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Please check the pouch!

So many Australians care deeply about our native wildlife and wish there was more they could do to help. One of the most valuable services the public can provide to the wildlife care community is to check the pouch of a kangaroo that has been hit by a vehicle.

There’s no getting around the fact that using cars means that sometimes wildlife are going to get hit. What you might not think about when passing the body is that there can often still be life in there.

Young joeys can live for up to several days inside the pouch of a dead mother, depending on their size and development.

The first option here is to perform a pouch check yourself. A difficult task, but knowing there are lives you could save is a great motivator.

The second option is to get in touch with a wildlife carer and they will hopefully be able to investigate. Wildlife carers can’t be everywhere, sadly, so they need your help spotting and checking or calling in whenever possible.

It’s something special to discover a little joey that still has a chance.

If you think you’d like to have a go at recovering animals, it’s a good idea to have a ‘Boot Buddy’ kit in your car – materials to safely rescue and transport animals.

Important considerations when attempting to help wildlife: Never put yourself in danger from animals or traffic; DO NOT EVER ATTEMPT TO PICK UP A BAT OR SNAKE. These animals must only be handled by experienced/vaccinated carers; do not offer food or water unless advised to do so by a vet or rehabilitator; do not remove an animal from the pouch of a live animal, and never remove a joey that is still attached to their deceased mother’s teat.

An animal may need help if it meets one of the following criteria:

  • Can be approached more easily than expected, doesn’t startle or try to escape

  • Appears lethargic, lazy and/or tired

  • Species usually seen in trees observed on the ground (e.g. koalas, possums, gliders, flying foxes), and

  • Nocturnal animals out during the daylight.

A ‘Boot Buddy’ is a simple set of items that can be carried in cars to assist our wildlife:

  • A towel: to capture the animal/bird and keep it wrapped up in the box

  • Pillow case: to contain marsupials

  • Elastic band to close the pillow case and keep the animal snug. Small animals like to be kept in small pouches so adjust the location of the band to suit the size of the animal

  • Gardening gloves: to handle wildlife safely and hygienically

  • Medium-sized cardboard box with air holes for ventilation, and

  • A Wildlife Contact Card or number saved on your phone.


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