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Baby kangaroos need our help

Thursday, 27th December, 2018

RRANA secretary Helen Semmens with ‘Ducky’ the joey who relies on a special milk supplement to become fit enough to eventually be released back into the bush. PICTURE: Myles Burt RRANA secretary Helen Semmens with ‘Ducky’ the joey who relies on a special milk supplement to become fit enough to eventually be released back into the bush. PICTURE: Myles Burt

By Myles Burt

A volunteer wildlife rescue group that spends almost $1000 a month on milk supplements is in dire need of public assistance.

Locals have generously donated Di-Vetelact milk formula, which is incredibly helpful as a generic milk supplement, feeding a diverse range of animals at a cheaper price.

However, a milk supplement called Wombaroo that’s specifically formulated for kangaroos is able to better meet dietary needs, especially as joeys have to remain in long-term care for up to six months. 

“That’s why it’s the milk of choice because we’re going to get better results with it,” RRANA joey carer Helen Semmens said.

“The Di-Vetelact that was donated we will use most definitely.

“But long term it’s preferable to give them milk that’s going to be the best for them, that’s most suited to them, so we can get healthy joeys for release.”

Milk supplement bags for joeys is easily the biggest cost for RRANA, which caters for other animals as well.

“That’s before we feed any other animal,” Ms Semmens said.

“Even before we provide other food for the kangaroos.

“So any donation that anybody wants to make towards feeding these animals is always gratefully accepted.

“I mean if a member of the public wanted to go to the Broken Hill Veterinary Clinic and buy a bag of milk for us that would be fabulous.

“But not everybody has got $480, but they might have $20 or $5.”

“That could go a long way for us.

“That’s our biggest cost on a month-to-month basis.”

At the present, kangaroos are holding off from breeding during the harsh drought, through a special genetic technique called embryonic diapause. This has halted the influx of joeys RRANA usually recovers from the wild.

“Kangaroos are incredible things, the female kangaroo has the ability to suspend the development of her embryo,” Ms Semmens said.

“They just put that baby on hold and wait, it’s all about self-preservation.

“So we’re not getting a lot of joeys in at the moment.

“It’s been quiet, and touch wood that it stays that way.

“But there are hundreds of roos around and they’re doing it really, really tough.”

Ms Semmens encouraged the public stay cautious of wildlife on the roads this summer as hundreds of animals flock to the roadsides to get any source of feed or moisture they can find, making it dangerous for wildlife and travellers.

“I know that a lot of people are travelling and we all want to get from A to B quickly,” Ms Semmens said.

“But if you know that those first 50 or those first 150kms between here and Adelaide is problematic, slow down.

“I can’t tell you how many bodies I dragged off the road and checked with my friend.

“Some of them are so malnourished they haven’t got the strength to get out of the way.

“They’re just being run over in the hundreds.

“It’s awful.”

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