'Extreme' 12-hour rescue after kangaroo's bizarre train track stunt

Wildlife rescuers were called in after Melbourne train drivers spotted the roo in a precarious and strange spot 20 metres above train tracks.

A wildlife rescuer has recalled the most "extreme" mission he has been involved in after a kangaroo was spotted stuck on a tiny ledge 20 metres above Melbourne trains tracks.

After getting calls from a few train drivers, "how the hell did he get there?" and "how are we going to get him down?" were naturally the first thoughts that crossed Andrew Cameron's mind, when he and others from The Wildlife Rescuers got to the scene at South Morang.

"I don't know how you could really put it into words, but holy s**t is probably a good way to do it," the vice president of the not-for-profit organisation told Yahoo News Australia about Wednesday's rescue.

A photo of the kangaroo on the ledge at the McDonalds road overpass in south Morang, Melbourne. A photo of him after being darted, while a train passes below.
The kangaroo was spotted on a small ledge at the McDonalds Road overpass in south Morang, Melbourne on Wednesday morning. Source: Supplied

The team theorised he could've "gone up the retaining wall" which gradually "gets lower as it goes further along".

"He must have got scared by a train and just hopped along the fence line, which has led him to continue going up there — as kangaroos can't just easily turn around — until it's gotten narrower. Then landed on that ledge and realised 'oh I can't go anywhere now'."

How did they rescue the kangaroo?

Given that the animal was in a "very precarious" position, the rescuers required some assistance from SES Whittlesea and Metro Trains, who had to close down the train line. What followed was a very "nerve-racking" 12 hours.

A photo of the Wildlife Rescuers team positioned with a net below at the train tracks, in case the kangaroo wakes up and falls.
The Wildlife Rescuers team held up a net in case the kangaroo jumped or fell. Source: Supplied

The team decided to dart him as he was getting "antsy" watching everyone get into place as they were worried he would jump off the ledge. They were also worried he would get "woozy" from the dart and "prepared for the worst" by being positioned at the train tracks with a net.

"We thought at least we can break part of his fall, but we're not obviously going to be able to break all of it," he said.

Reads 'What on Earth? Australia has the worst record of mammal extinction in the world.' with a collage of Australian animals and landscape.
Discover more of our environment coverage.
A photo of a Wildlife Rescuers volunteer and Metro Trains worker rescuing the kangaroo with a Cherry Picker from the train tracks. A photo of the kangaroo sleeping at an animal shelter in St Andrews, Melbourne.
A Wildlife Rescuers volunteer and Metro Trains worker rescued the kangaroo with a Cherry Picker from the train tracks. Source: Supplied

After "anxiously" waiting until he fell asleep, they had to dart him a few times again in case he woke up and fell, until he could be taken down from the ledge with a cherry picker from the tracks.

Finally at about 1am, he was safely taken down and taken to a shelter at St Andrews at 2am. "I've never done anything this extreme, it's probably one of the hardest rescues I've done, and I've been rescuing for about 10 years," Andrew said. "Whittlesea SES were amazing to work with."

'It was so nice on [Thursday] morning to get the news that he was up and starting to move around and everything."

He also encouraged members of the public to always "call in" if "something doesn't look right".

Do you have a story tip? Email: newsroomau@yahoonews.com.

You can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter and YouTube.