Bob, BBQ & Backpackers

Bob, BBQ & Backpackers

My husband, Ray and I were busy getting ready to go out to the neighbouring Station where we had been invited to a BBQ with a few locals and some of the backpackers that were working there. We were quite excited about going because we had been so busy feeding and caring for joeys, birds, possums and bats that we just hadn’t found the time to get out and socialize.

Esky packed and mozzie repellent on, we headed for the car when the phone rang. The local Shire Rangers needed help at a small farm on the highway. They reported a two foot freshwater crocodile that was near someone’s chook pen and they were not trained to retrieve crocs. We agreed to go out and get the croc and thought we could just bring it home and still be at the BBQ on time.

Dressed up in our good clothes we headed to where the croc was. Pulling up we realised that it was NOT two foot long. The croc was angry, hungry, and just wanted to be left alone. We could see only part of the croc and knew it was a little bigger than they had told us. In our haste to get there we had only brought a rope, blanket and tape and I was beginning to regret having that cheeky glass of wine whilst Ray was getting ready.

After a bit of discussion, we hatched a plan. Ray used the Ranger’s dog-pole to snare the crocs snout. It hissed and rolled as I threw a blanket over its eyes. The property owner helped Ray pin the croc down as I taped its mouth. Safely contained we carried it to the travel crate in the back of the car. High-Fived each other and took ‘Bob’ (the croc was named Bob after the property owner) back to our place to give it a feed and settle it down.

We met many new people at the BBQ that evening, one was a French backpacker named Claire who needed a lift to Broome later in the week. As we were going there anyway we offered her a lift.

‘Bob’ had proved to be healthy and ready for release and we knew the perfect place for it to go. We popped Bob in the back of the ute canopy, hung the pouches with the 2 Agile wallaby joeys and the 3 Red joeys in the back seat of the car (we had to take them because they needed feeding every three hours). , Claire could not believe her luck being crammed in the back seat with cute Aussie joeys but she didn’t quite believe us when we told her there was a crocodile in the back; I think she thought we were having a lend of her.

We headed off toward Broome but had to take a slight detour to the release location. I shudder to think what was going through Claire’s mind when we turned off the highway but she was ecstatic to be the official photographer and witness Bob’s release.

By the time we had reached Broome Claire was contemplating cancelling her flights, staying in Derby and doing volunteer work with the animals. She said that it was the highlight of her entire holiday and she couldn’t wait to tell everyone about her adventure with the roos, wallabies and the croc.

Many people take for granted our beautiful Aussie wildlife and it was very refreshing to see and hear the enthusiasm one young lady had for them. Without doubt the stories she will tell her friends about that day would have raised awareness for animals and the care that is provided by our amazing Australian volunteers.

Heidi & Ray Sampey
Wildlife Group
Derby Native Wildlife