The day I stopped traffic

If you’re nearing the end of your day and you’re thinking, “Oh no, what can I do for today’s good deed??” then why not scan the roads for an animal in need?
I’ve done it before, even if the ‘animal’ is 100% un-rescuable. ie. I have, once, scraped a flattened mouse off the road and given it a little burial in the dirt, with flowers and everything. Just to show a little compassion for the poor thing. But more often, and I guess more helpfully, people can respect other drivers and animals by dragging bigger animals - who have been hit and sadly killed - off the road; 
or they can save a stray dog who is dangerously darting between cars; 
or, probably in the hardest case but most respectful of an animal’s needs, people can spot animals who are suffering from injuries, assess their chances of recovering, and take them to a vet... or kindly put them out of their misery.

My family and I were on our way back from the beach when we spotted a kangaroo laying in the ditch by the road. He seemed to be functioning okay in terms of looking around and holding his head up, but we gathered that he wasn’t just there to chill out while cars at 80kms zoomed by. 

A car had pulled over on the opposite side, and we decided we’d volunteer ourselves for support. My stepdad Andrei, who was driver, U-turned his way back to the spot, and figured out it was a ranger’s car.
The ranger himself was pondering how he would go about saving the animal with all the traffic around, and was actually thrilled that someone had come to assist. He asked whether we would like to drive up a couple of kms ahead and stop the traffic from coming down while he went the other way and stopped it there. Andrei hopped in with the ranger, and Mum took over our wheel.

Tom casually leading a long line of stationary cars

Definitely choosing to get OUT of the car (just in case the next corner-turner was a speed demon with bad brakes), we parked it right in the middle of the lane and waited for traffic to pile up behind.
Drivers were confused at first, and some angry, but Tom did his best to walk up to them and explain. One man listened to Tom before saying, “Well is it going to die?”…?? and impatiently turned out into the next lane and drove off down the road anyway.
While this fuss was going on, I heard two shots.

Cars started appearing ahead of us, and one lady leaned out her window to say something like “They’re finished now, so it shouldn’t be much longer”.
Meanwhile, I asked Mum whether she’d heard the shots, and she replied that no, she hadn’t heard anything.
The ranger drove back to us to drop Andrei off and thank us for our help.
Andrei explained that there was nothing anyone could do to save the poor kangaroo – his back was broken. The ranger had known this before we arrived, but was at odds as to how he could go about waving around a shotgun with cars and civilians about. He hadn’t been able to get the police down there, and I think the other rangers were busy at other areas, so our help really was a godsend.

I was sorry that the kangaroo had to be shot, but better that than it sitting in a ditch and suffering all night before dying.
And really, how selfish of that man to just drive on? I can understand if someone is on their way to hospital, then they are welcome to cut the line and race to their destination – but under regular circumstances, you should just trust that you’re being held up for a reason, and that could be your own safety as well as others’.

So that was my most Australian act on Australia Day – saving a kangaroo.
The rest of the day was bliss. :)  I’ll have to upload some photos on a separate post. 


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