LIPA'S TALE
Lipa was born at Roo Gully on the 23rd January 2001.
His name is pronounced 'Leaper', but he was in fact named after a Polish tree, which is spelled Lipa.
Lipa
Lipa is an interesting young kangaroo.
His father, Oliver, is also his grandfather, his uncle, Jarrah, is also his half brother,
but more importantly his father is the dominant boomer
and his mother, Wattle, is the daughter of Roo Gully's dominant female, Sadie.
So was Lipa destined to become the top boomer?
Oliver with Wattle
Naturally we were concerned when Oliver returned that year
with the intention of mating his own daughter, our main worry that such inbreeding might result in the joey being deformed or born
with a congenital defect.
Because we had not hand raised Wattle we could not peep inside
her pouch to check on her joey, so for 9 long months
we watched as this baby grew inside the pouch,
all the time hoping it was going to be normal.
Wattle with Lipa in pouch
Wattle feeds Lipa
Finally the day came when it left the pouch. Gently we sneaked up behind and held Wattle's joey - he was a boy.
And he was a fine healthy young roo, who looked just like his mother.
Lipa young joey

Lipa might have been physically OK, which was a huge relief to everyone,
but we soon realised he was a very different young joey in other ways.

Sparring is important to young kangaroo males.

Not only do they enjoy playing but it also helps them
obtain their eventual role within the mob.
The older males play their part in the young boys' education
by taking them under their wing and teaching them
the finer points of boxing.
Boys playing
Wattle and Lipa
But when he was young Lipa was never interested in play fighting with the other kids in the mob.
As we observed he was very reluctant to join in their fun
and games, and it quickly became apparent
the only tutor he had was his mother.
Wattle was preparing him for his special role in life.

Lipa took his lessons seriously.
Even before he was a complete young at foot he assumed the role of sentry,
watching for danger while his mother grazed.
Lipa watches for mum
Lipa on sentry duty

We found it intriguing that she felt secure enough to leave
any early warning signals to her young son,
and so we began to question, was he taught this role?
Or was he born to it?

Whatever the answer we knew he was not just being
a nervous little joey, because this was a role he continued
to be responsible for as he got older.
Lipa sentry duty

Even from an early age Lipa was respected by the other members of the mob.
At first it was thought Wattle's position, as second in charge, earned her son this respect,
but, even when he was a young roo, Lipa was often seen leading the mob away from perceived danger,
with much older and stronger kangaroos instantly obeying his foot stomping signal to flee to the safety of the bush.

We knew then he that he was born to be a very special roo.

Lipa flees
The mob follow Lipa


One day while we were filming Lipa we witnessed that even in the world of roos
it seems that blood is thicker than water!

George Lipa wrestle
George, who was a very cheeky and boisterous young roo,
decided to match his skills against Lipa.
These 2 young boys were evenly matched as far as size and age went,
but we thought George would have better boxing skills because he was always sparring with the other males.
Uncle Jarrah must have been worried about this too,
because he jumped into the arena as if to protect his half brother.
Jarrah wrestles George
George biffs Jarrah
And of course, Jarrah being Jarrah,
quickly got his ears boxed by George!
However it was what happened next that really surprised.
Lipa immediately bounced back into the fray and rescued his older relative.
He stopped young George right in his tracks,
wrestling and boxing with skills none of us knew he had,
and then with a silent stare he firmly told George
who was the boss at Roo Gully.
George averts Lipa's gaze
As the months slipped by Lipa's standing in the mob grew even more.
Lipa alone
But we also noticed he was starting to become a loner.

He would always be on the outer of the mob,
which is typical of what we have observed with a dominant boomer.
Because although Oliver was never far from the roos he was never in the middle of the group.
Usually he rested on slightly higher ground where he could survey his mob.
Lipa was displaying similar behaviour,
which was adding more credence to our early thoughts.

Lipa was never a roo that liked to associate with humans.

However he felt quite at ease coming to the front lawn of the house
and eating grain with the rest of the mob.
Lipa eats grain with the mob
But deep down we knew we could never build a close human kangaroo relationship with Lipa.
Lipa looks

He was tolerating us, and was happy to do so
as long as we didn't try to get too matey with him!

Fortunately he did allow is to enter and share part of his world.
By observing him we saw his continued rise through the ranking of the mob
and this information was invaluable to our study into mob behaviour
and ranking within the mob.

Sadly for us, on the 5th October 2003, Lipa decided to go bush.
He escaped through an emergence release gate
and although he came back to visit and was often seen standing looking through the fence
we could not persuade him to come back in.

Lipa outside fence
Lipa looks through fence

Lipa had chosen his destiny, and that was to run with the wild bucks.

We often think of our young boomer, and wonder what he is doing now.
Wherever he is we are sure he will be a well respected member of his new mob,
and we can only wish him a long and happy life in the wild.

Lipa at waterhole
On behalf of Lipa and his mates we thank you for caring

Lipa's Tale © Roo Gully 2004