If a baby kangaroo ever finds their self without its mom’s cosy pouch, then animal enthusiast, Tanya Jones is more than happy to help.
The Australian wildlife rehabilitator based in Alice Springs dedicates her life to swaddling baby joeys and sharing her bed with orphaned young.
Tanya’s shelter is a solo project, and as well as caring for baby kangaroos, she also looks out for birds, reptiles and other Australian wildlife.
Most of the animals in her care lost their mothers to hunters, who kill the females for meat.
“In the days of old, [members of the Aboriginal community] would only shoot the boys for food,” Tanya explained. “Now, it does not seem to matter to them anymore. It is so tragic.”
She’s currently playing mother to eight orphaned babies, between 2 and 6 months old – which she describes as a full time job.
“I am with them constantly, 24/7, as this is what is required to make them feel safe and secure in their now-changed world,”
Her days start at 5am as the joeys have to be fed every two to four hours.
But Tanya is a pro, and she’s been running and funding her own shelter for a decade now.
“I have been looking after wildlife since I was a little girl,” she said. “My mom got me into it at a young age, as she has always saved animals.”
The great thing about Tanya’s centre is that not only do the kangaroos thrive from the comfort she gives them, but they also love each other’s company.
“All of the joeys get along and love each other very much,” she explained. “They take comfort from each other.”
Tanya looks after the joeys until they’re around 2-years-old before releasing them back into the wild and as much as she loves her ‘babies’, she understands they will only be able to live their best life in the bush.
“The best part for me about caring for native Australian wildlife is setting them free,” Jones said. “This is my greatest joy. Real love is free love, and free love is real love.”
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