As far as the world of science goes Bracken's Tale
is probably one of the most important to have happened at Roo Gully.
This is because her Tale defies current scientific thinking.
But to us Bracken is important because of who she is,
and because we have been with her since the day she was born.
Bracken pretty

Bracken was born on the 8th January 2001.
She was Rosie's second daughter and a welcome joey for her, and us.
She was a very precious newcomer because Rosie's first joey, Eucalypt,
died the previous winter in a tragic drowning accident.

Rosie was born to be a mother, and we felt privileged because she allowed us to share Bracken.

It was a tremendous experience getting to know Bracken.
Bracken in pouch
Rosie allowed us to watch her baby grow from a tiny pink baby...
Bracken in pouch
... to a beautiful young joey, able to film each stage of her development.
Bracken peeps out
We soon realised Bracken was following in her mother's footsteps.
She was growing into a cheeky joey, and because Rosie
had shared Bracken with us she was very confident.
Not in the least bit afraid when we stroked her inside the pouch.
Bracken cheeky
The day she became a born again joey, the first time she fell out of the pouch, was really special.
Bracken born again
It is a very stressful event for every mother and joey, and so when Bracken managed to get back in successfully Rosie and I hugged each other.
I will never forget looking down to see Bracken peeping
up at us wondering what all the fuss was about.
Bracken looks
Bracken began to spend longer periods out of the pouch. She was a brave little joey, very adventurous, and loved exploring, but always made sure mum was never out of sight.
Rosie and Bracken
Bracken back to mum
Carol with Bracken and Rosie

It was a wonderful time for us all.
Rosie was more than willing to share her joey, and Bracken was not in the least frightened by these humans in her life.
We loved it.


Sadly before Bracken became a young at foot
Rosie suddenly became very sick and, within a few hours, she died.
Bracken was distraught. All through that night we listened to her calling for her mother.

The next morning we found her looking forlorn and lost.
It was so distressing.

Bracken Alone
Bracken carried into house
Knowing she must be very hungry Bracken was caught
and carried into the house.

To our surprise she didn't protest
and gladly accepted a bottle of milk.
We thought back to our relationship with Rosie
and how she had encouraged us to get to know her joey.

Bracken loved

Had Rosie known her time was limited and so allowed Bracken to bond with us?
It was something else we would never know.

After much thought we decided not to raise Bracken inside the house with the other orphaned joeys.
Although she was not quite a young at foot she was fast approaching the final stage of her pouch life.
Roo Gully had always been her home, and the Bush Gang had been her mob.
We decided it was better for her to stay with her own kind and be fed by us a few times each day,
but we were prepared to step in if things went wrong.

What happened next was astounding.

The following morning we were woken early
by the sound of kangaroos kicking the kitchen door.
In they trouped, even roos that had not been inside
the house for months. The kitchen and bedroom
were full of roos, and with them was Bracken.
They had brought her home to be fed.
Boys bring Bracken home

This amazing behaviour was not just a one off situation.
A couple of times each day a different group of roos would bring Bracken inside,
wait patiently while she drank a bottle of milk, then lead her outside again.

Boys with Bracken
There they would lay with her, some resting a paw on her back,
others with a leg lying over her, someone always close.
We could not believe what was happening,
and neither could anyone else.
But Bracken really missed having a mother
and started to tag along with the other young joeys, following their mothers.

She even tried to get a free feed from one or two.

Most mothers objected and were assertive with her,
and when they were not then their joeys were, chasing her away.

Tingle rebuffs Bracken
Bracken alone in bushes
We resigned ourselves to the possibility
we would be feeding Bracken until she weaned.

Then what all the experts said was impossible happened.

We went outside and there was Bracken, head inside Heidi's pouch, drinking away.

And this is the photo that is changing scientific thinking!

Heidi feeds Bracken

I must admit at first we thought we were mistaken, but no, there was Maple,
Heidi's daughter, standing behind Bracken patiently waiting for her turn.

We could not believe it, but we tried not to get too excited.
Surely this was just a one off, Maple and Bracken are similar sizes,
maybe Heidi simply became confused and fed the wrong joey.

Day after day, hour after hour, we sat watching and filming.
This was no mistake.
Heidi had definitely adopted Bracken.

Maple waits
And Maple had accepted the situation too.
Always waiting so Bracken could feed first.

The adoption was complete, having been accepted by all involved.
The unknown had happened.

Today Bracken is a very much accepted member of the mob.
She has position, ranking and, despite her age, the respect of the other mob members.

More than anything she still has a close relationship with those that helped her
all those years ago when her mother died.
She is often seen with the boys who gave her so much support, and her adopted sister Maple.

Max and Bracken
Maple and Bracken
And she is still extremely close to her adoptive mother, Heidi.
Bracken and Heidi play

Bracken's Tale asks the question just why did was she adopted by Heidi?
Well, after Katie went bush, Heidi became Rosie's best mate.
They explored the bush together, shared many adventures and of course raised their joeys side by side.
So when Rosie died Heidi took over her role.

After all, isn't that what best mates do?


Heidi and her girls

By 'adopting' you will help us keep Bracken with her adopted family group,
and help fund a vital study that will throw new light on kangaroo behaviour.
Your 'adoption' will help us prove that kangaroos do care about others within their mob,
and could help us prove something that up until now many have disbelieved - that kangaroos do adopt.

For those who met and loved our beautiful Rosie, or fell in love with her through the Tales,
we have to say that Bracken is growing to be so much like her mother -
high spirited, dominant and so very beautiful.
We know Rosie would have been so very proud of her daughter.
Because we certainly are.

Bracken beautiful
On behalf of Bracken and her mates we thank you for caring

Bracken's Tale © Roo Gully 2004