Last week, on his way to work, my partner crested a hill to see a large kangaroo trying to drag itself across the road with a shattered leg. As is sadly so typical, there was no sign of the driver who had done the damage and continued apathetically on their way.
We are extremely grateful to Kilmore Wildlife Shelter for responding to my partner’s pre-dawn call; at an hour when most of us are still working on our bed hair, they had the generosity of heart to sincerely thank him for calling 🙂
Why don’t people who are caring for our animals ever get any recognition at Australian of the Year awards?
What should you do if you see injured wildlife?
I previously asked another carer about this and she said you can ring Triple Zero if in Australia, I haven’t done this and would advise using your discretion, but if it is a large animal, that requires immediate attention, especially if it may cause a ‘traffic hazard’, this seems like a good option, which has the advantage of being nationwide and 24 hour.
Save the number of local wildlife rescuers in your phone under ‘W’ for wildlife. It is good to have a few numbers as these organisations are overworked and under resourced and may not answer the phone immediately.
If an animal is small enough that you can safely and carefully move it, most vets will accept and care for injured wildlife free of charge – please call them first though.
Oh and please consider making a donation to a charity to thank them for care given or as an alternative gift for someone.
‘Kilmore’ may not be the best name for a town which boasts not one, but two wildlife shelters; maybe the town could change its names to ‘Savemore’ instead?! (Of course humane euthanasia is another extremely valuable service that wildlife carers also provide in a worst case scenario…if only we humanimals could legally access something similar…)
The Kilmore Wildlife Shelter is operated by Dr. Robyn Coy who has spent a lifetime involved in the study and care of Australian wildlife. The shelter is now one of the largest in Victoria, attending to hundreds of animals each year and controlling over 600 acres of land dedicated to wildlife conservation. Robyn is assisted by a small but dedicated team of volunteers.
The shelter has excellent facilities for all types of wildlife from tiny marsupial mice and bats, to lizards and turtles, echidnas, birds of prey, parrots, possums, wombats, wallabies and kangaroos. Robyn has specialized in the care of kangaroos and wallabies for many years, and has the experience and expertise to handle and care for these large marsupials which few in Victoria can match.
An Emergency Treatment and Training Centre was established at the shelter following the Black Saturday fires, when the shelter was called on to care for hundreds of injured wildlife without access to any wildlife hospital facilities.
Illustration: Geoff Richardson
Text: Eleanor Nurse
Our kangaroos are hunted in the largest commercial slaughter of land-based wildlife on the planet and hunters are permitted by law to take not only males but also females with joeys in pouch and dependent young.
The roo meat industry treats these joeys as collateral damage in the hunt for profits.
Under the relevant industry Codes of Practice that govern the hunts, shooters are instructed to “euthanase” the joeys of any female who is killed either by decapitation or a single blow or shot to the head.
Those who are not caught and killed will most likely die as a result of starvation, exposure or predation without the protection of their mothers.
All of this happens in the wild and at night, hidden from public view.
This might be why so many Australians are on board with kangaroo meat. The kangaroo industry has escaped the scrutiny levelled against many of Australia’s other meat industries in part because it is nearly impossible to get a look at the killing.
Unlike most animals killed for food who are pre-stunned and slaughtered in abattoirs, kangaroos are shot in rural areas, usually from afar, and in complete darkness.
The industry codes do stipulate they must be shot in the “brain”, but this is not an easy job.
In 2002, the RSPCA estimated that 120,000 kangaroos are “body shot” each year, wounded but not killed.