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Do Kangaroos dream of carrots?

Last evening Kelly, Juno and I took a large bag of carrots up to the nearby base of Mt Taylor to feed the kangaroos.

One BILLION of Australia’s often unique animal populations has been killed during the current bushfire crisis. Many scientists say this is a conservative estimate.

Those animals that escaped the wildfires are now dealing with surviving amongst decimated ecosystems. Systems that were already being slowly strangled by the prolonged drought.

To try to provide some temporary relief National Parks rangers have been delivering emergency food drops for some of these animals. In New South Wales alone, tonnes of mostly sweet potatoes and carrots have been dropped from helicopters in wild areas. Capertee and Wolgan valleys, Yengo National Park, Kangaroo Valley, Jenolan, Oxley Wild Rivers and Curracubundi national parks just to name a few places.

Photo credit: NPWS NSW

Meanwhile, in many areas more densely populated by people there has been an outpouring of compassion. We have seen plenty of local individuals and families providing food and water supplies for wildlife. Something that is not usually encouraged by authorities…..but this is not by any means a usual situation.

As we walked up the track to the place where I usually see kangaroos during my evening walks we could see scores of large plastic containers and bowls filled with water. And just over there….a kangaroo and her teenage son were drinking in long greedy gulps from a green bucket. We stood and watched. They drank for a long time.

Of course it’s not just about the kangaroos, many species of wildlife are struggling to find food sources right now. Birds, lizards, possums, koalas, wombats, even bees….the whole burnt up catastrophe.

Photo credit: Ryan Pollock

Do Roos eat carrots?

We had wondered if carrots were an appropriate food to be leaving and on further reading, it turns out that whilst OK, they are probably not the best choice for kangaroos. Specific kangaroo pellets available from rural supply stores are recommended. Apparently some government services use carrots for baiting programs…so we don’t want to encourage this as a recognised food source.

If you would like more information on what is appropriate food to be providing for fire/drought affected wildlife in Australia, these seem to be two of the more useful sources of information I have found.

  1. NSW Government: Helping wildlife in emergencies.
  2. Animals Australia: A guide to feeding hungry wildlife survivors of bushfires.

1 reply on “Do Kangaroos dream of carrots?”

I used to avoid feeding birds but a couple of months ago we relented and started putting out a seed blocks and occasional small amounts of a mince and oats mix for the magpies and currawongs. All the birds seemed to be struggling with feeding young last year. I have noticed a sharp decline in insect life and that concerns me in regards to some of the smaller insect eating birds. The drought where I am is taking a heavy toll. I am uncertain to the validity of the mince and oats mix it was what I was advised to use in the past, I will check up on this one. I do know that while the magpies and currawongs come down when I whistle and let them know I am there with food, I now have other species coming as well, including one bird I have not yet identified. The pee wee larks and a butcher bird are not a surprise but they are not as quick to take human assistance as the currawongs and magpies and yet they now come to my whistle as well.
I am a bit wary about feeding the magies and currawongs as they tend to prey on smaller species, they will not hesitate to take a chick and we have wrens and pardalote species as well.
We also went out and got a new bird bath mainly to help with the long hot days and ensure the birds had access to water.
On the bright side, with some recent rain I was pleasantly surprised to hear a frog outside. The cats are banished from the yard as they are not to be trusted with a precious amphibian around.
Maybe the positive that could come from this will be an increasing awareness of the environment and an increasing value of all life, including the wild.

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