Maddy, the incredibly lucky little Swamp Wallaby.
had been a pet for a number of weeks in a town yard. But luckily her "owner"
realised that Maddy needed space and time to learn that she is indeed a Swamp
Wallaby, and she was moved to our place to prepare her for her return to the wild.
so the story goes, Maddy was found after her mother was shot. The mother was crawling
to get to Maddy hiding in the bushes and the shooter found her. Isn't that a dreadful
story. Shame on you, shooter.
Shooting any Australian native animal in NSW is illegal, however the NSW National
Park and Wildlife Service sometimes provide licenses to cull Eastern Grey Kangaroos
when the numbers rise. Shooting wallabies and wallaroos is usually not permitted.
I don't like it, I can understand that some farmers might want to reduce the population
of Eastern Greys. Swamp Wallabies don't have the same high numbers as kangaroos
however, so I can not understand why Maddys mum was killed. I can only gather
that the shooter was doing it for fun. Again I say, shame on you shooter.
that's enough of my opinion, let me tell you about Maddy.
all Swamp Wallabies, Maddy loved to eat!! And she ate anything she could get her
paws onto. We have lots of ferns and orchids at our place........ Maddy loved
them! We cursed her a number of times when we discovered precious orchids eaten
to the dirt. She also ate weeds, leaves, flowers, you name it, she ate it. And
she loved chips and coffee....... so we found out when we stupidly left them on
the verandah floor and she helped herself! Swampies are true garbage gutses of
the macropod kingdom!!
was a very affectionate little thing, probably because she was a pet for so long
and was so used to human company. She would spend several minutes grooming us,
which I can tell you hurt like hell, especially when she started chewing to get
rid of our fleas!
job as a wildlife carer with a release site is to slowly turn a hand raised native
animal into the wild animal it is. In Maddy's case it was hidden deep deep down
at the time!
Any young animal craves affection and needs nurturing so we give them the cuddles
they crave while they are little but slowly distance ourselves from them, allowing
them more freedom to venture away from us.
release process took several months and went quite well, especially when compared
to her macropod friend Sassy,
who refused to acknowledge that she wasn't human!
adapted quite well when we opened the back yard giving the macropods more space
to jump in. Swamp Wallabies love to hide in thick bush and the back yard has lots
of bushy shrubs to hide under. When coming home of an evening we always laughed
to see Maddy dart out from under a bush, cluck hello to us and dart under another
turned into the wild wallaby she is much quicker than we actually expected. Todd
and I took a short holiday, during which I had arranged for various fellow wildlife
carers to feed and check in on the macropods. We'll never know what happened,
but when we returned Maddy was a different wallaby. The affectionate joey had
turned into a free spirited animal with a desire to be as far away from us as
were quite concerned initially as she seemed highly strung and we were sure that
she had endured some kind of stressful situation for her to change so quickly.
day after we returned we enticed her over with a cashew nut (her favourite treat!)
and checked her out. She was happy and healthy, with not a mark on her. She allowed
us a brief chance to tickle her under the chin, clucked at us and darted under
the nearest bush.
few days after that we decided to open up the paddock, so that the release area
was increased from one acre to five. Although all the other macropods stuck around
in their new home for a while, Maddy was off. She found the first hole in the
fence that she could and jumped away without a backward glance.
the first few weeks we saw her around but from a distance of a few metres - we
weren't allowed too close. It's been quite some time since we've seen her, or
so we think anyway - we have a few Swamp Wallabies about the same size on our
property, so one of them may be her.
a wonderful end to a story. From her horrid beginnings, to being kept as a pet
in a small town yard, to being transferred to us, to being introduced to others
of her species, to being a free, wild animal. It can't get any better than that.