FLOSSIE'S TALE

Flossie died suddenly on the 19th November 2003,
whilst running and playing with the other joeys in the paddock.
People were with the joeys when Flossie collapsed and died,
but despite trying mouth to mouth resuscitation they could not save her.

Flossie's short life was a joy to share and we invite you to share it too.

Flossie

The phone rings late in the evening of the 31st August 2003. Its a local farmer. He tells us kangaroos have damaged his fence so he shot a couple of roos and wants to know if we will care for the joeys he found in the pouches.

Its a dilemma for Roo Gully. According to what a government wildlife officer told us it is illegal for wildlife carers to take in joeys orphaned by shooting. We can see that there is little point in professional shooters and farmers killing kangaroos that cause problems and then saving the babies, but it puts us in a difficult position, because if we refuse to accept the joys what is the alternative? It does not bear thinking about.
We know this farmer, and are well aware that he does not regularly shoot roos, nor does he shoot them for sport, so we accepted the 2 little baby girls he brought to us an hour later. Although we confess he did get a short 'lecture' on how to make his fences less susceptible to kangaroo damage!

So there we were, late at night, and 2 extra joeys. We picked up the phone and found a home for one with a good wildlife carer we know. As for the other joey - well in the next few days we got busy caring for wildlife, writing the newsletter which goes out to 'adopters' and making our films. Suddenly we found that we had fallen in love with the other one. She even had a name, of sorts - Flossie.
Flossie Shy
Flossie was an 'extra' joey, but a delight to care for and she soon settled in to life at Roo Gully.
Flossie looking
Flossie peeps
She was a cheeky little roo - and intelligent..
Joeys in pouches

One of the most important lessons a young joey in care must learn is that its cloth pouch is now its safe haven.

Flossie was a quick learner, and soon realised that she should always return to us and her pouch if ever she felt frightened.

One of our greatest rewards of wildlife caring is being with a young kangaroo joey when it discovers it has such tremendous spring in its legs. It is a delight to watch them hop, and leap into the air.

Flossie definitely did not disappoint, although at times she was a little too confident
and was involved in a few collisions during joey play time on the lawn.

Floss on collision course
Flossie collision
The old saying 'Never work with animals and children' is true, especially when it comes to filming them. It requires hours of patience trying to get 'the' shot, and this filming session was not made any easier by Floss who wanted to be in among the action!
Flossie 'helps' film
Flossie in paddock
Flossie was a beautiful young joey, and being slightly older than the other inside joeys she was confident. She began her journeys down to the creek, where she met the older roos, and because she was learning the way back to the house from every corner of Roo Gully we hoped she would be able to help us teach Abby and Cassie when they ventured away from the garden area.

But that was never going to happen. Time ran out for young Flossie early in the evening of the 19th November. Why she suddenly died is another mystery. She was our healthiest and biggest joey, but of course we will never know if she had an undetected heart defect, or whether she suffered a catostrophic stroke. The only other possibility is snake bite.

Tragically, and ironically, 10 days later the other young joey who came into care the same night as Flossie also died. Shelley was discovered paralysed in her pouch. She had suffered no previous apparent illness of injury, and after being examined by 2 veterinarians it was thought she had suffered a severe brain haemorrhage. With no hope of recovery, she was humanely put to sleep.
Flossie and Shelley had different mothers but, coming from the same mob and looking so alike, we suspect they had the same father. We now think they could have inherited a genetic defect, which caused their untimely deaths. If there is a buck in the wild who is throwing defective genes then many young joeys still with their mothers will be dying too. We just hope that those who survive did not inherit this problem, because when the young males disperse they could pass this on to a much wider Western Grey kangaroo population in the future.

Flossie pretty

Young Flossie was not only a personal loss, but also a great loss to our studies. Intelligence is difficult to measure, but we know that during our work with kangaroos we have been fortunate to have known at least one kangaroo who was exceptionally bright. That was Rosie, and her daughter Bracken is all ready showing signs of having inherited some of her mother's intelligence. Rosie was a leader with an important role in the mob, and likewise Bracken is climbing the pecking order ladder even though she is younger than many of the females.
We suspected Flossie to do the same. She was definitely a leader too, a chief not an indian.
We had hoped to observe Flossie throughout her life and gain more valuable information as to what a joey knows instinctively, what it learns from humans and what it learns from other kangaroos. Sadly her life was cut tragically short, and we never had the opportunity.

One thing for sure we will miss our little leader of the Gang, and we will not be the only ones. Flossie was loved by many people, young and old, visitors and volunteers. She will never be forgotten.

On behalf of Flossie we thank you for caring
Flossie's Tale © Roo Gully 2004