Only the best for Valley’s orphaned joeys
AT LEAST 43 orphaned kangaroo and wallaby joeys are living in artificial pouches hanging off chairs in homes around the Clarence Valley, because their mums were killed in road accidents.
One WIRES carer, Colleen Walden, has four in a spare room of her house in Westlawn, including an eastern grey joey that was not supposed to live.
"When he came in he was only 375g," Ms Walden said. "At that weight they're not supposed to be viable.
"His mouth was only a little round hole, but we kept feeding him and feeding him and he's going great guns now."
Both the eastern grey joeys are still pink and do not come out of their pouches, but the two red necked wallabies are not so quiet.
"One of them is already jumping out and getting around," Ms Walden said.
Caring for the little creatures is costly work, with the formula essential for kangaroos, Wombaroo, costing $20 a kilogram.
"We pay $5 a kilo for it and WIRES subsidises us for the rest," she said.
"That's why WIRES has to raise money to continue its operations, to cover costs like that."
WIRES macropod coordinator Sandy Webb said volunteers often looked after their charges for a year or more.
"Those in town look after the younger ones until they're ready to get up and around," she said.
"Then they come out to volunteers living out of town."
Ms Webb said the joeys are eventually introduced to the wild mobs on their properties
"It's a slow process," she said. "At first they go off for a night and come back.
"Gradually it extends to a few nights then weeks.
"I've had one come back for a stay after six months."
Caring for the joeys is a wonderful experience and very fulfilling, said Ms Walden.
"When you care for something, whether it's a bird or a joey and you let it go back into the wild, it's a very joyous experience," she said.
But for the Lower Clarence' WIRES only licenced shooter, Dick Richards, who is called out to euthanise injured wildlife, it's not pleasant.
"They get pretty smashed up with their legs broken," he said.
"It's grim when you find they're carrying a joey, but it is going to a good place"