Source: Antonia Kitching
My story has a happy ending of care and survival for a little creature - a black swamp wallaby abandoned by her mother on a very cold Sunday in September last year.
I was working in my garden and saw that Ilaria, the mum, would not allow her baby back in the pouch and was kicking and punching it quite aggressively. At first I thought she was teaching the baby to eat grass and took little notice. But as the day was coming to a close and getting very cold, I became concerned. I went towards the baby, which came over hopping and whimpering. I was unsure if she would bite and scratch but after I picked her up she nestled down the front of my jacket in a flash, cold and shuddering.
I soon realised the mum would not take the baby back. I rang WIRES at 4pm and jumped on the 4.45pm ferry with the baby in a cardboard box, warmed with a tepid hot-water bottle and blanket. By this time she was asleep utterly exhausted after a horrible, combative afternoon. What was going on? Why the rejection?
Antonia Kitching with the baby, relieved to be warm and safe
Perhaps it was because we had been in drought and conditions were harsh. Sometimes the pouch is overloaded with babies. This was the case with Ilaria. The next day she was back in the garden and showed me her other baby, which weighed maybe 400-500 grams - about half the size of the abandoned baby, which we named Lara.
Mother Ilaria with her other baby, growing quickly
Lara was taken to WIRES at Bilgola. After reaching about 4kg to 5kg she was sent to Waratah Park at Duffys Forest and I believe has now been released back to Lovett Bay.
To complete this good news story, my daughter Amina has now completed her WIRES course, becoming one of more than 3000 volunteers who work in 28 NSW branches providing rescue and care for Australian wildlife.
Amina Kitching, who has completed her WIRES course