Pur­pose dis­cov­ered in an­i­mal res­cue

Manjimup-Bridgetown Times - - Front Page - Karen Hunt

ALOVE of an­i­mals – par­tic­u­larly our na­tive em­blem – has be­come a vo­ca­tion for one Bridgetown woman.

Shane Wil­liams grew up on a 12ha farm at Wan­neroo in the 1950s and re­mem­bers rais­ing her first or­phan kan­ga­roo at seven.

But she says her life changed 11 years ago when a friend brought her a tiny joey found in the pouch of its dead mother.

“It was a pinky which means it was fur-less and it was my first roo. “I fell in love with it.” A vet put Shane in con­tact with a wildlife carer who told her what she needed to do to raise the tiny crea­ture.

“She men­tored me and ev­ery­thing went fine and I thought, I’m go­ing to keep do­ing this, this is won­der­ful, it’s what I was meant for,” she said.

Since then Shane has ded­i­cated her life to car­ing for an­i­mals. Be­fore her move to Bridgetown four years ago she lived up north on a cat­tle sta­tion.

“It was 185km north-east of Ger­ald­ton and it was on half a mil­lion acres,” she said.

“I moved up there be­cause I wanted to re­lease reds and eu­ros.

“I had nowhere in Perth for them to be re­leased and an op­por­tu­nity came up to care­take at the sta­tion so I did.

“I re­leased 202 kan­ga­roos up there.”

In Bridgetown, Shane is car­ing for mainly west­ern grey joeys whose moth­ers are killed on the road or by shoot­ers.

One ex­cep­tion is lit­tle Bruno, a rarer west­ern brush or black-gloved wal­laby found near Walpole.

He will prob­a­bly go to the zoo, like the first black glove that she reared, for its cap­tive breed­ing pro­gram.

“Their habi­tat’s go­ing so they need help,” Shane said.

She said she un­der­stood farm­ers must some­times shoot kan­ga­roos to keep num­bers in check.

“I don’t judge peo­ple – I un­der­stand there are a lot of them around.

“I have lovely ladies that check the pouches when the hub­bies come home and they ring me at 1am, 2am.” Shane is par­tic­u­larly busy now in spring, car­ing for 25 joeys, be­cause kan­ga­roos mate in Jan­uary or Fe­bru­ary and ba­bies are born in about March.

“It’ll go through to about De­cem­ber and around Jan­uary it starts to slow down,” she said.

It takes about 18 months to raise a joey on av­er­age, she says, mak­ing it a big com­mit­ment.

“I don’t have fam­ily so it’s my whole life, th­ese are my chil­dren,” she said.

“My say­ing is that ev­ery baby needs a mother and I can never say no.” One kan­ga­roo in Shane’s care now weighs 15kg, but was just 115 grams when res­cued.

Shane has a suc­cess rate of about 80 per cent – partly due to her custom-made pouches which help to keep the lit­tle ones warm.

Good time man­age­ment skills have also been im­por­tant in keep­ing up with four-hourly feeds.

Shane says she is grate­ful for sup­port from the com­mu­nity.

She and other vol­un­teers reg­is­tered with the Depart­ment of Bio­di­ver­sity and Con­ser­va­tion are not al­lowed to ac­cept cash do­na­tions. But Mitre 10 gave her a dis­count on a wash­ing ma­chine, she says, and there have been of­fers of old tow­els and other items.

Her lo­cal vets and Black­wood Val­ley Real Es­tate, which man­ages her rental prop­erty, have also been help­ful.

She has one mes­sage for the com­mu­nity, how­ever.

“I al­ways say to peo­ple, please check the pouches, please.”

For more in­for­ma­tion about Shane’s an­i­mal res­cue work, con­tact her on Face­book.

Pic­ture: Karen Hunt

Shane Wil­liams has ded­i­cated her life to car­ing for res­cued an­i­mals in­clud­ing kan­ga­roos and wal­la­bies such as Bruno, a west­ern brush or black-gloved wal­laby, front.

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