FERN'S TALE
Fern was born at Roo Gully in February 2001.
Fern

We never got the chance to follow Fern's development inside the pouch,
because although her mother, Tingle, was born inside the house,
and we had filmed her throughout her pouch life,
she was raised by her own mother, Katie, and this meant she was wary of humans.
When she was older we could always get close enough to stroke Tingle
but could not take a peep in her pouch.
So it was many months before we knew she had a daughter - who we named Fern.

Tingle feeds Fern
But Tingle and Fern still gave valuable information for our study into joey development.
B
ecause Tingle had been was raised by her mother, Katie,
we were able observe a kangaroo, that was not hand raised, raise her own joey.
It was a wonderful opportunity.
Fern

Tingle proved to be a very good mother,
and Fern was a funny little joey, who as she grew reminded us of an elf.

Because she only saw us from a distance it was not surprising
that she was cautious when we were around,
and we often saw her peeping
from behind a tree
when we went down to the creek to check the roos.

Fern shy
Fern limping
This arrangement worked fine until the day we saw Fern limping badly. We knew she had hurt herself.
And this meant we had to catch her so we could examine and hopefully treat her injury.
Knowing kangaroos can simply collapse and die when stressed we sedated Fern before Jules,
our vet, began his examination.
He discovered she had suffered a serious gash under her foot that went down to the bone.
Sadly she had also severed the tendon to her large toe.
As Fern remained sedated we discussed the options open to us.
To surgically repair the tendon meant a major operation,
followed by daily handling to change dressings.
This would mean either days of stress or prolonged sedation,
so we decided not to operate immediately.
Student discusses injury
Fern sedated

Instead we treated her cut and injected her long acting antibiotics.
After all she was living in a wildlife sanctuary and we hoped would never have to flee from predators. If the injury left her severely handicapped then we would take the risk and operate.

While she recovered from the sedation Fern lay on Roy's chest in the lounge.
Fern recovers
Fern not happy with us
And then, when she came round, we carried her back
into the bush by the creek and reunited her with Tingle.
She was not happy with us.
And clearly by the looks she gave us she was too impressed
with her treatment either,
but it did help her.
Fern looks
The cut healed without becoming infected and although the tendon did not mend,
which means she now hops with her large toe pointed upwards,
she can get around and enjoys life to the full.
Fern with Tingle
Fern is now a big girl, but still remains very close to her mother.
In fact, they have an amazing relationship, which is further helping with our studies into mob behaviour, and roles within the mob.

Even though she is very timid, we feel very attached to Fern too.
She is an amusing young roo, and still has not lost her elfin look.

Fern watches
Fern eats grain
Although there are some days we think she looks more like her mother, Tingle, than ever.
Because she was born here, and because she cannot hop as fast as the other roos,
she would definitely be handicapped in the wild, so Fern will live at Roo Gully for the rest of her life.
Your 'adoption' will help assure her future life at Roo Gully and enable us to continue the studies that involve Fern.
Fern by bushes
On behalf of Fern and her mates we thank you for caring

Fern's Tale © Roo Gully 2004