Djuramin the wallaroo rescued from dead mum’s pouch inspires launch of Macdonald Valley for Wildlife
Little Djuramin – as regular readers who have been following her story will know – is a miracle wallaroo - that's her on the right of our main picture. Min, as her name was soon shortened to, was found 12 months ago on the roadside close to death in the pouch of her dead mother who had been hit by a car overnight.
It was a very cold early morning when St Albans local Jacob Phillpot stopped and checked the pouch. Locals do that in what’s often called the Forgotten Valley because they care deeply for their wildlife.
It was fortunate for Min that Jacob was the one who stopped. He’s attuned to the local environment and on that early morning was on his way to his job as a bush regenerator. His brother Morgan happens to be the local koala carer.
Jacob said the baby wallaroo was as close to death as you can be. She was so young her hair hadn’t even grown. Jacob wrapped her up warm and immediately took her to his neighbour Linda Bracken.
Ms Bracken told the Post,
“Because Jake was the one who found her, we gave him naming rights, and he chose Djuramin - sister in Dhurag."
Jacob is a humble bloke. “I want to pass on my thanks and respect to all the carers,” he says, “what I did was only 10mins.”
Linda Bracken is a WIRES rescuer and now the lead organiser of Valley for Wildlife – more about that in a moment.
“Our beautiful neighbour Jake took the trouble to check on a dead wallaroo on the way to work and found this little girl inside her mum’s pouch,” Linda says.
“He bought her around to me. When I unwrapped the towel I found a hairless little joey. She was freezing to touch, and very near death. It had been one of the coldest nights we had experienced that winter so far. I knew it was vital to get her body temperature up. I surrounded her with saline bags that I had heated up in the microwave wrapped in towels, and covered her basket with rugs while I called around to the WIRES macropod specialists.
Little Djuramin on the day she was found, and below, as she is today
“I didn’t feed her, it’s important not to feed them anything while they are so cold. It was during lockdown so it was kind of a weird experience to do the handover. I organised to meet WIRES carer Sandra Conner in the car park of the Stone Cafe halfway between the valley and her place.
“All the while on the drive there I kept putting my hand in the basket under the covers, willing her to hold on.”
“The first week was touch-and-go but with excellent care from Sandra, Anne Marks, and veterinarians, she pulled through.”
“Min’s story showed that there was a lot of interest in the local community to find out what they can do to help our local wildlife - that’s why we have started Valley for Wildlife as a community group to share information and to work with allied groups such as Landcare and WIRES.”
Valley for Wildlife has been born out of the hard-working and well respected Macdonald Valley Association.
Linda reports that little Djuramin now 14 months old, is continuing to thrive and in the last couple of weeks has been out in a bigger enclosure as she gets closer and closer to living as a wild wallaroo.
In the expert hands of macropod carer Ms Marks, she is part of a “slow release” plan where she, along with rescued joeys of similar age, go from one enclosure to a bigger one as they get used to each one and are confidently eating and becoming less reliant on their human carers. Eventually, they will move out into the bush outside the enclosure, at their own pace.
Valley for Wildlife is a volunteer group aiming, as Linda puts it, “to activate our community in projects, programs and education initiatives for our wildlife.
"We’re all guardians for our environment.”
Two key areas of education and community engagement will revolve around awareness of wildlife on the roads - and what to do if you come across a joey like Min - and also the prevalence of mange in the valley’s wombat population.
“The lessons from Min show that it’s always worth taking the time to check an animal on the side of the road, be that a wombat, kangaroo, wallaby or koala,” says Ms Bracken.
Min with her mates, other rescued joeys
“Often the joey can survive the accident that has killed the mother.
“The tips I tell people are that it’s very important to keep the joey warm, even if that means popping it down your jumper to take on your own body heat."
“If you have a towel in the car wipe the pouch of the deceased mum with it so it smells familiar to the joey.
“ Do not feed the joey.
“Get specialist care, be that WIRES or a vet, immediately.
“If you can, make it obvious that you have checked the body of the mum, by moving them off the road, marking them, laying sticks on them in an obvious pattern, that will show other drivers that it’s been checked.”
The rescue kit Ms Bracken keeps close at hand in case a joey or other injured animal is found
The official launch of Valley for Wildlife will be at the St Albans School of Arts on June 25. For more information, email email@example.com
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