WINNIE'S TALE

WANTED!
One 'handsome' mature male Western Brush wallaby
Must be in good health
and prepared to love Winnie

And preferably a little bit older than Tyke, our very young wallaby!

Temporary or permanent home offered to the right suitor!

Please contact us if you can help us find Winnie a boyfriend.

Winnie arrived to live at Roo Gully on, Friday, 26th September 2003.
Winnie
Her mother was killed instantly after sustaining severe head injuries in a road accident.
Thankfully the people in the vehicle stopped and checked the mother's pouch because inside was little Winnie,
who mercifully, had escaped without injury.
Winnie weighed just over 1 kilo, and like all pouched joeys she was a very timid baby,
but within a few days she was feeding well and settling into her new home.
Caring for a young orphaned wallaby was not our only problem in the first few days,
because Winnie was not alone when she arrived. She was accompanied by at least 40 bush ticks!
They quite liked the look of Roo Gully and vacated their soft furry wallaby to look for a new home,
and it was several days before we finally won the battle of the ticks.

We were told that Western Brush wallabies
are reputed to be solitary animals, preferring their own company,
and supposedly do not live in groups as do Western Grey kangaroos. However Winnie was not going to be living a solitary life at Roo Gully.
Flossie and Winnie
Joeys play
She arrived during our busiest time of the year.
We had several young joeys inside the house,
plus a couple of other young roos who were staying
with us while their human families went away on holiday.
Play time, outside on the lawn, was very hectic,
and as the young joeys gained courage they often became quite boisterous.
Winnie thinks
But Winnie had the perfect solution to such activity.
She made a dash for the bushes, where she enjoyed the peace and tranquility of her own company.
Winnie might have preferred her own company to that of the joeys,
but we discovered she was as brave as all Western Brush wallabies.
Despite their small stature they assume they are as big as any other animal.
Winnie and Flossie
True to form Winnie soon lost any fear
of the other young roos and simply ignored their presence.
What Winnie wanted to do she did, and this meant everyone else had to make way for the littlest member of our joey mob.
Winnie was not the first Western Brush wallaby to live at Roo Gully.
Two others had shared our lives before her.
Both gave us a love of their species that we cherish to this day,
but they both also brought us heartache and tears, dying before their time.
Gypsy
Gypsy's death, although sudden, was not unexpected.
She had suffered serious brain damage in a road accident.
One day she started having convulsions,
and died despite our efforts to save her.
Holly's death was very tragic and left us feeling extremely angry.
Everyone had worked so very hard to save her life when she first came to live with us,
and cared for her for many months while she slowly recovered from the serious injuries
she sustained after she was hit by a motor vehicle.
Although she never regained perfect vision in one eye,
she became a very healthy young wallaby, who enjoyed her life.
Sadly one morning she was attacked
and killed by a fox in the bush by the creek.
We were devastated.


Holly
Because of Holly we knew the problems and the dangers Winnie faced.
Western Brush wallabies are very independent and when she showed a yearning to be outside at night
we decided to build a wallaby playpen, which Winnie used.

When she got older we realised she needed more room to stretch her legs and explore,
but we were afraid to allow her the complete freedom of Roo Gully.
Western Brush wallabies are becoming endangered because of the feral animal problem in Australia.
The most vulnerable time is when they become young at foots and in the early months after they wean.
Guns in the creek

Sadly at this stage of their lives they are easy prey for foxes
and feral cats and many do not make it to adulthood.

Because of this danger we stepped up
our ongoing fox baiting programme
and resumed regular gun patrols of the creek.


But the only real solution was to make the back garden and lawns as safe as possible.

The wallaby playpen opens onto this area,
and when night falls we padlock all the gates and allow her access to this fully fenced area.

It is the safest area we could provide for her,
without keeping her confined to a cage,
which we would never do -
and to this day it is still is the safest area.
Winnie in new area
Missie
In March 2004 Winnie was joined by another, very boisterous, young Western Brush wallaby, who we named Missy.
Living with Missy we could see the mistakes that had been made with Winnie.
These little wallabies endear themselves to all those whose lives they touch,
and they seem to love human company too.

But sadly this is a rare photograph of Winnie
being held by someone other than the volunteer
who we allowed to totally take over her care.
Winnie loved

Gypsy and Holly were loved by many people,
but Winnie was rarely given the opportunity to socialise with humans.

It was a huge mistake to allow this to happen,
because although she is starting associate with people she is still timid,
and this would make it very difficult for us to treat her if she ever became sick or injured.

Winnie nervous of Missy
Missy certainly helped Winnie with her insecurity.
She brought her out of shell and the difference was amazing,
even if at the beginning she was nervous of Missy.

Tragically, Missy died suddenly on 5th August 2004 of an unknown illness,
and there is no doubt Winnie misses her little mate.
Her behaviour when sharing her life with Missy,
and her behaviour since giving evidence that maybe some of the scientists are wrong.
Because instead of being solitary creatures,
our 2 wallabies loved each other's company.

Winnie still searches for her friend Missy.

Winnie hops
Winnie mid hop
Winnie lands
For a few weeks Winnie was an only wallaby at Roo Gully,
and so we began a search to either offer a home to a male Western Brush wallaby.
Or someone might have a willing male
who might like to come to Roo Gully on a short holiday
and become romantically involved with Winnie.

We knew if that did not happen before the end of the year Winnie would be better off in the wild
where she can produce more of these very valuable creatures.
We planned to rehabilitate her properly. Allowing her the opportunity
to enjoy a soft release in a place known to have other Western Brush wallabies
and where she would be as safe as possible from foxes, due to an ongoing fox baiting programme.

Then little Tyke arrived, but he is a very young wallaby,
and it will be a long time before he can become Winnie's beau.
So our search for a mature male continues,
but if one does not come in before Tyke matures
then we are hoping he and Winnie will get on enough to produce young.

It would be wonderful to start our own wallaby mob,
because in order to protect these vulnerable little creatures we need to study them in depth.

Winnie plans
We need to fully understand why they show no fear
of animals bigger than themselves, even predators,
and why they believe they are wearing a cloak of invincibility
just because they can 'hiss'. Only by studying their behaviour and understanding them better can we truly help secure their future.

And so we are planning to extend the wallaby area to include the Aviary Gardens,
which will almost triple their area.

Winnie young
Winnie growing
Winnie adult

Even though these little macropods, who are also known as the Black Glove wallaby,
are reputed to be diurnal they are also very timid and so have been little studied.
Much is still unknown about their diet, their reproduction and the way they live their lives.
Roo Gully intends to study Winnie's time with us,
and add the information gleaned to our observations of Gypsy, Holly and Missy,
and now Tyke and our new girl who arrived on 25th September.
Yes 2004 is fast becoming our year of the wallaby!

Your 'adoption' will help our study of Western Brush wallabies
and who knows maybe even a Roo Gully breeding programme of this species.
Whatever Winnie's future you will assist in securing the future of this much loved,
but very vulnerable macropod.
You will also help fund Roo Gully's battle against feral animals,
including the erection of better feral proof fencing,
and an education programme that will perhaps help save many Australian species
that are under threat because of introduced animals.
Winnie
On behalf of Winnie and her mates we thank you for caring

Winnie's Tale © Roo Gully 2004

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