Mid West motorists warned to be alert for joeys

Headshot of Lisa Favazzo
Lisa FavazzoGeraldton Guardian
Belinda and Natalie share a kiss.
Camera IconBelinda and Natalie share a kiss. Credit: Supplied

Early last month a fatally injured kangaroo was left on the side of the road with her joey cuddled up inside her pouch.

Now, a Greenough wildlife expert says Natalie the joey is “inquisitive and alert”.

On May 6, tourists brought the pair to Dongara Veterinary Hospital. Staff removed Natalie from her mother’s pouch and called licensed wildlife carer and Greenough Wildlife and Bird Park owner Michelle Jones.

She saidthe travellers did all the right things to ensure Natalie’s best possible start to life under the trying circumstances.

“Natalie is doing well because of what they did,” said Ms Jones.

Now, the baby roo is “thriving” with her own mob.

Natalie dressed up in the little hat which keeps her head warm and safe during feeding time.
Camera IconNatalie dressed up in the little hat which keeps her head warm and safe during feeding time. Credit: Supplied,

Grey kangaroo breeding season runs from February to July and Ms Jones attends about 50 call-outs a season.

“Not all make it, but many do,” she said.

She says she is happy to assist wild animals in crisis but cannot do it alone.

“I don’t drive past every dead kangaroo,” she said.

“I need everyone’s eyes.”

Ms Jones wants people to contact the Wildcare Help Line on 9474 9055 if they spot an injured animal — no matter their condition.

She said it was cruel to allow an animal to die slowly and she would drive for hours to ensure injured wildlife received compassion.

For people who are prepared to help, Ms Jones has a few tips to keep in mind to ensure they are don’t accidentally harm the wildlife as they try to save the day.

Ms Jones said in some cases, it might be possible to remove an injured joey from the mother’s pouch. However, if the joey is suckling on the teat, it is vital not to tear the baby away.

She advised rescuers to cut the pouch, promising there would not be any blood.

On the trip to the vet or carer, she recommends putting the roo under a jumper — so it can feel a heartbeat — and turning off the radio. “These kangaroos are in a silent world... do not give them anything other than warmth and quiet,” she said.

She also stressed not to give joeys food, which is best left to the professionals.

Joeys should never be kept as pets, she said.

“They look cute and cuddly but it’s six hours a day of looking after and feeding joeys,” she said, adding that grown-up kangaroos were terrible pets.

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