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Roohaven Coalface

Roohaven Wildlife has been rescuing kangaroos, wombats, possums, lizards and every other native animal in between in the Upper Hunter and the organisation is the recipient of this month’s @ The Coalface and Complete Parts Community Gift.

17 years ago, Brad and Julie Smith’s daughter brought home a joey. They found it on the road and didn’t want to leave it there all alone.

“We googled wildlife rescue places, and the local group we found came and took the joey. When they came out to our property just off Muscle Creek Road, they saw how perfect our property was to look after and release animals.

“So, they asked us if we would like to get trained up to take care of them and so we did. We went to some courses and got the original joey back plus another couple because they don’t like to have joeys grow up alone. Before we knew it, we had four joeys, then six, eight, 15 and it just kept growing,” said Brad.

Brad and Julie were living a little further down the road to where they are now when a road was built behind their house for a new estate. That’s when they decided to pack up their perfect home and move further up the hill where it was safer to care for and release animals.

Since that very first joey 17 years ago, Brad and Julie have released 600 animals.

Roohaven Coalface

“Red-necked wallabies, Eastern greys, all the different types of kangaroos, different birds and lizards, we’ve probably released 30 wombats as well. We used to take them to Cedar Creek Wombat Hospital at Cessnock so they could get released into the National Park, but over the last couple of months we’ve had a proper burrow system set up here and they’ve decided to call it home.”

It’s one thing to take the animals into their care, but the different feed Roohaven needs for each animal is a whole other story.

“There’s food for furless joeys, ones that are just starting to get their fur, and then the next type of milk is for joeys who are eating grass and getting milk. When they’re in the pouch, the mother changes her milk because the baby now needs to digest grass and milk using bacteria, not enzymes like when they were little.

“I go into town most days to pick grass and get hay and pellets. It’s something we love to do so we don’t care too much about the cost of it all.”

The bags of milk alone cost $500 per bag.

“We keep doing it because we love it. We do get some assistance from Malabar Resources who give us a donation every year, members of the public, the local Pets Domain regularly help and the vets. Other than that, I try to do as much overtime as I can.”

Roohaven are members of WINC, another animal rescue organisation, and they also receive calls from WIRES and other organisations. Brad said their assistance is far and wide, they’ll help with animals 24/7 mainly in the Upper Hunter and Muswellbrook Shire areas, but also help with groups in Newcastle, Port Stephens, the Central Coast, Tamworth and as far as Dubbo.

Roohaven Coalface

Brad said he has certainly had some memorable rescues over the years including one at Mount Arthur mine at Muswellbrook.

“During the last drought they had a couple of dams that were just about empty. Lots of animals were looking for water, and there was a wallaroo and two big, red-necked wallabies who went into one of the dams which was just a tiny puddle of mud and they got stuck.

“They’d been there for a couple of days when Mount Arthur called me to come and check it out. I went out and the team there treated it like a Mines Rescue operation. The animals were exhausted, they had no fight left in them, so the workers went in, tied ropes around them and pulled them out.

“I put them in big bags and injected them with valium so I could transport them home. When I got home, they were still asleep, so I got the hose and washed the mud off them. After I washed them, I laid them under a tree and over the next eight hours as the valium wore off, they woke up and hopped off into the bush.”

Brad said after 17 years, they get animals turn up on their doorstep from everyone including police officers who come across animals on their shifts.

Roohaven asks if you do see an animal in strife, wrap it up and keep it warm and if you can’t get to Roohaven they’ll come to you. Brad said they also ask if you see an animal on the side of the road that you check its pouch or see if it’s still alive. If it’s dead move it off the road.

If you need to reach out to Roohaven you can do it by phone: 0438 425 582
You can also donate if you can: BSB: 932 000 Account number: 774 507

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