Adult Red Neck Wallaby comes in to care.

Surprises are not uncommon when dealing with wildlife, but I must admit to being taken by surprise when I traveled to Lismore to collect a wallaby from someone's lounge room. I had been told that it was an adult, but knowing how adult Macropod's react in situations that are unfamiliar to them, I had convinced myself that it HAD to be a joey, possibly older than I would normally be called to rescue.

This one was no joey, it was a fully mature adult male Red Neck wallaby, sitting quietly on a mattress in the middle of a lounge room.

I stood and watched for a short time, wondering what to do next, if I approached would it destroy the room? Would it try to jump out the closed window, and hurt itself severely? I asked the residents of the house how did it come to be in the room? As it turned out they had carried it up there, after having caught it in the garden.

Now I must explain that we had received calls concerning this wallaby over a period of 4 days, each time asking people to leave it alone, it would make its way back to the bush when all was quiet. It had gone from one garden to the next, not back to the bush as expected, and that is what had made me think that what we had been told of its size could not be true, an adult should in fact have gone far from a busy road, dogs and suburban gardens, if not it should at this stage be very ill from a variety of conditions such as Myopathy just to name one. This wallaby showed no indication of this.

It had been in trouble though, it had a facial injury, the pads on it's hind legs were burnt off by the hot tar road, not even that showed in its behavior, in fact it looked to be quite comfortable on the mattress, although it was watching me intensely, waiting to see what I would do next, as I myself was watching it, waiting to see what it would do next.

I made the first move, he stood up, and hopped slightly away from me still watching.

I decided to get things ready before attempting to get a hold of him, so made up the syringe to sedate him for the drive to more suitable recovery lodgings. He did not put up much of a struggle, in fact it took very little to put a blanket over him and sedate him. He became very quiet within minutes. I also medicated him against Myopathy just in case, although even with medication he was still likely still succumb to this deadly condition.

After sedation he was "bagged" to ensure a safe drive, hopefully to the vet, although it was after hours, I kept my fingers crossed that someone was working late, and I was very relieved when I saw the doors open at Lismore Vet clinic.

Veterinary surgeon Justin was working after hours, and he was happy to have a look at the wallaby. Justin examined his face and although he was bruised there were no broken bones, and Justin assured me that the pads on his feet would repair with time, as long as he had soft ground to hop on. His large toe nails were gone, how we do not know, but I do know that they will re grow in time.

The most amazing thing of all, was that there were no indications of Myopathy. Myopathy is the dread of all Macropod carers. When we have to rescue an adult Macropod, Myopathy will set in fairly fast after the animal has undergone stress. This animal had been in a stressful situation for 4 days, and he showed absolutely no signs of this deadly condition, so we decided that I would take him back to Wildlife Mountain, put him in a large enclosure and watch him closely.

As I approached home he was starting to wake from the sedation, so I quickly got him out of the car, and in to the empty enclosure. He stood up, and although he was a bit wobbly on his feet, he soon had a good look around, seemed happy with his new situation, and lay down for a sleep. I left him alone to recover from his ordeal.

The next morning I had a look, he seemed ok, had eaten a fair bit of grass and drunk water from the bowl .Normal behavior for a wallaby of this age would have been to throw itself at the wire, not giving up till exhausted, and severely injured.

So what may have happened to make this wallaby seek humans, in a city like Lismore, full of cars, busy streets and dogs ?

The only think I can imagine is that someone hand raised him in a suburban situation, inside a house, where he could lounge on the bed, watch TV, and interact with the family. Then when he became too large, they took him to the closest bush land behind Lismore, and let him go, not realizing that he could not survive in a world he did not know. Fending for himself, finding his own food and shelter...... he was totally lost. He was most likely hit by a car receiving facial injuries, and hopping on the hot tar, the pads on his feet used to carpet was burned off leaving red flesh.

After 3 days I opened the gate to the pen thinking that he may want to be on the outside rather than inside, the ground is soft outside just like on the inside, and other wallabies to interact with.

He looked outside, but decided that inside was better for now, he had no intention of leaving. 2 other wallabies hopped in to the pen, he showed no interest in them what so ever, in fact he seemed confused by their presence.

The 2 wild wallabies hopped out after a short time, he did not go after them.

So for now he will stay inside, recover from his ordeal, and I guess when his feet fell better he may venture outside and take a look at what the world as to offer. Outside are other wallabies, for now looking in through the wire at him, he looks back at them, and I hope in time, he will want to make friends with them rather than humans.

UPDATE: 8th February 2007

Each day I would go in to the pen to replenish his grass, put fresh water in his bowl, and clean the pen. This all took place with little disturbance to him, he would watch from a distance, but generally keep doing what he had been doing before I entered.

When I entered the pen on the 7th day, I noticed that he had trouble hopping, in fact he was unable to hop, his back legs were stiff, and as I watched he collapsed.

How sad to realise that he had after all succumbed to Myopathy. He was humanely euthanased, as there is no come back once Myopathy is evident in an adult Macropod.

It is a sad fact that in almost all cases of adult Wallabies and Kangaroos having to come in to care, this is the end result.

I shudder to think of all the joey's out there, currently being raised by untrained members of the public, thinking they are doing the right thing by the animal.

When the time comes that the animal is no longer needed, or they try to do the "right" thing and let it go back to the wild, this will be the end result. It is not something they will have to watch, it will happen over a period of time, un- noticed, in silence, and out of sight. A slow, painful death, it can take many days for such an animal to die, paralysis is only one symptom, many more stages will have to be endured, before the animal finally draws its last breath.

PLEASE call a licensed Native animal care group, hand over the joey when you FIRST find it, and give it the best chance it has of eventually being released, being able to cope with life in the wild.

Anyone can raise a native animal, but can you ensure it's survival in years to come?

 

 

 

 

January 28, 2013

 
 
 

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We would also like to acknowledge the amazing support and help we have had from the Lismore Vet Clinic who have been an invaluable support to both us and the native wildlife of this region.


All native birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles are proteced under the Wildlife Act 1975, they may not be captured or harmed in any way without an authority issued under the Wildlife Act.