Mid Saturday afternoon. All of us, Mum, me, two children in the car. Hot, not yet humid but dusty. We had driven from our place into town for shopping, I don’t recall exactly. What happened afterward didn’t much matter.
We saw it right after we’d driven over the level crossing. A group of people, seventy metres ahead. A four wheel drive was parked half on the road, half off it.
We saw what they were looking at, a grey torso on the ground. I would’ve passed it by. But two weeks’ vet nurse experience and a love of animals chose differently. She stopped the car. We both got out, left the doors open and told the children to wait. We joined the group of waiting adults. Nobody spoke.
A female kangaroo had been knocked down. One of the big hind legs was twisted and broken. With all her strength she tried to move the other. All she could do was kick. Then I heard her breathing. Each breath was her last but one. She must have had internal injuries after being run down.
Mistakenly somebody reached into her pouch. She gently pulled out a wet shiny grey joey. The retrieved joey was breathing too but with difficulty. It was better to leave the joey in the pouch later, I learnt.¬†Instantly the mother sought and held her baby’s eyes. She found more strength even though breathing became even more of an effort. But it was all too late. Two more breaths was all it took. The joey exhaled then folded in on itself. The mother saw her joey and gave out too.