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Wildlife rescue via horseback

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A weekend ride through the Bullsbrook pines yesterday turned into quite an adventure for Fiona Nunn and Louise O’Shea. The pair became wildlife warriors, ferrying an injured kangaroo and her joey via horseback out of the dense bush to a wildlife rescuer.

Louise explains, “We started off on a very bushy track and stumbled across a fallen tree, which forced us to turn back and take a completely different direction.

“As we headed home, we saw a young kangaroo lying down unable to move.”

Louise took charge of the horses while Fiona cautiously approached the kangaroo to assess the situation.

“After a few phone calls I realised getting someone out here to collect or euthanase her was out of the question,” she said. “The mother kangaroo let me approach her – she growled a little, but I was able to reach into her pouch and put the joey down my bra (best place I had!).

“Louise and I then struggled for at least half an hour to get her onto my horse D2. The roo was heavy, but D2 stood so still, like he knew exactly what we were doing.”

The pair’s MacGyver-like ingenuity and D2’s kind and quiet nature set them up for success on the journey back.

“Fiona and I removed the stirrup leathers from our horses’ saddles to gently tie the roo and secure her legs, so no one would sustain an injury,” said Louise.

“D2 handled like a champion,” said Fiona. “I had no stirrups, barely any reins, and he was carrying an extra 50 kg of live kangaroo across the front of the saddle.”
For D2, an off-the-track thoroughbred rescued by Fiona nearly five years ago, the wildlife recovery mission adds to his list of talents.

“I have evented, show jumped, hunted and hacked him in the past,” said Fiona. “He’s just wonderful and really shows what the breed can do.”

Fiona and Louise were met by Fiona’s dad along the way, which saved the grateful pair an extra 2 kilometres of riding sans stirrups with the roo on board.

Unfortunately, the mother kangaroo, who had a broken hip, passed just as wildlife rescue prepared to euthanase her. Her joey, affectionately named Bluey, which was D2’s moniker before Fiona owned him, is now safe in the hands of wildlife carer Andrea Jane from Express Wildlife Rescue and Rehab INC.

“Thank you to Louise for her patience and help, and to the amazing Andrea who took in little Bluey and will be introducing him back into the wild in 18 months or so,” said Fiona.

“It was quite the day!” said Louise.