With CEO / Founder, Brinkley Davies
How did you come to rescue Bunji?
Bunji is the survivor of a road accident. In rural Australia especially, highways are 100’s of kms long, with speed limits of 100km/hr. + and lined with shrubs, making it often impossible to see any wildlife coming from nearby land. Despite being extremely cautious drivers, particularly in areas known for wildlife, unfortunately, accidents do happen.
The mother passed away from the accident and Bunji had fallen out of her pouch. This was really traumatic, but we wanted to share our story, as many people hit kangaroos, wombats and other animals every single day here in Australia, and never stop to check on the animal, or it’s pouch.
When we found Bunji she was pink, known as a “pinky” to wildlife carer’s, which means she had no fur and her eyes were only just opening. I immediately put her straight on my bare skin under the three jackets I was wearing. Already being put through the stress of the accident, I figured that hearing a heartbeat would have helped to calm her down, relax, and feel safe.
She slept on my stomach in bed with us for the first few weeks to help her feel as if she was in the pouch and give her the best chance of survival. The most important thing with rescuing animals this young is warmth, and of course hydration. Kangaroos cannot be given cows milk as a substitute, they will pass away if you give it to them. They must be given Wombaroo, or identical formula, a specific Kangaroo milk formula, if you are far away from getting these, warm water can be given to joeys in the mean time via a teat and bottle.
Bunji was lucky to be 3 weeks old when we got her, we were told to not get attached or expect her to survive because they die easily of many causes in this vulnerable state.
We made it our mission to make sure she survived. We have put in so many hours of love, determination and dedication to make sure she had the best chance of survival. This included 5-6 feeds a day and getting up all through the night for the first couple of months.
What does Bunji Eat?
Bunji had a formula called Wombaroo, which varies in its ingredients which align with the stages of pouch life and joey progression. Bunji started off on the very first formula less than 0.4, then slowly has progressed all the way up to 0.7, as well as a diet of mainly solids as a grown wallaroo now.
Bunji’s favourite plants to eat as an adult are Sheoak, and Rye grasses, although she is known to mischievously chew on most things in her path.
How old is Bunji?
Bunji is now 4 years old as of September 2020
What type of kangaroo is Bunji?
Bunji is a Euro, also known as a Common Wallaroo or Hill Kangaroo, they are a short, wallaby-like species found commonly along the cliff-lines here of the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia.
Well known for their round shiny wombat-like noses, fluffy fur, and small stocky body shapes.
What does it take to raise a kangaroo Joey?
A lot of dedication, time, love and hard work!
When Bunji was pink, known as a pinky, they require around the clock care, 2-3-hour interval feeding, toileting, pristine hygiene, moisturizing like they would have in the pouch, ( we used coconut oil) and also, in my opinion, a heartbeat close to them at really young ages to make them feel comfortable and not stressed. Bunji is extremely relaxed, and we believe this is because she has been exposed to things which otherwise may have caused her stress.
What is a day in the life of Bunji
Bunji now lives full time at Two Songs Sanctuary.
Bunji spends her days now cruising around Two Songs, munching on whatever she can find and relaxing. She has a beautiful little shelter that she spends a lot of time resting in during the day.
Bunji loves to dig, sand, dirt, hay, you name it, she will dig it.
Why is Bunji so special?
For so many reasons, she has changed our view on so many things, made us more driven, she has introduced us to a whole new world of appreciating kangaroos and our native fauna. Bunji is exceptionally affectionate, which I have heard about hand-raised Euros, but never thought an animal could be so loving and beautiful, she changes minds, when people meet her, they understand why we want to share her story more than ever. Her personality is so strong and shines the brightest, she is just a little angel.
What does introducing her into her natural habitat look like?
It is illegal to release hand-raised Kangaroos in South Australia.
Kangaroos have exceptionally strong family bonds, females often stay with mums for life in the wild, and joeys throughout their years of development usually have a strong pod including males to protect them from harm, starvation, the cold, and predators.
This doesn’t include the immediate harm of farmers and kangaroo “ hunters “ which shoot kangaroos under the excuse of “pest control “ or simply as a leisurely hunting activity. The chance of Bunji hopping up to the wrong person and getting shot, around these parts, is sadly, extremely high. And on top of all of this, the stress of attempting to reintroduce her to an alien world, would likely result in her dying of stress on its own.
Bunji, has been hand-raised by us since she was a fetus, she knows us as her safety, her parents, and will need the dedicated hands of us or an experienced carer for bottle feeding for at least another year to come, she may not reach adulthood until 3 years.
We slowly introduced Bunji to owners/ carers at Two Songs Sanctuary, Linda and Bronte, which was a long and slow transition. She became very comfortable there over time, with regular visits from mum ( Brinkley ) she came to realise this was home now.
She is happy and comfortable as can be. Bunji has developed quite a strong bond with carers Linda and Bronte at Two Songs Sanctuary now, but will always be my little girl.
What do you hope to inspire by sharing your journey with Bunji?
Other people to care more about our native fauna, and their welfare.
Kangaroos especially get no where near the respect and protection they deserve, they are our native emblem, yet are allowed to be “culled” by livestock farmers which in most cases have cleared all their native habitat on their property.
Kangaroos are also known to be a target for leisurely hunting activities down this way, which is extremely sad, and is common cause of many orphans, both Kangaroos and Wombats.
I hope Bunji’s story inspires people to stop, and #CheckThePouch, sometimes it is unavoidable that you have an accident involving wildlife or animals, but it is not unavoidable to check on the animals and do your best to get them to a carer or a vet.
I hope that Bunji’s story will also help people around the world to understand the beautiful, loving and family orientated nature of these animals.