I am a native in this world And think in it as a native thinks

Friday, April 8, 2016

Speaking of kangaroos

This is Jimmy, one of the handsomest creatures I've ever encountered.

The gentleman carrying him is Chris Barnes, aka Brolga, aka Kangaroo Dundee, who has created a sanctuary for orphaned and injured kangaroos near Alice Springs. When female kangaroos are killed, whether they've been hunted by aborigines or hit by a car, there's often a joey in the pouch who can be saved. Brolga is passionate about rescuing those babies, and allowing them to grow up as normal kangaroos, and if possible, returning them to the wild. Animals that couldn't survive in the bush can stay on the reserve, which is four-star by kangaroo standards, with lots of space, other kangaroos to play with, a fence to keep the dingoes out, and witchetty bushes to sleep underneath.

The comfort of the kangaroos comes first, so visits are only allowed three days a week, and only in the evening since kangaroos are nocturnal. And although everyone gets to hold one of the babies, you have to hold the joey for at least five minutes, and no one else can approach or pet the kangaroo while its being held so it doesn't get stressed.

It certainly seems to work. I got to hold Jimmy and he seemed perfectly happy with the arrangement, snuggling in the little bag Brolga uses to mimic pouches. That this small creature trusted me enough to rest comfortably in my arms felt like such a gift, and only one day after writing that snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef was one of the best experiences of my life, it's already been surpassed.

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