DEDICATED TO ORPHANED KANGAROOS
Purpose discovered in animal rescue
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.
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.