A Nar Nar Goon couple who have saved more than 100 kangaroos and wallabies at their make-shift kangaroo hospital, are calling on the community to support their Little Urchins Wildlife Sanctuary.
Kat and her husband, Eddie, sold their dream home in Pakenham for a 38-acre property in Nar Nar Goon North to make room for the high volume of injured and undernourished kangaroos they nurse back into good health all-year round.
They currently have about 15 babies and 13 adult kangaroos and wallabies on their property, with some temporarily living in their lounge room.
Kat knows each of the animals individually by name.
The couple are seeking volunteers to assist with works in extending the shelter, cleaning pens and building a website or GoFundMe page.
“Where we live now is very basic, the house is practically a shed but the kangaroos have more room on the property,” Kat said.
“We want to extend the undercover feeding area and build an isolation room that could be used as a sick-bay to separate the injured kangaroos but we just don’t have the funds to support that at the moment.”
On Saturday nights Eddie is called out to injured kangaroos across the region to dart and collect them. Their sanctuary cares for the animals until they are well enough to be relocated to licensed shelters.
Eddie also volunteers to carry out the difficult job of euthanising those kangaroos that are in a condition beyond saving.
“It’s heart-breaking, but somebody’s going to do it,” Kat said.
“Some of them are so undernourished and many of them are just babies. Some are shot and left with their jaws hanging off and still alive. We’ve been able to save some that have been caught in fences. Others have been hit by cars and may be concussed, have muscular damage or need antibiotics.
“I have always been in awe of these creatures. Kangaroos are being culled if they’re not relocated so I feel like I have to save them. But people don’t seem to care and sometimes I just don’t know what to do.”
Wildlife Victoria figures show that numbers of kangaroos struck by cars within Cardinia Shire have grown from 150 to 180 since the last financial year.
“Numbers of kangaroos coming into care are rising and I’m worried for the winter because when it’s wet, there are no nutrients in the grass.
“We’ve lived in Pakenham for 10 years and there’s definitely a lack of support for kangaroos and wallabies in our area. It’s getting particularly bad because they’re developing more and more houses which is taking their land away.”
Kat hasn’t slept in her own bed since mid last year.
Usually, she goes to sleep in the lounge room or falls asleep from exhaustion in among the hay in the shed with the joeys, ready for the first feed at 8am.
Caring for the kangaroos comes at a cost – they pay for formula, fruit, vegetable, vet bills, medications costs and go through four rolls of bandage wrap each week.
“It costs us $150 every week just to feed them. And we’ve got a mortgage to look after.
“I don’t get to sleep before 3am; I’m always feeding the babies or changing their beds. I don’t have enough time to do all of this and work, so we’re doing all of this on one salary.
“We feed the kangaroos before we feed ourselves basically.”
Kat has appealed to local schools to hold ‘gold coin’ fund-raisers towards assisting Little Urchins. She also encouraged those interested in working with animals to contact her for work placement experience.
Kat said donations were welcome via the Little Urchins Wildlife Sanctuary Facebook page.
Originally published at Pakenham Gazette.