STUEY'S TALE

Stuey died at Roo Gully on the 9th January 2003.
His death was caused by either a fox or a dog attack.

Stuey's Tale is now a tribute to a very special little roo, who we dearly loved.

Stuey
We first met Stuey in August 2002. He had been orphaned by shooters.
People often bring newly orphaned joeys to Roo Gully to be checked over,
weighed and to receive advice regarding their diet,
such as how much milk they should be given and how often.
We did not see Stuey again until 20th October.
Stuey sick
Stuey was very sick when he was brought back to Roo Gully.
Sadly his family had not realised how time consuming young joeys
can be. They had a young family and ran a busy farm and,
because Stuey was not a good feeder, slowly over the weeks
he began to lose weight.
Suddenly he reached a stage when he came close to dying.
Over the first few days we fought hard to save little Stuey.
He was so weak he could not even suck his bottles so we had to rehydrate him with fluids under his skin.
Our vet, Jules, was very concerned about his condition,
and decided that Stuey should remain at Roo Gully.
Stuey exmained
Stuey grazes
Feeding him little and often Stuey began to get stronger
and within a week he was able to stand up outside
and nibble grass on the lawn.
Because he had been an only joey Stuey did not know he was a kangaroo,
and preferred human company, but when he came to live at Roo Gully he had to share his home,
and us, with the other orphans in care.
At first Stuey did not think much to Billy giving him
a real Roo Gully welcome by sucking his ear,
but he eventually got used to living with his new mates.
Billy and Stuey
Of course being the baby, the little guy who was sick, Stuey became a favourite with the volunteers.
Kids
And so while the other joeys disappeared down to the creek
on their latest adventure
Stuey made sure he still got lots of attention from his humans.
Stuey with Karina

After talking to his first family we have all agreed that Stuey should stay at Roo Gully.

Stuey began to do very well.
He slowly gained weight and began to enjoy his life,
even joining Billy, Beth and Libby in their adventures down in the bush by the creek.

Sadly it was his love of the creek which eventually cost Stuey his life.

Creek in summer
Roo Gully is a unique wildlife sanctuary because the kangaroos
are able to live in a natural environment with plenty of bush and a creek.
In summer the creek dries up, apart from a few remaining waterholes,
and provides good natural food and shelter for the wildlife
that has to remain with us.
It is alive with native wildlife, and tragically as we were to discover
it was also home to introduced feral animals, such as the fox.
The orphan joeys always begin their life at Roo Gully living inside the house, and as they get older they are slowly and gently introduced
to the other kangaroos and the outside world.
Carol joeys couch

However because humans are diurnal and kangaroos are crepuscular,
which means they are more active at dawn and dusk - and for roos, dusk means first light, or just before
- suddenly the time arrives when joeys want to be outside with the big roos.
It is at this stage that we do not, and cannot, replace their mothers.
Every one of our joeys is at the 'young at foot' stage when it is allowed to go outside without us,
but in the wild a young kangaroo remains under its mother's protection for a very long time.
During our studies into joey development and mob behaviour we discovered
that the bond between mother and joey is strong for more than 2 years.

When to allow the joeys to go bush has always been a dilemma for us,
but it became easier when we began to raise the orphans in groups.

Bron and kids
Being orphans they do not have their mothers when they want
to be outside in the early hours of the morning, but they have
each other, and often within weeks older mob members,
usually Bron our 'kindergarten teacher', or one of males,
takes the younger kids under their wing.

For many months that season's joeys mingled with the mob during the day,
coming inside at night to watch TV with us, before going to sleep in their pouches.
But then they suddenly wanted to be outside at first light, or just before.


We would put them all outside the front door,
where they fed from the feeding station before hopping off
to join the big roos down by the creek.
Roos by creek

Joeys breakfast
A couple of hours later they would return home for breakfast
Well this was our routine until the 9th January 2003.
That was the morning disaster struck.
Only Meeka, Billy, Beth, Libby and Holly, the wallaby, came home for breakfast.
Tragically Stuey's body was discovered lying in the creek. His head was missing.
We were devastated.
Later that day for the first time ever men
patrolled Roo Gully armed with guns.
Guns at Roo Gully
Poison bait sign
And poisoned baits were laid outside the compound.
We never thought we would see the day either would happen,
but Billy, Beth and Libby were not the only young joeys needing protection.
Meeka, being a Red kangaroo,
was more advanced than the Western Greys, was now out all night.
Meeka
Holly
And so was Holly, our Western Brush wallaby.

Sadly the Western Brush wallaby is close to becoming a species at risk because of foxes,
and if Roo Gully wants to begin establishing breeding colonies of Western Brush wallabies
and other at risk species, such as Brush Tailed bettongs, foxes have to be controlled.

Because of our 'adoption' programme Roo Gully was able to offer a home to Stuey and Freckle,
two young kangaroos who after initially being raised by other people needed a home in an emergency.
Only those people that received the 'Tales from Roo Gully' newsletter,
were told their real Tales of how they were orphaned,
and the truth about their lives before coming to Roo Gully.
Both are sad and heart breaking Tales
that highlight the immense need for wildlife education out in the community,
especially how to care for a young joey,
and the problems of trying to rehabilitate a kangaroo
before it is ready to leave the only mother it has ever known,
its human mother.

On the morning of the 9th January 2003 Stuey was the unlucky joey.
We imagine the fox must have seen the four joeys, Billy, Beth, Libby and Stuey, hop down to the creek.
When they saw the fox the joeys probably split - and the fox got Stuey.
It could have been any one of the 4,
and we could have grieved the loss of any one of our very special Western Grey joeys.
As I sit here with a heavy heart writing Stuey's tribute I know it could have been any one of them.
We cannot turn back the clock, but we can, with the outside help of professional marksmen,
and an ongoing baiting programme, hopefully secure a safer future for our joeys,
and other species of wildlife yet to make Roo Gully their home.

Stuey waves

We shall never forget Stuey.
He touched our hearts and the hearts of the volunteers who helped him on the road to recovery
and a better life at Roo Gully.
He was a very loving little joey who dearly loved those who loved him.
He will be missed.

Stuey was wrapped in one of his sheets, and laid in our bush cemetery,
on a bed of fresh eucalyptus leaves, his body facing the creek he loved so much.
His grave is next to Freckle's, who died tragically only 3 days before him.

On behalf of Stuey we thank you for caring, and for loving him too
Stuey's Tale © Roo Gully 2003