Lately, my days at the office look like this:
What about you?
At last, the time had come to let Charlie outside of the large enclosure for the first time! I was excited to see how he reacted to being free. Would he immediately bolt for the bush in search of his own kind or shrink in fear of the unknown?
When we opened the gate to the enclosure, none of the joeys made a dash for the exit. We had to coerce all of them a bit, even Charlie. When he finally made it a foot outside the gate, I left him there and walked toward the middle of the paddock. I called out to him to reassure him that everything was okay.
Charlie took a few tentative hops around the area immediately fronting the gate. He kept looking at me in the paddock and looking back at the enclosure. When he finally decided to join me, he took giant leaps and kicked his feet to the side in midair. His glee was clearly visible.
After several sprints to and fro, Charlie settled down enough to start grazing. He remained quite close to where I was and made sure to follow me if I ever got too far away from him. I guess his instinct told him to stick by mum’s side.
Charlie also tried to interact with some of the wild adult wallabies (they are, after all, about his size), but alas, they snubbed the young punk. While they lay in the cool grass he tried to snuggle up to them, but they only grunted at him to back off. That didn’t seem to deter my happy boy as he simply hopped on his way.
The plan is to slowly increase the length of time that Charlie and the other young joeys stay outside of the large pen. For the first week or so, they’ll all be under our supervision so that they don’t wander too far away or hurt themselves. After their free time outside, we’ll return them back to the enclosure as usual. We want to build up their confidence so they can spend most of the day being free to roam outside and only come back to the pen for their bottles. It’ll be a slow process but eventually we hope they reach for freedom with both paws.
As Dorothy said, “There’s no place like home,” and apparently this also applies to wallabies too.
Mary has visited us regularly these past few days. We find her waiting patiently on the doorstep of the donga, and when we open the door, she ambles in like she owns the place.
After briefly checking the kitchen for any leftover pieces of sweet potato, she turns left and heads for Darryl’s room. She isn’t afraid to make herself at home. She promptly hops on the bed and takes a siesta.
When Mary came back on the second day, Darryl started worrying that she was ill. But, after a quick check of her tummy, he learned she was with joey. Pregnancy, I assume, is a traumatic time for any female regardless of species. Returning to a place that’s familiar and safe is reassuring and calming.
You see, Mary is one of the hand-reared wallabies Darryl released at Brindle Creek Sanctuary. It’s one of the few places she can call home. And during a time of vulnerability, she’s come back to a place of shelter.
These animals never stop amazing me. I learn something new every day I spend with them. Some may think macropods are dumb or that they simply follow the mob without thinking. Mary, and many others, are proof that this is false.