ALEXI'S TALE
Alexi died very suddenly on the morning of Thursday, the 10th April 2003.
Alexi poses

Alexi came to live at Roo Gully on Saturday, 8th February 2003.
We were told, that he was bred in captivity by someone
who has been breeding white kangaroos for many years for commercial tourist parks.
The breed was started with a male albino Red kangaroo and a Blue Flyer -
some of the female Red kangaroos are in fact blue, hence their name.

Sadly Alexi was the product of a mother and son mating so he had problems.

Although in the right light he looked to have pink eyes, he was not albino, and his eyes were in fact blue, as this photo shows.
Sadly the pink colouration seen in certain lights came about because his retinas had bled, and he did have severe vision problems. A vet diagnosed he was totally blind in his left eye, and that he only had approximately 25% sight in his right eye. And how good this vision was could only be guessed. He did seem to be able to distinguish light and dark, and large objects, but we doubt he saw anything clearly and so we became his eyes.
Alexi blue eyes
There was no way Alexi could have survived at a tourist park so when he was a young joey
he went to live with a wildlife carer who lives near the west coast of Australia
and she did a very good job raising him.
However, being a Red kangaroo, and male, Alexi was not going to stay small for ever.
They grow very big, and not having the space to keep a fully grown Red kangaroo
she began the search to find a permanent home for Alexi
while he was young enough to make the change and bond with new carers.
It was during this search that she visited Roo Gully, and liking the way we care for our kangaroo mob,
and the natural environment we provide for them, she asked if he could live with us.
Alex and his first carer
Everyone was apprehensive the day Alexi arrived at Roo Gully, and it was sad to witness the sad farewell his carer gave him before she left him to begin life in his new home.
For the first few days Alexi wandered around the house, investigating every room,
checking out his new territory and making sure he knew where every obstacle was located.


Alexi explores

It was very sad to see him bump into things,
but he was a very intelligent kangaroo
and soon learned his way around
quickly remembering where things,
such as furniture and doors, were situated.
Alexi exploring
Alexi had to accept many changes in his life, but we also had to make changes too.
For the first time ever we were sharing our home with a creature with a visual disability.
We had to remember not to move things.
If we sat in a chair we had to make sure we put it back in its usual place, and not leave it in the middle of a room.
We also had to walk more slowly if Alexi was following us so he was not tempted to hop after us and bump into walls.
Alexi in lounge
The first few days were difficult for him and us, but he settled in remarkably well, and accepted us.
But sadly Alexi had problems being accepted by the other roos.
Whether it was because he was visually handicapped or because he was white,
he was different to them and they knew it.
Carol with Alexi and Libby
Because of this he was always supervised
when outside with the mob.
But even this supervision did not make him feel secure,
especially when Libby tried to tell him he was not wanted.
Alexi runs from Libby
Even Meeka, another Red kangaroo, and herself slighly different because she was a 'Blue Flyer',
did not give Alexi a warm Roo Gully welcome.
She seemed interested in him when he was lying in his basket in the lounge.
Meeka investigates Alexi
Meeka sniffs Alexi
But when she met him outside it was a different story!
Alexi meets Meeka
Our hearts went out to Alexi.
And after a few long discussions with him,
it was thought best he remained a house roo.
Carol talks to Alexi
Alexi in his basket
And Alexi was happiest lying in his basket.
Alexi's colour also caused problems for us.
Having never cared for a white roo before we had no idea how dirty they became!
And so Alexi and I spent many an interesting hour or two on the lawn while I tried to wash him!
Bath time was usually me chasing him
with the bucket of soapy water.
Alexi bathed
Alexi dried
But once he was rinsed he seem to love being dried.
And it was during these times that Alexi and I bonded.

And that bond was to grow and strengthen during our evening play sessions.

Because the strong Australian sun posed a serious risk to Alexi from skin cancer,
and could perhaps cause even further damage to his eyes,
these play sessions were during the hours of darkness.
And we both loved them!

Kangaroo boxing is an acquired skill and should never be undertaken by the inexperienced.
However, how do you really gain that experience without actually doing it!?
Well that is the secret - you have to do it if you want to play with a kangaroo!

And we have been doing it for years.
First with very young male joeys, who were raised as 'only' joeys with no mates to play or teach them,
and so we had the experience to play with an older roo like Alexi.

He learned to follow me by listening to my voice
and the clicks of my fingers and,
because he had problems seeing where I was,
I was able to sidestep his kicks.

Well most of the time!
I admit Alexi caught me out sometimes
and I sported a few bruises from our adventures.
Especially when he charged at me from a distance
and literally threw himself into my arms.
But those bruises were worth it.
Alexi was adorable and we were building a unique bond.
Both learning so much about kangaroo, and human, behaviour.
These play sessions also introduced Alexi to the mob.
There were some problems initially, with roos like Meeka
who, being young, thought she should be allowed to join in too.
But seeing Alexi with me, they began to accept him,
and he was able to graze outside with the mob without incidence.
Alexi with Gang

We had hoped to have Alexi examined by an ophthalmic veterinary surgeon, in the hope something could be done to improve his sight, but sadly he died before that could be arranged. Alexi's sudden death was a shock to us.
He had drunk his morning bottle and was going through his normal morning routine, following people as they went about their early morning chores, which included feeding all the animals and birds. Sadly one morning he was discovered lying near the carport. He was dead.

Alexi's lips, gums and nose were blue, and also his skin. Maybe because he was white we noticed this more, but we immediately suspected a massive heart attack. Looking back on his last few days we also remembered he had spent many hours sleeping, which was unusual for him. But we also accept he could also have fallen and hit his head, or damaged his neck, because he was always bumping into things. Sadly we will never know the cause.
We rang the woman who had raised him and together we decided against a post mortem. We all knew that as well as having problems with his vision, he could have had other underlying problems, and she was warned when he was very young that it was doubtful he would live to be an old roo. A post mortem just seemed pointless.


Alexi was very special to us, not because he was white, but because he was Alexi.
He had a very loving nature, was intelligent and because he was reliant on us he was also obedient,
which to us was a first in kangaroos!

His first carer asked that Alexi remain at Roo Gully and be buried in our bush cemetery.
Maybe Alexi's passing was a blessing in disguise for him.
It distressed us immensely to know he could not see properly,
it seemed no life for a kangaroo to have such vision problems,
but now Alexi has passed over Rainbow Bridge we know a whole new world of vision,
a world of colours, and of sights to behold, have been opened up to him,
and although we miss him dearly, we know his passing is probably a happy release for him.

Alexi kisses Carol
On behalf of Alexi we thank you for caring, and for loving him too

Alexi's Tale © Roo Gully 2003