Deniliquin Pastoral Times
Lots of love, care to give
With a new desire to provide the utmost care for wildlife in need, Roxie obtained her licence and training, and registered as a WIRES carer.
And while Harriet eventually went back to her mob, she’s not been without a joey to care for since Harriet came in to her life.
‘‘The vets rang and said we have another joey for you.
‘‘Over my time, I’ve cared for and released about two dozen kangaroos.
‘‘I’ve got four at the moment, but I had 10 about three weeks ago.
‘‘They are being raised in pouches and I feed these ones about four times a day at the moment.’’
The joeys in Ms Phillips’ care right now are named in honour of one of her favourite books, Harry Potter — Minerva
McGonagall, Victor Krum, Nymphadora Tonks and Gabrielle Delacour.
And it’s not just kangaroos Ms Phillips cares for.
‘‘I’ve rescued possums, lizards and even wedged tailed eagles,’’ she said.
She also has her domestic pets — a blind dog named Felix, dog Sid and her collection of cats, all living at her cottage and animal oasis.
Caring for animals was not too much of a stretch for Ms Phillips, who is also a disability worker.
And she seamlessly combines her two worlds for the benefit of those she cares for — human and animal.
‘‘I work in disability so I’m lucky enough that I can take my rescues to my work,’’ Ms Phillips said.
‘‘I couldn’t do this without the support of my employer and my participants. They’re involved with every single kangaroo I’ve had.
‘‘They love them.’’
While Ms Phillips forms a close attachment with each kangaroo in her care, she also knows her main role is to prepare them to transition back to the wild.
‘‘We are so lucky to have a (WIRES) property between Jerilderie and Urana.
‘‘I raise these guys until they’re about 8kg, then they’re ready for soft release there.
‘‘They still can get care there and have two bottles a day and have big kangaroo things like hay and grass.
‘‘When they are ready they can then live on the open property and come back as they please.
‘‘Because caring for them is so time consuming and intense, it’s a very bittersweet moment when it comes time to release them.
‘‘There’s a sense that I’ve done a good job, but I’m also missing that little baby that I have been caring for.
‘‘It’s such a privilege to be a wildlife carer, and a privilege to do what I do.
‘‘The WIRES community I have; the support is fantastic. If I have a possum or bird I don’t know what to do with, I can call anyone up.’’
The local vet clinic is also a wonderful support to WIRES, she says.
But most important to her work is the public and the people who call in, and make rescues and care possible for these animals.
‘‘Without the support of the public, I couldn’t do what I do.
‘‘Anyone who takes the time to call WIRES and check on these animals is amazing.
‘‘The main thing to do if you hit something is to stop and check. If there’s a joey there, it’s a long slow death for them when left.
‘‘Sadly, there is so much stigma attached to kangaroos.
‘‘People don’t study where their paths are, kangaroos have been here forever and then someone builds a road.
‘‘They are such gentle and majestic creatures.’’
If you find a sick, injured or orphaned wallaby, wallaroo or kangaroo (macropods), call WIRES on 1300 094 737 for rescue help and advice.
You should not approach or feed any adult macropods you come across in the wild, as they can become stressed.
If you have found a female macropod that has been involved in a collision, please check the pouch and surrounding areas for a joey.
Seek advice from WIRES in the first instance, and try to keep the joey somewhere warm while waiting for a carer or when transporting a joey to the vet.
If you do take the joey to a vet, please advise WIRES of the location so it can organise ongoing care.
You can follow Ms Phillips’ wildlife journey on Instagram (@rosecottagewildliferescue).