Who knew I’d come to Australia and become a mum? I never expected it, did you? Shortly after arriving at Brindle Creek, I became the proud new mum of an eastern grey joey named Charlie. He was my bubba to care for and feed during my stay at the sanctuary.
When Darryl picked him up, Charlie was definitely freaked out despite living with a carer for a short while. Darryl’s vet examined Charlie, then tranquilized him so Darryl could transport him back to the sanctuary.
When Charlie arrived, he was hopped up on drugs and pretty docile. We kept him in his liner and pouch where he felt safe. Since I was his new mum, he stayed with me all day and I was responsible for feeding him. At night, I would bring him into my room with me.
It was a bit rough going the first few days, especially after the drugs wore off and Charlie became more aware of his surroundings. His natural instinct to flee was in full effect, and he wasn’t used to being held. He would struggle and kick his feet when I held him for his feeds. Teaching him to drink from a bottle was also an interesting process.
However, like most animals, Charlie quickly adapted to his new environment. And as I fell in love with him, he fell in love with me. He treated me like his mum, even pestering me by grabbing my leg when I was making his bottles.
After a while, we began taking Charlie outside and allowing him to hop around a large enclosure with the other joeys in care. He really enjoyed the open air and eating grass from the earth (as opposed to the grass I brought in every day). In the evenings, I continued to bring him inside with me.
I had a wonderful time with Charlie and am so grateful for the opportunity. Not many people can say they’re a kangaroo mum, but I certainly can.
Every day brings a new surprise at Brindle Creek Sanctuary. Today a juvenile goanna visited, and on a short bushwalk around the property, Halina and I saw some huge termite mounds.
When Halina saw the goanna, she quickly jumped into action. She waved her arms and shouted at it to make sure it continued on its way and didn’t get near any of the wallabies lounging in the area. The goanna didn’t seem at all bothered by her though. It continued on its way at a leisurely pace.
Later that afternoon, Halina and I went for a quick walk behind the donga. The creek back there was pretty low at this time of the year. However, all around there were big termite mounds. In this area, these gigantic mounds are a pretty common sight.
Interestingly enough, we also spotted dozens of wallaby tracks in the area and specific trails on which they seemed to often travel. Some trails led from the river up to Brindle Creek and others led farther into the bush.
It was good to see evidence of the wallabies exploring in the area. Hopefully, many of our soft-release wallabies were among them and were learning the ins and outs of being wild.
Darryl travels far and wide to help wallabies and many times finds himself driving for hours to pick up or deliver them to carers. I joined him on one of these sojourns and was amazed at how different the landscape is just an hour or so away from Mareeba.
The dry grassy flatlands turned into green rolling hills and shrubs. Rivers and valleys replaced large tracks of brown bushland. The diversity of Australia continues to astonish me.
We drove more than four hours one way to pick up a joey. During this time, we passed through farmlands, rainforests and seaside towns. We drove past sugarcane fields, over railroad tracks and through many sections of road works. There’s so much land that it’s almost impossible to see and experience it all.