Heroic roo rescue from mine shaft

A wildlife rescuer has retrieved four kangaroos stuck in a disused Victorian mine shaft.
By Amelia Caddy December 3, 2015 Reading Time: 2 Minutes Print this page

FOUR KANGAROOS HAVE been rescued from an abandoned mine shaft in south-west Victoria, leading to calls for the state’s countless disused shafts to be permanently sealed off.

Walkers spotted the distressed kangaroos in bushland near Trentham, about 90km north-west of Melbourne, last month and immediately alerted wildlife authorities. When local wildlife rescuer Manfred Zabinskas arrived at the scene he realised just how incredible it was that the kangaroos had been found at all.

The 5m deep shaft was off to the side of an unnamed trail. It was by chance that the three bushwalkers looked over at the exact moment the largest of the kangaroos – an 80kg male – tried to escape.

“It was all just a bit short of a miracle,” said Manfred.

Kangaroos rescued from disused mine shaft

kangaroos rescued from disused mineshaft

Manfred abseiled into the shaft and sedated all four kangaroos; two adult males, a mother, and her young joey.

He then placed them in special bags and hauled them out by rope with the help of the bushwalkers and his partner, Helen, before taking them to the nearby Hepburn Wildlife Shelter.

Gayle Chappell, the shelter’s manager, said all the kangaroos except for the 80kg male, who has since been released, were badly injured when they arrived.

The mother had a broken tail and was euthanised immediately, while the smaller male died from his injuries on the weekend.

The joey, since dubbed ‘Foxglove’, underwent surgery early this week and it’s hoped she’ll make a full recovery and be released within the next year.

Abandoned shafts pose danger to wildlife and people

It’s unclear how four kangaroos simultaneously ended up in one mine shaft, but Manfred said he regularly rescues animals from shafts and it’s “a major problem”.

“I have encountered numerous animals down mine shafts in the past, and that area is absolutely littered with shafts,” he added.

Manfred is now calling on the Victorian government to seal off the mine shafts for the safety of both animals and people.

“We really need them to have a look at the situation in our state forests where we’ve got so many uncovered mine shafts that are just treacherous,” he said.