months of care with the same foster ‘Mum’. Because of the different facilities needed and time constraints, these animals pass through the hands of sometimes three wildlife carers, so it is important that our care practices are consistent and similar. Stress is one of the biggest killers of wildlife, especially with eastern grey kangaroos. We try to minimize the impact of stress from the humidicrib to the release paddock.
The little joeys at the moment are learning to adjust to the noises outside and to lie on the grass in their bags, grazing as they would from their mother’s pouch. The grass or dirt will often tickle their noses, and be followed by a sneeze. It is an entertaining time for carers.
It is hoped that all these little macropods will go through to eventual release in an area, as safe as possible from predators and human impact.
WILVOS have just had the privilege of having Ann Moran, botanist, taking some of us on a walk at the beautiful Ewan Maddock Dam and pointing out some of Australia’s amazing flora.
Being 8am on a cool Sunday morning, there weren’t too many of us so we really did get to learn so much in a short time.
Because our rehabilitating wildlife are all being returned to the wild it is imperative that their sole food source is a natural native diet by the time they are released. Otherwise, we are compromising the animals future health. It was fascinating to find out which trees fed our birds over the dry winter months and which foliage was poisonous to our marsupials.
There are native plants such as Posion Peach Trema tomentose which could kill our possums in care if we didn’t give them enough fresh foliage each afternoon. We usually like to give around eight varieties of flora, with at least a minimum of five different plant species. Our native animals are discerning enough to be able to make the correct choices! Well, usually!
What may be poisonous to our marsupials may be acceptable to birds. It is suggested that birds can spread the seeds further afield so all the poisonous plants don’t take over one area. Sounds logical.
We also tasted some delicious native food that was palatable to humans. I’m sure it is more nutritious than our fruit that is transported for long distances and sits on supermarket shelves for some time. Not to mention the fact that we don’t need to sort our native fruits into exact looking, exactly the same sized, unblemished groups. I have enjoyed the ABC’s “War on Waste” on TV!
Every day is a learning process with our Australian native wildlife, and there are so many different facets.