VIDEO: Raising joeys

By Allison Garoza 15 January 2016
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Every hour in Australia carers around the country are helping rear orphaned wildlife, from kangaroos to koalas, wombats to quolls.

YOU’RE TIRED. AFTER feeding the baby every few hours throughout the night, your brain is mush. As the sun rises all too soon and you know you have a stack of work to get through, you give the baby another bottle, mind its tail and put it back in the cloth pouch in the back room.

Okay, so we’re not talking about a human baby, but a native Australian joey.

Every hour in Australia carers around the country are helping rear orphaned wildlife. From kangaroos to koalas, wombats to quolls, these carers are dedicating their time to save baby marsupials. They’ll likely become smitten with their charges, but they’ll also become exhausted, covered in fur and occasionally be defecated on.

Many joeys come to them after their mothers have been hit by cars, others were separated during bushfires and some were orphaned when their mother took them foraging but forgot to count how many joeys she left the den with.

Though these joeys were unfortunate to be separated from their families, they were lucky to end up in the care of some very giving humans. At the Australian Ecosystems Foundation Inc. Open Day, I met several carers and asked them what it took to raise their joeys.

Priscilla Weyermann from the Wildlife Carers Network, Central West Inc. often has multiple eastern grey kangaroo joeys in her care. She’s even set up a special part of her house as a nursery for her occasionally overly exuberant, hopping joeys.

Norma Foskette and Warren Blackley, also from Wildlife Carers, took me through an average day with a growing wombat, from constant feeds to bulldozer-proofing your house from these furry little diggers.

What all the carers agreed on was that despite the hard work and the bittersweet moment of taking the joeys to release sites, it’s well worth the feeling of helping Australia’s native marsupials get back to the bush.