While packing my bags for my first journey to the outback, I had an intuitive feeling that I was about to experience something life-changing. The excitement on the bus was palpable and contagious. From Adelaide to Alice Springs, there seemed to be nothing but the endless red desert on either side of the road as far as the eye could see.
Dan, our guide, started up the bus and drove us northbound. He gave us an awesome introduction of the outback and the values of the Aboriginal people. Within the first couple of hours on the road, Dan stopped the bus and parked it on the side of the road to check something. Before we realized what he was doing he came back with a joey (baby kangaroo) wrapped in a pillow case!
What many do not realize about kangaroos is that if you hit a female who is carrying a joey in their pouch, their body is designed to absorb the impact of the crash. So the kangaroo may be dead but the joey could still be alive. Dan knew that fact and made a habit of checking kangaroo pouches. Unfortunately, if too much time passes or a predator gets there first, it doesn’t end well.
We named the first joey we rescued Hannah, after a girl on the bus who was celebrating her birthday. Hannah is a female western grey.
Dan told us about how he made a habit of checking pouches even though the chances of rescuing a joey is slim to none. Incredibly we ended up finding another joey further down the road.
The second joey we rescued we collectively named Lucky. The reason we named her lucky is because when Dan came across her, she was very close to being eaten by two wedge tailed eagles. Lucky even had a small bite at the top of her ear. Lucky is a female big red.
Lucky is very special to me because she is the first kangaroo I ever held and I am the first human that ever held her. What I learned from holding a joey is that you need to keep them warm, lightly blow on their nose to calm them down, and keep them close to your heart so they can hear your heartbeat.
We parted with the baby girls at Josephine’s Gallery and Kangaroo Orphanage in Coober Peddy. The picture below depicts the tops of the cans of food we bought for them.
Never in my dreams did I imagine our bus would take part in rescuing animals. It was a humbling experience to be able to help rescue an animal and it was nothing short of a miracle.