BILLY'S TALE
Billy arrived to live at Roo Gully on Thursday, 19th September 2002 after his mother was killed in a road accident.

Billy's date of arrival was significant for two reasons. Only a few hours earlier we had held the very first committee meeting of the Roo Gully Wildlife Sanctuary charity, and on that same day in 1996 Sadie, our very first joey, came to live with us.
Billy in pouch

Although it can never be truly stated that any animal is lucky to lose his mother Billy was luckier than many of the joeys who are brought to Roo Gully after being found in their dead mother's pouch on the side of the road. Sadly too many lay in the silent pouch for hours, some for days, and tragically far too many die of starvation, or are eaten by predators. Luckily for Billy the driver of the vehicle involved in the accident, a local farmer, rescued him immediately, and having raised a joey himself snuggled Billy down his sweater until he got home. That night his wife drove Billy to us.

Every year many orphaned joeys arrive at Roo Gully, and we are extremely busy this time of the year because most of the joeys are furred and stand a good chance of surviving. However we do try and limit how many will make their home with us because of space, finances and in all fairness to them if we try to care for too many we cannot give them all the care and love they need.
Luckily we do get to know of people willing to give joeys a good home. Most of these people are experienced with joeys and have properties where the joey can grow up with plenty of space to run.

Billy cuddled by Carol

Sometimes we also pass on joeys to wildlife carers in other areas who have a lighter workload than us at the time.

Billy arrived during a very busy period for us. He was a healthy young roo, and because we had been talking to a wildlife carer who wanted a young joey to bond with an only joey she was caring for we were arranging to pass Billy on to her. However she could not pick him for just over a week, and during that time the inevitable happened - yes we fell totally in love with Billy.
He is one of those joeys you could not fail to love.

Besides to strengthen our case he was bonding with young Libby, and he was a good playmate for Meeka.

The vote was that Billy stayed at Roo Gully.

Libby and Billy in pouch

Luckily the other wildlife carer received another joey during that week, in fact another three joeys, so her little roo was going to have plenty of playmates too.

So have we had any second thoughts about offering Billy a home with us?

Billy on lawn
Well he is certainly a very active young roo, who gives us a run for our money, but he is adorable and very very loving.

And what does Billy think?

Well, at first young Billy was living in a house full of females, and sometimes he got fed up with them licking and kissing him so he hid his head in his pouch.

Billy with the girls
BIlly sucks Stuey's ear
Then Stuey arrived, and Billy must have thought he had a mate. However Stuey was a sick little boy, and preferred the company of a gentler joey such as Libby, and so Billy teamed up with Beth.
Beth was a very nervous joey when she first came to live at Roo Gully, but she saw that Billy loved excitement and just seemed to know he was her kind of guy!
Together these two joeys cause us all sorts of worry. We often see them standing on the bank planning their next adventure down the creek, and we spend the rest of the day wondering what trouble they are getting in to.
Beth Billy planning
Billy's foot in splint

One day Billy got into more trouble than he had bargained for. Beth came home and climbed into her pouch so we went looking for her partner in crime. After an intensive search we found Billy looking very sorry for himself down behind a log next to the creek. He had fractured his foot!

 

Having his foot in a splint sure curbed Billy's wanderings, but he was a good patient, and oh such a very brave little boy. Only a mother could say that! And even though we are sure this is only the first of many worries our 'rough neck' Billy is going to give us, we do love him dearly.
Billy cheeky

We estimate it costs about $1000 to raise a joey, probably in Billy's case much more than this when we pay all the vet bills he is likely to run up! Your 'adoption' will help us to raise Billy, and several others this year.
During Roo Gully's study into joey development we learned how kangaroos teach their young, what makes a joey feel secure, and how they are taught to gain confidence. Learning from the mothers in the Roo Gully mob we improved how we cared for the orphaned joeys, and discovered how responsible we are for their early education.
The relationship between joey and human works well until the joey gets older, and wants to be more active during the evening. Then the time has arrived for the joey to join the mob. It is important to find out how the joey gains its ranking within the mob, how it learns to become a kangaroo, and which kangaroos continue its education. Hopefully we shall also discover what a joey knows instinctively, what it learns from its human carers and what it must learn from other kangaroos. Volunteers and students will hopefully assist in this research.

On behalf of Billy and his mates we thank you for caring

Billy's Tale © Roo Gully 2003