By Sheila Webb,2014-08-03 14:00
7 views 0
RooGullyPostProductionScriptEp2 RooGullyPostProductionScriptEp2

    Page 1 of 16

    Roo Gully Diaries

    Episode Two The Reckoning

10:00:33 - Narration:

    It’s December 2001.Carol Lander and Roy Hands are moving wild buck Smokey out of a creek which runs through the heart of their wildlife sanctuary Roo Gully.It’s summer in Australia’s south west, which means mating season for Western Grey roos. So Smokey wants to be inside the fenced area with the females.

    10:01:01 - Carol Voice:

    When we actually made the decision that out roos needed the creek because of the natural food and the shelter that it was offering them it meant that we had to move Smokey out of that part of the creek.I felt really sorry for him actually, you know, we

    were, seemed like we kept switching his territory.


    Carol and Roy are English migrants who have set up their wildlife sanctuary more by accident than design.

Carol On Camera Voice:

    Aussie cockie gate.

    Roy Hands On Camera Voice:

    You know what we do when we’ve done 2 more wires. We go and have a beer

    to celebrate. There we go. How about that?

    10:01:42 - Narration:

    Now they’re starting to grapple with the financial implications of what they’ve

    got themselves into.

    10:01:48 - Carol Voice:

     But the thing was at this time it was starting to hit us really hard in the pocket, because neither of us were working. We lived off investments from what we’d brought from the UK and every time we wanted to complete a project the bank account was going down more and more. That’s when we started thinking of the idea of forming a charity. Having charity status would mean we could apply for grants get donations, start our ‘adopt a roo’ programme. It was going to make a big difference.

    Page 2 of 16


    One year old Bracken is one of the last joeys fathered by a wild buck before

    they were fenced out.


    Her mother has just died from a mystery illness and Carol and Roy are hoping

    that one of the other females will adopt her. Something scientists have told

    them never happens.

Carol Voice:

    She followed quite a few of the mothers that had joeys, and it was quite sad to

    see her rejected each time. I mean we were giving her bottles of milk, but

    kangaroo’s milk is best and I think she wanted the emotional bond from

    another doe too.


    It’s now really hot with temperatures soaring to over 40 degrees celcius. Like

    people roos, especially those burdened with big pouched joeys, can get


    10:03:15 - Carol Voice:

    Wattle is the daughter of the matriarch, Sadie, and she’s very aggressive to

    other roos that will, dare to cross her path, or to challenge her in any way. 10:03:44 - Carol Voice:

    I was outside filming and Bracken tried to sneak a feed from Heidi, and she was sort of nuzzling her pouch and trying to get her head inside. And Heidi suddenly realised that it wasn’t her own daughter, because she had a joey we called Maple. And she got up and started walking away and Bracken followed her. And then I got really worried because they were heading towards Wattle. And sure enough Wattle got aggressive. Carol Voice:

    And it was a shock to me to see Heidi actually leap forward and be quite

    aggressive back towards Wattle, and I mean Wattle was shocked too because

    Heidi’s a very gentle roo and never does that sort of thing.

    I started wondering if it was almost like she was protecting Bracken. I wasn’t

    quite sure what was going on.

    Page 3 of 16

    Carol Voice:

    After that Bracken started to follow Heidi around more than any other mother. Carol Voice:

    She was always sort of tagging along between her and her daughter Maple. Narration:

    The exclusion of the wild bucks is also affecting the social structure of the


    Carol Voice:

    Suddenly we’d put this fence up and our little guys are growing up. They’ve

    got to have a dominant male inside so what we did in effect was create a

    power vacuum within the fenced area, and that had to be filled by one of our



    Joey Sonny, the roo destined to fill the vacuum, had arrived a year earlier. 10:05:15 - Carol Voice:

    When Sonny first arrived there was no doubt that he was going to be the top joey. He was very confident, very boisterous, and he just became the leader, and that was it, they were his gang.

    Carol Voice:

    Although we castrate our boys on vet’s advice they still battle for ranking just

    like the boys in the bush.

    Sonny didn’t really get too involved in it because he was always the top guy

    so he didn’t really get challenged that much.

    Carol Voice:

    And the other boys were sort of jostling for position underneath him. All this

    hand movement that they do, they keep trying to grab each other’s heads all

    the time.

    Carol Voice:

    That’s when they have to throw their heads back to protect their eyes.

    Carol Voice:

    When it’s just play there’s quite a group of them all playing and doing.

    Carol Voice:

    When it’s serious there’s usually only two, two roos, and you can tell the way

    they look at each other, their body language, ear position, that this is serious.

    Page 4 of 16

    10:06:24 - Narration:

    The next generation of boys is now coming along in the form of George, and

    Splodge with his unusual facial markings.

    10:06:35 - Carol Voice:

    George and Splodge were really, really different little joeys. George was very confident, very boisterous and Splodge was really, really timid. I mean he still missed his mum even though he was older, you know. He used to, very often we’d seem him with sort of, his head sort of nuzzling George looking for where a pouch would be. But when it came to joining the mob Splodge had an easier time, and I reckon that’s

    because he knew the rules and he wasn’t going to sort of rock any boats.

    10:07:07 - Narration:

    It’s not only kangaroos that arrive at Roo Gully in need of help. Banjo, a Southern

    Brown bandicoot, has been attacked by a pet.

    10:07:19 - Carol Voice:

    Yea, he’d just been brought in the jaws of the family cat and promptly dumped

    in front of the fire, so they quickly rescued him and shoved him in a box and

    brought him to us. The only thing we could find with Banjo was the bites on

    his back, but luckily they weren’t too deep. They were just sort of little pin

    pricks, sort of holes.

    Carol Voice:

    Really difficult to feed so we tried him on the usual milk that we keep in,

    which is a low lactose universal formula. But he seemed to have lost his

    sucking instinct so we then, we assumed he was probably up to weaning age


    Carol On Camera Voice:

    I mean, seems to me they all like this, as long as we feed them this kitten food they seem to like it.


    Banjo’s arrival presents them with a problem. They can’t afford customized

    facilities for all their new species and have to improvise.

    10:08:19 - Carol Voice:

    We decided to convert this old cot that we bought from a second hand shop. Roy Hands On Camera Voice:

    Page 5 of 16

    Want some leaves Carol?

    Carol On Camera Voice:

    Yes please. I’d love some leaves, preferably without any dobbies in them.

10:08:29 - Carol Voice:

    And we filled it up with what we thought he needed, put his hollow log in and all this soil and stuff. And then we had to make it escape proof or try to.

10:08:41 - Narration:

    Out with the mob Bracken’s situation takes an interesting turn.

    10:08:45 - Carol Voice:

    I’ll never forget the day I walked out onto the lawn and Heidi was just standing there, joey head in her pouch suckling away and I looked and Maple was standing by the bush, that’s Heidi’s daughter.

    Carol Voice:

    And I went across and had a look and sure enough it was Bracken. And she was feeding and Heidi looked quite happy. And I thought this is a mistake, you know, this, this;Heidi’s just got the wrong joey. She really thinks she’s feeding Maple. And of course started paying attention to what was going on then, sort of following them everywhere. And sure enough Heidi fed her again and again - and again. And it just went on from day after day.

Carol Voice:

    She was feeding two joeys. And I started ringing people and I said, ‘Hey, it’s happening, you know this, we’ve got a kangaroo that has adopted.’ And a few of them said, ‘Oh yea – well prove it.

10:09:53 - Carol Voice:

    Heidi adopting Bracken was one of the most fascinating things that I’ve ever experienced. Over the following months we saw these bonds strengthen, and Heidi really had got two girls. They were a family unit and it was fantastic. I mean Heidi must be a very, very special roo because she was the one that gave Bracken the happiness. She was the one that accepted her, and then when I think back,

    Page 6 of 16

    you know, Heidi and Rosie were best mates. When your best mate dies you look after their kids, don’t you. I still believe that.

10:10:38 - Narration:

    But it’s not all good news.


    The sanctuary’s fencing offers some security to the roos inside - but can’t

    protect against everything.


    Polly, one of Carol and Roy’s favourite roos, is sick. She’s having difficulty

    breathing and vet Jules Vandenbergh checks her out.

    10:11:00 - Carol Voice:

    Luckily Jules was there, it was his day for visiting, and he had a locum with

    him, and they both examined Polly and they could hear gurgling and fluid

    inside her lungs. As far as they were concerned they thought it was a chest


    Jules On Camera Voice:

    That sounds really bad.

    10:11:16 - Carol Voice:

    So we started treating Polly with penicillin and different things. Carol Voice:

    We went out later to see how everybody was and Polly was standing on the bottom crossing. And she hadn’t got the energy to join the others. She just couldn’t get herself across the crossing.

    Carol Voice:

    And we made the decision then that we were going to take Polly back to the

    house where she’d be warm and with us. I mean she was raised in the house as

    a joey, somewhere where she felt very comfortable.

    10:11:49 - Carol Voice:

    So we carried her home.

    Carol Voice:

    And put her in the bedroom and tried to give her some food and water. 10:11:59 - Carol Voice:

    Page 7 of 16

    Her breathing got worse, and worse and worse. And then she just spasmed and

    died. I just couldn’t believe it really. This wasn’t part of the deal really, you

    know, to have them die.

Carol Voice:

    We asked Jules to do a post mortem on her and I just couldn’t believe it when

    we opened her up. Every cavity in her body had haemorrhaged. Carol Voice:

    She was just absolutely full of blood. There wasn’t one blood clot.


    Carol asks Jules to carry out a snake venom test on a sample of Polly’s urine.

    She’s acutely aware that the area is home to some of the most deadly snakes

    on the planet

    Jules On Camera Voice:

    That’s it. And we leave the last one empty.

    Carol On Camera Voice:

    And then?

    Jules On Camera Voice:

    We’ve got to wait for 10 minutes.

    Jules On Camera Voice:

    And it’s certainly the bluest. I mean that’s now nearly as blue as that, which

    would indicate that it’s Tiger snake.

    Carol On Camera Voice:

    Well the kids saw a snake at the party.

    10:13:10 - Narration:

    The test indicates Tiger snake bite. The news is disturbing.


    A single drop of Tiger snake venom is toxic enough to kill the equivalent of

    thousands of small mammals.

    Carol Voice:

    It was May.

    Carol Voice:

     The snakes would be getting colder.

    Page 8 of 16

    Carol Voice:

    They’re more dangerous then because they can’t get away from you fast, and

    she’ll have just laid on it. I’m sure she will have done.

    Carol Voice:

    You go looking for the snake, you sort of think oh we’ll go off and we’ll find

    this snake, and you look around the roo shelters and you’re doing this that and

    the other.

    Carol Voice:

    And you know it isn’t like it is on the TV. You don’t just ring somebody up

    and they come and get the snake out. That doesn’t actually happen in the bush.

    10:14:00 - Narration:

    Snakes are more active in the warmer months and the threat recedes a bit with

    the approaching winter.


    Carol gets back to her study of the Western Grey joeys.

    10:14:13 - Carol Voice:

    One of the big pluses for me looking after the wildlife is able to follow these

    little guys right the way through their lives.

Carol Voice:

    And it never fails to fascinate me what roles they take, or assume, or what

    their eventual rank is within the mob.

    Carol Voice:

    I’ve always been fascinated by Splodge’s white markings around his face. As

    he started to get a bit older they started to diminish and fade, and brown fur

    started growing around them, so he wasn’t quite so identifiable, but he always

    kept the white under his chin. He assumed the role of the mob’s sentry. He

    was always the one that was stood there like the Meerkat, looking around,

    seeing who was coming and what dangers were around, whereas George never

    ever did that.

Carol Voice:

    Sentries are vital to the mob security. We used to think that all the roos took in turns to be sentry but we found out this isn’t true. In fact there are only certain roos that

    Page 9 of 16

    become sentries, they’re mainly males, and they start their apprenticeship at a very young age, just like Splodge did.

10:15:27 - Narration:

    It’s July and the winter rains have set in.


    So far they’ve been gentle bringing much needed water to the property, and

    plenty of green grass for the roos.


    But now a storm is brewing.

    10:15:55 - Narration:

     It’s been a wild night.

    Carol Voice:

    As well as causing us a lot of worry with the roos, the storm actually caused

    us a financial headache too, because it washed away the top crossing. 10:16:13 - Narration:

    The following morning Roy starts repairing the damage.

Carol Voice:

    We went down and looked at the damage of the creek crossing and knew we

    were going to have to hire in plant, material, you know big machinery, stuff

    like this.

Carol Voice:

    It was, it was going to be our biggest financial hurdle.

Carol Voice:

    And it was that night that I decided that’s it we’re going to download these

    forms and we’re going to apply to become a charity.’


    And Carol’s got company.


    Banjo the bandicoot.

    Page 10 of 16

    10:16:55 - Narration:

    He’s becoming an accomplished escapologist. And also a master of disguise.

Roy On Camera Voice:

    He’s quite big actually.


    It’s late in the evening. An orphaned joey arrives.

    Carol Voice:

    You never know when you’re going to get joeys in, or any animal in. I mean

    they’re unexpected.

    Carol Voice:

    People just turn up.

    Jules On Camera Voice:

    Collie Veterinary Hospital.

    10:17:39 - Carol Voice:

    And of course Jules is an hour away from us.

    Carol Voice:

    So we actually take a lot of advice from Jules by telephone Carol On Camera Voice:

     He’s two point three, four kilos road accident Jules.

    Jules On Camera Voice:

    Yep. What’s his breathing like? Is he, is he panting a lot like some of them are?

    And salivating, or?

    Carol On Camera Voice:

    No he doesn’t look terribly stressed out. He’s had a few barks at us, but he’s,

    he’s fully furred and obviously he’s aware of what’s going on.

    Jules On Camera Voice:

    Look. Give him, I think we should give him some dexamethasone. Yep.

    Jules On Camera Voice:

     About point two, point two five of dex.

    Carol Voice:

    One of the other things that started happening to us around that time was that

    we were getting a lot of animals in, and we actually needed physical help as

Report this document

For any questions or suggestions please email