A kangaroo stuck down a mineshaft for more than 24 hours had a lucky escape after a dog walker in the Creswick State Forest found the distressed animal and called in wildlife rescuers.
Michael Firman, who found the roo half-submerged in an abandoned mineshaft about three or four metres deep, then stayed on to help BADGAR wildlife rescuers Michael Sari and Gary Ward haul the large male kangaroo from the hole on Sunday morning.
It took more than an hour after the rescue team arrived to release the exhausted and hypothermic kangaroo from the mineshaft.
Mr Sari said the kangaroo had tried to escape, but could not get out.
"The signs of his futile attempts at escape were evident with the many claw scrapes on the top edge of the collar of the mineshaft. He'd rounded-off the whole edge while trying to jump and pull himself out, but had only managed to scrape off the top edge with his foreclaws," he said.
The roo was exhausted after trying to escape and spending the night in near-freezing water, so the rescuers did not need to sedate the animal to carry out the rescue.
"He wasn't panicking or stressed, he was so exhausted we left off on sedation but if he had just fallen down and was in panic mode we would have," Mr Sari said.
The rescue was complicated by the wet, slippery access which meant rescuers had to carry all the gear more than 100m to the mineshaft.
Using ladders, rope, other equipment and manpower the three men managed to raise the kangaroo, who they estimated to weigh 70kg, and get it back to their vehicle.
"Gary was pushing up from below while Mark and I participated in a definite tug-of-war on the rope," Mr Sari said.
The roo was taken to Hepburn Wildlife Shelter where treatment began including sedation, assessments of temperature, heartbeat, circulation and washing off the caked-on mud while raising his body temperature and drying him off.
Mr Sari said the roo had survived the night and was back up on his feet this morning.
"He's got a couple of scrapes and some abrasions on his eyes from the dirt that had fallen in them, but that should heal," he said.
- BADGAR Emergency Wildlife Rescue: 1300-223-427 (Ballarat-Greendale Region)
- Wildlife Victoria (Statewide referral): (03) 8400 7300