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Small World Day and a Sad Roo Tale

I had a strange and rather sad afternoon/evening today.

My son and his mates took off over to the other side of the nearby creek to do a bit of mountain bike riding and came back to tell me they'd found an injured kangaroo. I sent a couple back to keep an eye on it (from a distance so as not to panic it) and rang WIRES, (NSW Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service) to get a rescue team to come out and assess it.

I rang the number and the dispatcher's voice answering was terribly familiar and when I gave my name, it turned out it was a friend of mine I've known since our teens and we'd lost touch over the last couple of years. So, 'It's a small world' instance one.

So, back to the poor kangaroo.

I went down and took a look at it and it turned out to be a pretty big eastern grey buck, around 5'6" tall, so quite a handful to wrangle and injured enough that he couldn't hop away, but able to rear up and kick out if feeling threatened. Please note: a roo this size can easily break bones, disembowel and generally hand out quite serious injuries, so you have to treat them with caution and the respect their strength deserves.

Here's a couple of pics to give you an idea of what you're up against if a roo has a go at you:

Here's a good view of their hind claws, the centre one being the really nasty one

And here's how they use it. They can also grab you with their front claws so you can't get away and rake you with their hind ones (I know, it happened to me once)

Just so you know they're quite dangerous if you get their backs up.

When the woman rescue assessor rang me to say she was nearly here, I filled her in on the situation and the size and sex of the roo. Once again, the voice sounded very familiar, but I really didn't think too much about it at the time.

Anyway, when she shows up, she turned out to be the very nice woman who did the conveyancing on my house. She'd liked the area so much after handling me buying my place that she'd packed up and moved out here too and now lives about 15km from me in another little hamlet.

So, it really is a small world, isn't it?

Now for the sad part.

Being the size he was and a male, so more aggressive and as it was almost full dark by this time, it was decided that getting a tranquilizing team out and trying to trap him in the dark just wasn't feasible. He couldn't be left in situ overnight, as feral foxes would more than likely tear him to pieces and he'd die in agony, so, with great regret, the police had to be called to euthenise him.

It looked as if he'd been hit by a car while crossing the street to get to the sweet grass in our park. We have a mob that come and hang around here this time every year, but unfortunately, we've been getting a lot more from the burnt out areas that just aren't used to the roads (not that roos are ever great, but they do learn safer routes after a while). I fear we'll be seeing a lot more of this in the coming months, as the fires burnt all of their grass and underbrush, so they'll be going farther afield for food.

It also means that the local kids and the older, less fast residents will have to be extra careful if they see roos in the park. There'll be rogue bucks that will be looking to nab does for their harems, and the bucks that do have a harem will be in full territorial defence mode.

I'll be doing a doorknock on the neighbours tomorrow just to fill them in, in case they missed all the drama, especially the ones with littler kids. The trouble is, with our regular mob, as long as you keep your distance and don't stand too tall (the males do this to threaten each other, so it's always a good idea to slump a bit near roos) they'll happily munch down one end of the park and leave the playground area alone. If we get rogue males coming in though, they are likely to actually charge people and attack them, and so littler kids especially are at risk. Some of my neighbours with younger kids come from the city, too and so tend to underestimate the risk.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 8th, 2013 07:52 am (UTC)
I come from the farming mentality that if an animal is pretty injured, the most humane thing you can do is put it down. The only problem with that is, is when the copper who was tasked to put the animal down can't go through with it.

Dad told me a story once of driving back from our other farm when he saw the local female cop (I think she'd only been at the station for a few months) and another bloke who'd hit the thing and it clearly needed to be shot. The cop didn't appear too keen so Dad told her that he had the rifle in the ute so he would do it for her if she liked. Sure enough, she asked if he could so he put the roo down for her.

Shows the trust my Dad has with the cops that she didn't bat an eyelid as to why he had the rifle in behind the seat without being under lock and key but he also grew up with the Senior Sergeant so perhaps that was why.

As for your small world story, that's pretty amazing. Given how big this country is, I still run into people who grew up near me or know people I know etc. One of my good friends up here grew up in the town 10 minutes away from where I did and is best mates with a girl who lived in my village. We didn't know each other down there, mind you, only up here.
Dec. 8th, 2013 05:12 pm (UTC)
I agree when it comes to not letting an animal suffer. I'm also a bit offside with some of the local animal lovers in that I'm a big believer in culling feral introduced animals. We have a big problem with feral foxes and cats in our area and the devastation they wreak on our native bird and animal life is horrible, yet one lot of noddies in the area is campaigning for feral cats to be caught, desexed then let back into the wild. I have a cat I love, and two lovely dogs, but if anyone has ever seen what a pack of feral dogs can do to an animal, or seen what the average fox or cat kills in a year, they'd have to be mad to think that desexing then letting them go back is any sort of a solution.

Considering many of the feral cats around here are disease ridden, I really do believe it's kinder to catch and euthenise. The danger that feral dog packs pose to not only stock but people and the diseases and parasites they and foxes can pass on to domesticated dogs - well, I'm sure I'm preaching to the converted here, so 'nuff said.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )


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