Surprise wallaby rescue

By AG Staff December 11, 2015
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A 30kg male swamp wallaby has been rescued swimming 1km from shore on the NSW mid-north coast.

A MARINE SCIENTIST has rescued a 30kg male swamp wallaby found swimming a kilometre from shore on Arrawarra Beach on the NSW mid-north coast.

Laura Sanchez Peregrin, 29 from Barcelona, is a marine scientist at the National Marine Science Centre at Southern Cross University in Coffs Harbour, NSW. She said she was on a recreational dive with friends when the group made the surprise discovery.

“We had just left the bay when to our surprise we see an unusual shape in the water, which turns out to be a big wallaby,” said Laura, who took to social media to relate the unusual experience, which occurred just weeks after fisherman rescued a wombat from drowning in a Tasmanian lake.

“At first, it was very difficult,” said Laura. “He was defensive and wallabies have huge claws, and we almost gave up and left it all in the hands of natural selection.”

However, the group did not give up hope and managed to bring the wallaby aboard, then tied him down with rope and covered him with a towel to keep him calm for the trip to shore.

“Once we let him go, he stayed there for a bit, exhausted. Then took off, bounced away towards the bush, never looking back,” Laura said.

According to Dr Matthew Swan, an animal ecologist at the University of Melbourne, the wallaby likely took to the water to cool off or avoid predators, and may have been taken out by a rip. “Swamp wallabies are a highly adaptable species, but trying to become a marine mammal is taking things a bit far!” Matthew joked. 

Matthew also commended Laura and her friends for their efforts rescuing the distressed creature. “I’ve caught loads of swamp wallabies usually in much better situations than in a tinny and they are quite a handful,” he said. “A large male is effectively a 25kg ball of pure muscle, with very powerful legs to kick you with.”