Normanton- The wallaby lives!
Monday the 26th of August-
We slowly crawled out of bed with the wallaby Sas and started drinking coffee. Still quite tired from a night of little sleep, we were both heartened by the fact that gorgeous Sas was miraculously still alive, hadn’t recognised that Eric and I were not swamped wallabies….and was still hungry for more formula. We both knew that neither of us was experts on marsupials, so we called Taronga Park Zoo to discuss the dietary and other requirements of our little wallaby with a zookeeper.
Our Zoo keeper immediately asked whether we were feeding her lactose-free formula. After consulting the label of our formula can which glaringly read “LACTOGEN”, we realised we were indeed feeding her the wrong stuff.
PROBLEM: HOW TO GET LACTOSE FREE BABY FORMULA ON ONE OF THE MOST DESERTED STRETCHES OF ROAD IN AUSTRALIA ON A SUNDAY!
The other advice offered by Libby Hall (Wildlife Rehabilitation Officer- Taronga Park Zoo, Sydney), was to keep her warm and keep feeding her. We hung up our new mobile satellite phone that was working perfectly, and continued on our journey, stopping in at every local general store, most of them at least 200-300km apart, looking for a marsupial feeding bottle and lactose-free baby formula. Let me tell you that in many of these stores you’d be lucky to find a loaf of bread let alone such bizarre shopping items.
Normanton, a town 150 km from Croydon, with 3 air-conditioned supermarkets –lay ahead like a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. We finally pulled in around midday. Eric ran straight to the centre and found the correct food and we tried to feed Sas. Unfortunately, the long hot drive and lactose rich formula from the night before had made poor Sas take a turn for the worse. She was not quite as animated as before, nor hungry. We nevertheless continued to try to feed her with our little eye-dropper, knowing if she didn’t eat she’d die.