Kangaroos are invading the city on a desperate search for food and water as the drought takes its toll on all walks of life.
Locally the Wildlife Rescue and Information Service has been overwhelmed with calls, rescues, drop-offs and pick-ups, as the wayward kangaroos continue to come into contact with high traffic areas, particularly at dusk, as people rush home from work.
North West Macropod coordinator Kerrie Rule said she has never seen anything like it in her 20 years as a volunteer with the service.
“I am getting 10 phone calls about joeys a day sometimes – normally I might get one or two a week, if that,” she said.
“We also get lots of calls for roos that are still alive that have to be assessed, and maybe euthanised – a joey can stay alive in the pouch for up to a week.”
“We had seven joeys come in last week just on the WIRES phone, and there are more getting dropped off at vets.”
While Mrs Rule has one joey in her care, other volunteers, such as Gwenda Jarman have “eight or nine”, and it is a massive commitment.
“It costs about $1000 per joey in milk and food, because we have to have them in care for up to ten months, and at the moment we can’t even release them because there is no feed to release them to,” Ms Rule said.
“There is probably close to 60 in care in the North West at the moment.
“We would love to see more people volunteer, even if it is just sewing bags for the joeys, dropping boxes off or anything, it doesn’t have to be taking them in, but if you can’t the best way to help is to donate money, because we do get subsidies to help with costs.”
At the moment there are no WIRES volunteers in the Gunnedah, Moree, Boggabri and Narrabri regions, which is putting even further strain on the less than 10 local volunteers.
Despite the increasing demand, Ms Rule, who has also been a foster mother to over 50 children, as well as countless wildlife remains optimistic.
“Every day is one day closer to the drought breaking,” she said.
“If we can start getting good rain now, we might be able to release them in spring.”
In the meantime WIRES is holding Rescue and Immediate Care workshops around the region for people wishing to sign up and volunteer.
They are being held in Gunnedah on June 24, Narrabri on July 22 and, in Tamworth on August 19.
“We would love to see more people doing the courses and volunteering, although we know it can be a big commitment,” Mrs Rule said.
“We really want people just to drive more carefully, it can make a huge difference.”