UPDATE: A startled kangaroo that took to the ocean off Geraldton was found dead yesterday. Fauna for the Future co-owner Darren Darch said the animal was found washed up 450 metres from where he entered the water. “Rangers attended and were making sure he would be buried with dignity,” he said.
A startled kangaroo swam out to sea at Geraldton on Friday, but there’s no trace of its emergence from the water.
Fauna For The Future co-owner Darren Darch received a call from a Geraldton ranger about 2pm, saying several people had reported the kangaroo swimming into the ocean opposite Chapman Road, Beresford.
Despite the efforts of Mr Darch and the Department of Parks and Wildlife Geraldton district staff, only the kangaroo’s tracks leading into the water could be found.
“He’s been hooking it, he’s been moving really fast — the tracks are two and a half to three metres apart in some areas,” Mr Darch said.
“I walked up to Bluff Point and back, I couldn’t see any tracks coming out of the water.”
Mr Darch said the kangaroo may have been trying to escape a dog when it swam into the sea, or that cars may have caused the panic behind the kangaroo’s actions.
The Department of Parks and Wildlife Geraldton district operations officer Nick Detchon confirmed the case.
“There definitely was a roo down there hopping around, and it definitely went out to sea,” he said.
“I don’t know how it got down there. It was most possibly worked its way down through the bushland around the rail corridor.”
Mr Darch said the outlook for the animal was grim.
“It was pretty choppy, with a lot of seaweed in the water that it could have gotten tangled in,” he said.Mr Darch said the animal could have been taken by an undertow and pinned under a reef ledge.
Shark attack was another possible scenario.
“Sharks like murky water, it’s good for hunting, so they likely would have been on the prowl at the time,” he said.
He said this possibility would be exasperated by the kangaroo’s movements in the water, or by bleeding from any injuries sustained.
Kangaroos are adept swimmers, and usually flee to water to escape predators.
Indeed, large kangaroos may lead pursuing dingos into water and drown them by pinning them underwater with their paws.
Mr Darch said it was a “once in a lifetime” case, with rescue methods uncertain but needing to take this danger into account.He said the easiest part would have been tranquilising the animal after bringing it back to shore.