14 Jun Winnie and Dolly – Rising from the dust and ashes of Summer 2019-2020
The New England and Northern Tablelands area had been battling extreme drought conditions for 3 years when the area became the first in NSW to go up in flames during the terrible summer of 2019 -2020, in a fire campaign that would last for 132 days. During this time 38 fires burned a total of 1,100,893.91 hectares. Four of the major fires all heavily impacting on National Parks and rural communities – Bee’s Nest (Ebor), Long Gully (Drake) , Mt McKenzie (Tenterfield) and Carrai Creek.
One of the New England WIRES carers, Mardi Cook, also a member of the NSW Rural Fire Service, in cooperation with members of the public and emergency services, was able to rescue and care for a number of animals, including two female
Wallaroos, Winnie and Dolly. Winnie was rescued from the fires near Torrington and Dolly from Bingara.
Dolly, her mother having been hit and killed by a car as the mother roamed the roadsides looking for the sparse possibility of finding some morsel of food, was extremely stressed, underweight, suffering from dietary issues and hair loss.
Winnie, mother had died in the fires. Winnie was found alone in a burned-out area of bush, extremely dehydrated, malnourished, with a burned patch of fur on the back of her neck.
Both joeys represent the tragedy and the triumph of the recent terrible summer which saw all creatures, great
and small, battling both drought and fires. Their stories inspired and help educate many an admirer across Australia and the world, of the challenging environmental conditions our wildlife face and of the valuable work that WIRES members do.
Winnie and Dolly had the great honor of fulfilling the dream of a visiting Canadian firefighter, stationed at the New England Aviation base in Armidale – who, before leaving to return home to Canada, all he wanted was to see live kangaroos – imagine his delight when two little joeys came to visit him!
When a convoy of more than 90 Irish truckers from Sydney came to Armidale, delivering much needed water to the region’s farmers and firefighters, Winnie and Dolly quietly cheered them on and thanked them for their generosity, leaving many an Irish eye smiling and even a few misty eyed at the wonder of two tiny, brave and resilient creatures.
Winnie and Dolly’s stories continue to unfold and inspire – they have progressed to their next carers who live alongside one of the New England’s National Parks that was devastated by the fires. As the land continues to recover, so too are these beautiful joeys who, when old enough, will be soft released back into the National Park to play an important part of the regeneration of our amazing wildlife population