Kangaroo carnage

We lost yet another member of our extended ‘family’ earlier today. This extended family is the kangaroo population we are privileged to have living practically on our doorstep. In fact, we do find the kangaroos on our doorstep or very close to it from time to time.

We don’t encourage or coax these native animals; they visit us as they please and we leave them in peace as much as possible. We don’t feed them as we want them to be wary of humans.

Our extended family – the local reserve kangaroos

In the early hours of this morning, we heard some commotion outside. Half asleep, we dragged ourselves to the window to see what was happening. The moon was up so there was plenty of light. We couldn’t see anything out of the ordinary, so we went back to bed. The dogs occasionally barked throughout the remainder of the night and we heard some scratching noises, but we just put it down to the regular night time visits of the kangaroos from the reserve.

Shortly after sunrise as I prepared to go on my walk through the reserve area to pick up rubbish, set up obstructions to motorbike riders (again) and check on the fences, I found an injured kangaroo under a pine tree. Judging by the blood trail, the scratching noise we heard was this poor kangaroo trying to drag itself away from the road. He had been hit by a car – one of the many morons that seem to be drawn to this area.

This is the third such incident in a month. If this carnage continues, there will be no kangaroos left here within 12 months. It’s become somewhat of a death row. The cars aren’t the only threat – these kangaroos are regularly harassed by people on foot, dogs let loose by ignorant owners and chased by motorbikes. I’ve even seen kids throwing stones at them while their parents watched. It’s disgusting.

The first kangaroo in this series of incidents sustained horrific injuries – one of its legs was snapped in two; internal bleeding… and it had a joey (baby kangaroo) in its pouch. That kangaroo had to be destroyed and the joey was taken to a carer – but  as the joey was only about 5 inches long,  its chances of survival weren’t good.

The kangaroo hit today was able to lift its head and upper half of his body, but he appeared to have a badly broken jaw. He could move his back legs, but couldn’t get up and seemed terribly dazed. He was too big for me to move without injuring him further and he may have struck out at me, so there was little I could do. I felt helpless and useless and utterly ashamed that I could do nothing for it.

I called Fauna Rescue and they set about trying to get some assistance. No-one was available and given that the kangaroo still wasn’t able to get up, it was suggested to me that the Police should be called so they could destroy the animal. It appears that when a kangaroo cannot get up, it means there’s not much that can be done.

Yet another kangaroo a victim of human stupidity

So that’s what happened – a police officer attended and shot him to end his suffering.

Just because someone was in a hurry to get home last night, driving at an excessive speed for the conditions, perhaps drunk or just not alert; this kangaroo had to then be shot after hours of suffering on its own. After he was put out of his misery, his body was taken to the local tip; just another piece of rubbish spat out by suburbia. A sad end for a beautiful native creature.

It’s not unusual in Australia to see dead kangaroos on the side of the road in rural areas and it’s a terrible thing, but what makes this situation worse is that it happened in the middle of suburbia, next to a protected reserve – a special place we call home. It should be an oasis in the middle of a hostile environment humanity calls ‘civilization’.

There are signs posted on the road to warn of kangaroos, but so many idiots still speed along here. As this area isn’t heavily populated as yet, it still has an open speed limit. Other residential areas have a limit of 50 kilometers an hour. Drivers have a much better chance of avoiding collisions at that speed and if a roo is hit, it has a much better chance of survival.

After the first kangaroo was hit in January, we lodged a submission to Council petitioning that the limit be dropped for this reason among others. A few days ago we received a confirmation that the speed limit would be dropped from 100 kmh to 50 kmh. We were ecstatic.

Unfortunately, it was too late for this poor kangaroo.

It’s incidents like this that really make me wonder about the term “humanity”. Hitting the kangaroo was bad enough, but to leave the kangaroo suffering there on the side of the road? If the driver should somehow happen to read this – I hope the next roo you hit goes right through your windscreen and takes you out too.

This area faces so many challenges from all manner of morons who do not and probably will never appreciate just how special this place is.

I often wonder – is it worth all the stress, time and hassle trying to preserve it? Does this stinking city deserve to have such a place? Should it just be paved over and let the population do what it does best – consume and destroy?

I hate cities with a passion. I despise suburbia and the lives we lead so far removed from the natural world. But we’ll keep fighting to try and help protect this area as best we can for as long as we are here. If we don’t, if we just stand by passively, allowing it all to happen and doing nothing more than tsk, tsking and moaning.. then we simply become a part of the problem.