Recently a kangaroo joey was brought to Taronga Zoo Sydney for care by a motorist who had found the joey’s mother on the roadside, which the joey was reluctant to leave. Fortunately, the man who found the joey knew exactly what to do; he allowed the joey to hop into an empty pillowcase which is comforting to a joey as a substitute pouch, and took the joey to a local vet. The vet recommended that the joey be taken to Taronga Wildlife Hospital, where it is being cared for.
Data released last year indicates that seven of the top 10 regions for such collisions are located in NSW. While these collisions most typically involve Kangaroos, other species are vulnerable in this way, including possums, koalas, wallabies, echidnas, and wombats. Habitats for these animals along the Australian east coast are becoming fragmented, and some Australian species are vulnerable or even critically endangered – such as the Northern Hairy Nosed Wombat in Queensland.
Motorists who find an Australian marsupial by the side of the road should pull over carefully to avoid any oncoming vehicles, and contact a wildlife service such as WIRES by phoning 1300 094 737. During business hours, the Taronga Wildlife Hospital is also available to provide advice by phoning 9969 2777. A wildlife veterinarian may recommend checking if the animal has a pouch, and if it is empty; while animals may not survive the impact from a collision, joeys may be protected inside their mother’s pouch. If a joey is found within the pouch, the veterinarian on the phone may recommend encouraging the joey to enter the empty pillowcase, placing it in a cardboard box or other large, open container without noise or music in the vehicle and taking it to the nearest veterinary clinic for assessment and treatment.
At Taronga Zoo Sydney, we aim to get rehabilitated animals back in the wild as soon as possible, such as the Swamp wallaby found on the Sydney Harbour Bridge earlier this year. However in other instances, reintroduction to the wild is not possible – and this will be the case for the little kangaroo joey being cared for at Taronga Zoo Sydney. Although the joey is too young to know how to forage for food in the wild, she is making a strong recovery in leaps and bounds. Keepers are gradually introducing her to our existing mob of kangaroos in our Backyard to Bush precinct, and she can be seen by our guests in coming months.