More ‘roos outside our windows!


Time for one of those posts about where I live rather than specifically education related.

This morning we had an exciting visit from members of one of our local wildlife sanctuaries. There are a number of these sanctuaries around the state who rescue and rehabilitate injured and orphaned wildlife. The purpose of this morning’s visit was to re-introduce some orphaned kangaroos into the wild by releasing them on our block! We already have a regular “mob” of kangaroos who break up into smaller groupings at various times of the year. These ‘roos don’t live exclusively on our block but range across several adjacent properties – ours is just one that they visit.

A bit of general “stuff” about kangaroos

Kangaroos are frequent victims of traffic on our roads. When females are killed or injured their young in the pouch (joeys) may well survive unhurt. However unless they are rescued they can’t live long once their mother is dead. Kangaroos are born very tiny and immature and once they reach the pouch they attach to a teat and remain out of sight in the pouch for several months.

Rescued joeys are raised in artificial pouches – often woollen bags – and bottle fed with milk. Eventually they reach a size where they can live outside the pouch and feed on the normal types of food eaten by adult kangaroos. Before release the young kangroos of mixed ages get used to living together as a group in a large pre-release enclosure where they have far less human contact than during the raising phase. Finally a number will be released into the wild – this is what happened here today.

The release

The team had successfully caught 15 young ‘roos from their large enclosure. They arrived in a convoy of cars in mid-morning. All very exciting as we hadn’t really expected quite so many ‘roos or quite so many people!

Picture of 'roos being unloadedThe first step was unloading the young kangaroos from the cars. They had travelled in woven mesh bags and were very mildly sedated so they they wouldn’t panic either in transit or when released.

Kangaroo travel bags lined up for releaseThe next step was to lay the travel bags out in a line, all “facing” in the same direction, and to unfasten them without actually releasing the occupants. A tricky activity this as there were more ‘roos than people.

Releasing the young kangaroos

Releasing (in theory) is simultanous, of course it wasn’t quite like that but very nearly

Kangaroo looking at new surroundings

Once out of their travel bags most of the kangaroos stayed around for at least a few minutes getting used to their new surroundings.








Then it was time to explore as they began to move away from the release spot.






By the time the team had collected the bags unloaded some transition food for us to help tide the ‘roos over steadily to foraging completely for themselves most of them had moved away into the surrounding pockets of bush to investigate their new surroundings.

We expect them to stay mostly hidden during the day and to come out to the release spot for water and some transitional food. We hope they will sort out a pecking order with our regular visiting mob and join in with them to form a larger mob where the new introductions integrate into the structure and eventually breed.

All in all an exciting and satisfying experience!

3 thoughts on “More ‘roos outside our windows!

  1. Thanks for the post, Joe! We often discuss environmental issues in class and saving animals is one of the most important topics for my students. Thanks for the great pictures, too. They will sure help my kids better understand the story and motivate them to discuss things.
    I think it is a good example of collaboration of educators throughout the world: I wanted more information – and you helped me with it.
    With best wishes,
    Tatyana Chernaya

  2. Sometimes post like these can really aid learning and trigger further research, so although it is not in your usual type postings, keep these posts coming as it gives those of us in Australia and overseas a glimpse into some stories that we would not otherwise know. Will the roos stay on your place and if so, how will you keep them there? We often have them coming through our farm but they never stay unless they are sick and dying.

  3. Thank you for the comments Tatyana and Anne.

    I am very glad you nudged me into doing the post Tatyana, and I was excited that your students chose to read aloud from it. I find it quite awe inspiring that something that I wrote is being read by students on the other side of the world!

    The kangaroos will not stay exclusively on our block Anne. Most of the blocks around here are up to 25 acres (10ha) and are at least partly bush. The ‘roos range across a number of blocks and from what I have seen there is a small mob that breaks up into smaller groups depending on time of year. So we get a variety of groupings visiting at different times. The hope is that the new ones will slowly integrate into the existing mob.

    Of the 15 released we are not sure how many are still mainly on our block as we haven’t seen them all together since the release. Some are definitely still in our largest patch of bush and we have seen groups of from 3 to 7 visiting the water trough and the transition food. Our regulars (we recognise most of these) also visit and we have seen some mixing.

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