Wildcare kangaroo carer Wendy Prail has taken on the job of raising orphan joeys during the seasonal spike in wildlife road toll. Photo: Elesa Kurtz
A short hop over the border from the ACT, where more than 1600 kangaroos are in shooters’ sights to be culled this year, Queanbeyan Wildcare volunteers are opening their homes to raise orphaned joeys.
Kangaroo carer Wendy Prail and her daughter Kimberly said raising a joey can take up to 12 months, and they had reared and released nine joeys in the past four years.
In May, the family from Royalla took on care of two new joeys, tiny furless 582 gram pinkie Gemma, and Ruby, who Ms Prail pulled from the pouch of her hit mother with her own hands.
“We were called down to an accident just of Royalla Drive near us to rescue Ruby,’’ she said. ‘‘The guy had left the mum in the middle of the road.’’
Caring for the two young joeys bundled up in blankets required attention and bottle feeding every four or five hours from 6am to 11pm.
Wildcare Kangaroo Carer Co-ordinator Helen Stevens said 120 kangaroos and joeys were currently in the care of the organisation’s 50 trained volunteers.
She said this time of year was referred to as “joey and pinkie season” because of the drastic spike in the numbers of orphaned young.
“We would expect 15 to 30 orphan joeys coming in to us each month, for the next three months,” she said.
In the ACT last year 355 “pouch young” were killed in addition to the 1149 kangaroos culled.
Ms Stevens said she disagreed with the annual culling practice and said the resources volunteers directed towards caring for wildlife was valuable as it gave rescued young a fair chance at life.
“It might be in small numbers compared to what they are doing with the cull and on private land but I think they deserve that chance to be raised and returned back to the wild,” she said.
Wildcare has a 24-hour roster of trained volunteers to assist with wildlife rescues and emergency care.
Ms Stevens said while becoming a wildlife carer took commitment and training, it was vital the community were aware to call upon Wildcare in Queanbeyan.
“It is important that people phone us if they encounter injured, sick or orphaned wildlife of any kind,” she said.