Our Autumn move of rehabilitated kangaroos to their delayed-release site is now nearing completion; with their eventual release on 2000 acres of remote private wildlife sanctuary land. Thirty four animals have so far been translocated to the five acre pre-release enclosure with another three to be moved in the next few days. A further 30 kangaroos will be translocated and released in Spring. Kangaroo translocation and release back to the wild has to be undertaken very sensitively and with a lot of care and consideration to achieve full success. Each of these rehabilitated kangaroos has a unique story to tell about the initial ordeal that brought them into care and their ultimate recovery at Possumwood. They include the following:
- Max: A 70kg male with a severe head injury, fractured zygoma orbit and palate and fractured humerus from a MVA. Rescued at midnight from busy road.
- Mum and at heel joey: Both rescued from an animal cruelty situation where they were denied movement and water and where chased by children on motorcycles in extreme heat conditions.
- Venus: An orphan raised from 320 grams to 25kgs at release.
- Maya: A 2kg orphan with a leg deformity that was corrected through surgery. 20kg at release.
- Butterfly: An orphan at-heel joey rescued while drinking from deceased mother. 18kg at release
- Mickey: An orphan from another carer following surgery to remove crystals in urethra. 25kg at release.
- Beau: 30kg female kangaroo with a pelvic injury from an MVA. Rescued from a busy highway.
- Banksia: A 20kg female rescued with pelvic injury from MVA.
- Princess Rosalinda: Orphaned 2kg female wallaroo with fractured tail and humerus from MVA. Full recovery and 15kg at release.
- Tammy: 12kg female kangaroo found lying near a dam for several days with fractured pelvis. Full recovery and released at 20kgs.
- Lucy: Mother shot through the mouth by trespassers to a property. Still alive the mother, with infected wounds, still carried her joey (Lucy) but could not toilet her. The mother had to be euthanased and Lucy had ulcerated eyes from the urine in the mother’s pouch. Lucy had to have both eyes sutured closed to allow the ulcers to heal. Lucy has made a full recovery and now is a big girl at 20kg at release.
- Terry: The all-grown-up male joey of a much loved kangaroo from our property called Tangalina.
- Prissy: A rescued fence hanger with full recovery and 20kg at release.
- Gus: A rescued fence hanger with full recovery at 25kg.
- Pixie: Rescued from the ACT before their rangers could shoot her as they tend to do with wildlife. She made a complete recovery from illness and released at 20kg.
- Braid: A 20kg female with joey in pouch rescued from a difficult situation in Braidwood. From Possumwood she has been moved to the delayed release site pre-release enclosure.
- Muffit: A 20kg female raised as an orphan from 750 grams.
- Curly: An at-heel dependent male joey with a serious infection rescued by us. Made a full recovery in care and is now released at 17kg.
- Sassy: Came into care as a 700 grams female furless joey. Dehydrated, undernourished and overheated. Made a full recovery in care and is released at 20 kg.
- Errol: Sassy’s joey, released with her mother
- Ridge: An MVA, fractured tibia. Full recovery. 20kg at release
- Sunshine: Freya’s joey. Released at 18kg.
- Tara: rescued by Steve, severe concussion and end of tail degloved. Full recovery and released at 25kg.
- Ditch: rescued by Steve from a deep hole in the ground into which she had fallen as a small joey.
- Blues Brother #1: A rescued fence hanger. A full recovery and released at 20kg.
- Blues Brother #2: A rescued orphan.
- Cherry Blossum: Orphan from an MVA with a fractured foot and tail. Made a full recovery and released at 18kg.
- Dancer: Orphaned when her rescued mother died from injuries from being caught in a fence. Dancer released at 18kg.
- Beaver: A male Wallaroo rescued with a fractured foot as a joey. A full recovery. Released at 15kg.
- Barney: An infected leg from a dog attack. A full recovery.
- Kenny: Kenny is Lucy’s big boy. He grew up totally at Possumwood. Kenny is around 30kg at release.
- Scooter: A fence injured juvenile transferred from another carer. Fully recovered and released at 25kgs.
- Inca: Offspring of Maya .
Just before Christmas Steve and Rosemary were called to rescue a huge kangaroo that had been hit by a vehicle near Queanbeyan. Max must have been 75kg and 2 metres tall. His injuries included a fractured cheek, fractured upper palate, head injury and severe concussion. His jaw was intact. The rescue was undertaken around midnight and Max was brought back to the Possumwood Recovery Centre for treatment and recovery. As Max continued to improve he became increasingly difficult to medicate. After two months Max had made a full recovery and was taken to the pre-release site prior to final release where he will have no difficulty negotiating traffic as there is none. Max should have a long and happy life at his new home.
On Australia Day Rosemary was recognised for her services to wildlife rescue and recovery in the Palerang Shire at a ceremony at the council chambers in Bungendore. With Steve, Rosemary has rescued and helped in the recovery of more than 4000 injured wildlife over the past 15 years. In 2015 alone more than 350 wild animals were taken in to the self-funded Possumwood Wildlife Recovery and Research Centre for treatment and recovery.
There has been a mystery illness killing the juvenile (last year’s joeys) Eastern Grey Kangaroos in the Wamboin /Bywong area over the last 2 months. The first cases we became aware of were rescued by experienced wildlife carers in the local area; Jo Walker, Tony and Terry Cooper and ourselves. The animals were so weak that the rescuers could often just walk up to them and wrap them in a blanket. Most would die within 12-24 hours despite treatment with warmth and security, fluids, antibiotics and nutrition. Death was so rapid that it was difficult to arrange an examination of a live animal by a vet. The animals had lost weight and were very lethargic. Several had a systolic heart murmur and bradycardia (slow heart rate). The respiratory rate was slow and pattern abnormal. Some had opisthotonous (head arching backwards) and dilated slightly reactive pupils. Several animals had seizures . The one animal who I was with at time of death had a respiratory arrest . Due to the severe weather we have been having in this area some were hypothermic (26-29 degrees). We have had 15 animals either brought to us at the Possumwood Wildlife Recovery Centre or rescued by us and another four were still mobile and not able to be caught easily. There have been many reports by residents in this area of deaths of juvenile EG on their properties. All animals we have cared for have been placed in isolation at our wildlife recovery centre. Dr Howard Ralph from Southern Cross Wildlife Care – the most experienced wildlife vet in Australia – did a post mortem on two animals, Rainbow and Moonbeam, on the 6th of August. Unfortunately Rainbow had died only a couple of hours before Howard was able to examine the animals. Moonbeam had died the night before. Rainbow had a large amount of fluid in the peritoneal cavity (ascites) and fluid around the heart and lungs (pericardial and pleural effusions). There also appeared to be pathology in the brain and meninges. There was food in the stomach and the poo in the bowel was pelleted and appeared normal. Urine dipstick was also normal. Rainbow had some worms (Strongyles ?) in the bowel. There were similar findings for Moonbeam. The possibility that the deaths could be due to an encephalomyocarditis virus was considered. Tissue samples were taken and sent to Sydney University for histopathology. Unfortunately the tissue sample sent to the usual veterinary pathology laboratory for viral and bacterial culture was not able to be processed because we were told private laboratories do not do viral cultures. The animal deaths were reported to the local Wildcare acting macropod coordinator and to Wildlife Health Australia. We were called to rescue a juvenile (Moonshine) from Forest Road at 9 pm on Sunday night 16 August. This little animal was very unwell. The kind staff at the local vet surgery at Bungendore arranged for little Moonshine to be examined by Dr Michael McCormack on Monday morning. As Moonshine was near death, the poor little creature was euthanased and immediate transport to the Elizabeth Macarthur Institute in Sydney was arranged. Dr McCormack’s examination findings were the same as what we have observed.The post mortem findings from the Elizabeth Macarthur Institute were similar to those of Dr Ralph. It is possible that if these deaths are due to an infectious disease then it is the immune system which is making these juveniles susceptible. We are not seeing more than the usual number of deaths in adults or in pouch joeys (who are protected by the mother’s immune system). Some locals have been concerned re poisoning of the animals but the widespread occurrence of the deaths and the selectivity for juveniles suggest that this is not the case. This event brings to mind the saying – Today’s abundant species is tomorrow’s endangered species.