Wombats, Birds, and Casualties
In addition to the kangaroos and wallabies, Kangaloola also cares for a number of other animals and birds. Let’s start with the wombats. When full-grown, I’m not sure I’d want to meet one in a dark alley. But when little they are among the cuddliest of animals you can imagine. To feed one requires you to rest it on his back on your legs, hold your hand over its head and eyes, and turn its head slight to the side while enjoying a bottle of milk. It is an extraordinary experience, especially when a wombat dozes after and is quite happy to be cradled in your arms. Here’s a photo of me in action:
There were also a number of birds present, mostly ones that had been pets whose owners had grown weary of the noise, the fuss, and the mess. These included Dingles the emu, purchased as a pet. Her toenails were burned off by her owner, presumably to make her a better pet somehow. But this means Dingles can never be released in the bush as she can neither run nor scratch for food. But Dingles is well cared for by the good folks at Kangaloola.
Other birds include a few Sulphur-crested Cockatoos, Magpies, King parrots, and Galahs. And the bush is teeming with more birds, especially the Cockatoos, who swarm in when Glenda spreads out oats and crackers to feed the wild kangaroos that gather at the fence every evening for dinner. I also saw a few black Choughs, notable for their crimson eyes.
These animals and the dedicated care given them are the reasons why “I cannot stay here even one night” turned into two weeks of staying, feeding, caring, mucking out, and doing any number of other tasks (ask me some time about cleaning carpets with a rake!). These animals, too often neglected, abused, and slaughtered, are worthy of care and preservation. It is not easy work, but it is rewarding. And for 14 days I was privileged to share in this ministry to some of God’s precious creations.
Sadly, not all stories with these animals end well. One of the men who work with Kangaloola brought in a young koala who had been hit by a car. Despite great effort — and a long trip for emergency surgery — Mopsy still died. Likewise, below is a photo of a kangaroo that ran into a fence and was paralyzed — either by physical or other trauma. Again, despite care, the animal had to be euthanized. Not all stories end sadly. Chris Lehman (who works with and supports Kangaloola) found a turtle that had been run over by a car which cracked the animal’s shell. Despite the alarming nature of the injury, the turtle survived. As have so many hundreds and even thousands of animals because of this special place.