Di and Peter Paice
“I’d love to have a joey,” I said to a friend some years ago, having heard of someone she knew who raised little orphaned joeys. Months later, my friend saw one of her local eastern greys have a nasty accident on a barbed wire fence at her vineyard; the doe dropped the joey from her pouch. My friend waited in vain for the mother to return. She rang and asked if I still wanted a joey. I jumped at the chance and contacted Wildlife Aid for advice.
It was necessary for me to join the group and be licensed to care for native animals. I also had to undergo a very informative macropod training course. Sue Fraser became my mentor and gave me immediate assistance on handling this newcomer to our family, and became a wonderful friend with invaluable advice and patience as I asked a million different questions regarding the behavior and care of our joey. We of course named him “Joey”. As it is advantageous for eastern greys (sociable mob kangaroos) to be raised in pairs, we soon got another little boy, then a little girl. In no time there were three! My husband was just as much in love with our joeys as I was, and having more available time than me, has been our main carer over the years. He is so patient and gentle with them and they treat him as their mum. Little did we know back then that eastern greys have such wonderful and endearing natures that they would change our lives. They make you laugh, can make you cry if they are sick, but the reward when you have raised them to a fine healthy individual ready to be released back to the wild is amazing.
We are lucky enough to be able to release at our property and still see most of our mob returning daily. However, many town people have successfully raised joeys to a certain size, and then passed them on to other carers for release. Seven of our twenty-two babies have come to us from town and are now grown up and have free access to the bush. We would recommend this experience to anyone. You need to be gentle, have plenty of patience and time to feed and love them, but they will trust you completely and form a special bond with you that is so rewarding. It is a privilege to play a worthwhile part in the life of a wild native animal!