WHEN baby wallaby Zada went wandering from her Blackwater home last week, wildlife carer Cara Ryan feared the worst.
The nine-month-old agile rock wallaby escaped from a window that was slightly ajar in the early hours of Thursday morning.
Desperate to find Zada, Cara and her partner Anthony Hawkins searched the town, spoke to neighbours, sent out flyers, contacted ABC radio and spoke with Central Queensland News, appealing for help from residents in and around Blackwater.
“We thought Zada might be alright for a few days because she’d started eating grass. She was at the stage that she spent all day grazing before hopping back to me for a feed,” Cara said.
“However, there were other dangers such as dogs and cars, so I just wanted to put the word out there to find her, as she still needs care in order to be successfully released into the wild.”
The curious joey had hopped down Hibiscus Cres, where she was found by a passer-by and handed over to an ex-wildlife carer who lives in Blackwater.
After receiving a flyer, the passer-by contacted Cara with the happy news.
“I was so relieved – very, very happy,” Cara said.
“There had been a few tearful moments when I thought we had lost her, and I had got up early on Thursday to carry on searching with no luck.”
Despite being a little quiet at first, Zada quickly settled back in to her normal routine.
Zada is the first wildlife patient for carer Cara, who is currently undergoing training with Rockhampton Wildlife Rescue Centre.
“We have had Zada for about three months. I have always loved animals and I’m more interested in native Australian wildlife so when Rockhampton Wildlife Rescue rang up and said they had an agile rock wallaby that needed looking after, I was more than happy to take Zada on,” Cara said.
The joey took about a week to warm to the carer and get used to powdered milk.
“She hops around and follows me everywhere. She often wants to cuddle up on the couch.”
While being a carer was a huge commitment, Cara loved it.
“I want to help out joeys that need to be looked after prior to controlled release into the wild. You just fall in love with them.”
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