Lifestyle

More kangaroos being killed on our roads as food dries up

IN GOOD HANDS: Joey Birralee is being cared for by WIRES carer Renata Phelps.
IN GOOD HANDS: Joey Birralee is being cared for by WIRES carer Renata Phelps. Cathy Adams

BIRRALEE is just one of the many baby wallabies and kangaroos being brought into WIRES care on a daily basis.

The numbers of wallabies and kangaroos being hit and killed on local roads has skyrocketed recently due to the dry weather creating a lack of food.

Northern Rivers WIRES carer Renata Phelps said on average, the wildlife rescue service was getting at least one phone call a day about wallabies being hit by cars, sometimes five calls a day.

"And they're only the ones that are being reported to us," she said.

The recent bouts of frost have added to the scarcity of wallaby and kangaroo food.

"The best, lovely green grass is on the side of the road where they slash and so of course the wallabies come and eat on the side of the road," Ms Phelps said.

"Particularly in that early morning when people are heading off to work and the evening time when people are heading from work there's a lot of them on the sides of the roads getting hit."

Ms Phelps said almost every female wallaby or kangaroo hit will be carrying a Joey.

"It's very rare for a female not to have a Joey," she said.

The longer a Joey is left in its dead mother's pouch, the less likely its chances of survival.

"If the joeys are left in the pouch for too long they start going cold, they're not getting milk, and someone finds them the next day, it's very difficult to save them after they've got cold," Ms Phelps said.

"So the sooner we can get them, the better."

Don't leave it up to someone else

What to do if you hit or come across a dead or injured wallaby or kangaroo.

Phone WIRES. All wires volunteers are trained and will be able to safety remove and care for any joeys in pouches. If the adult wallaby or kangaroo is badly injured the service can also arrange for it to be humanely euthanized.

If WIRES cannot be contacted or the baby animal is in a dangerous location, something like a cotton pillow case can be used to wrap the joey nice and tight, like a parcel, with its head completely buried. Once the joey is wrapped up tight, stick it in your jumper to keep it warm as you're driving home and contact WIRES as soon as possible.

The other option is to leave the joey in its dead mother's pouch and take the mother home until WIRES can help.

Even just giving WIRES a detailed location of the wallaby or kangaroo is a big help.

WIRES Northern Rivers hotline: 6628 1898

Topics:  kangaroos, weather, wildlife, wires northern rivers



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