Victorian wildlife rescuers have shared the story behind a horrific photo of an injured kangaroo covered in mud, highlighting the devastating loss of the Australian Current took on local animals.
Deb Fowler, co-owner of the company said a juvenile male kangaroo was brought into her care on Saturday after getting caught on a fence in Kiyala West – one of several areas under flood evacuation orders.
“I cleaned his eyes and ears and nose because he was full of dirt. The biggest worry at the moment is the pneumonia infection – he had a cold and was in shock,” she told SBS News.
Ms Fowler said she was “not very hopeful” the marsupial would recover.
The organization posted a photo on social media warning motorists to slow down on the Midland Highway, also known as Muroopna Road.
Authorities closed the highway late Saturday night.
“The kangaroos live on both sides of the dam at Muroopna and the floodwaters came up quite quickly yesterday and the kangaroos were forced to try and find dry land,” Ms Fowler said.
A kangaroo has become caught in a fence after jumping away from floodwaters at Lake Kiala, Victoria. Source: Delivered / Bohollo Wildlife Refuge
“They were jumping the embankment and getting hit by cars, it was absolute chaos. We managed to save about half a dozen kangaroos, but we had to euthanize a whole bunch more than the ones that were very badly injured.’
The garnered over 1,000 likes and comments in less than 24 hours, with many people expressing their desire to help.
“Thank you so much for helping these poor creatures. Please slow down everyone, these animals just want to live too,” one Facebook user wrote.
“We seem to forget that we’re not the only ones affected by the flood,” another person commented.
Ms Fowler, who runs the refuge with wildlife care colleague Kirsty Ramadan, said they welcome cash donations as well as food, hay, bird seed, towels and blankets.
They currently have 40 animals, including kangaroos, gliders and birds, and expect many more to arrive in the coming days.
Orphaned joeys found at home in Shepparton, Victoria. Source: Delivered / Wildlife Victoria
Over the past week, Wildlife Victoria has also been inundated with more than 1100 calls from members of the public to help the rescued animals.
The charity’s chief executive, Lisa Palma, said rescue teams were finding it difficult to reach many of the wildlife in distress due to flooding and blocked roads.
“What we’ve seen across the state is a large number of animals that are flooded, injured, displaced or stranded,” she said.
“A complicating factor for our wildlife at the moment is that it’s spring and some of them have a pouch of young … which makes them particularly vulnerable to extreme weather.”
Rescuers were called to help a group of eastern gray kangaroos trapped by floodwaters in the Goulburn Valley region on Sunday.
Some were killed by cars after escaping onto the road, but one kangaroo, Joey, was rescued by a Wildlife Victoria volunteer and is now at a local sanctuary.
Ms Palma said the latest flooding in northern Victoria and Tasmania was another blow to Australia’s native animals, which have suffered from a number of major bushfires and floods in recent years.
According to the World Wide Fund for Nature, about three billion animals, including mammals, reptiles, birds and frogs, were killed or displaced due to forest fires in the country in 2019-20.
“That’s the problem with natural disasters, which are becoming more frequent. The impact on wildlife can go on for a very, very long time afterwards,” Ms Palma said.
Despite clearer weather in Victoria on Sunday, the State Emergency Service warned that river levels would continue to rise and people should remain vigilant.
Echuca is expected to be hit by two peak floods, including one on Tuesday and another later this week.