Moments after a Victorian man was woken by a deafening crash last Monday, he discovered a heartbreaking scene on his doorstep.
At first, everything looked clear outside. But the loud noise Scott Robertson had heard moments earlier was highly unusual for 4.30 am on the streets of Mernda, a small town 26km north of Melbourne. The 47-year-old was determined to investigate.
“It was that loud it sounded like there’d been an accident. I thought he’d hit another car, or he’d run into my front fence, or into the trees,” he told Yahoo News Australia.
Opening an app on his phone, Mr Robertson scanned through the black-and-white footage recorded by his doorbell camera. He immediately began putting the morning's events together.
When the sensor was triggered by movement, the camera captured a light-coloured truck slowly cruising by. Simultaneously, a haggard-looking creature can be seen racing onto his front porch to catch its breath. Mr Robertson’s porch light then turns on, the video switches to colour, and it’s clear we're looking at an injured kangaroo.
“Unfortunately, I didn't actually know the extent of how badly he was hurt. I could see his leg was a little bit bloody but it didn't look that bad,” he said.
It was only once a volunteer rescuer arrived and assessed the scene with the help of a vet the severity of his injuries became clear.
A photo taken once she arrived shows the kangaroo lying up against Mr Robertson’s brick-veneer home. Smears of bright blood contrast against the white-coloured porch tiles. His injuries were too severe for him to survive.
Motorists urged to take responsibility if they hit wildlife
The incident has left Mr Robertson furious with the driver who hit the kangaroo and then drove away, leaving him to clean up his horrifying mess. “He was cut and hurt pretty badly … In the photo you can only see a little bit of the blood. Underneath where my front mat is, there was quite a lot more,” he said.
As a car enthusiast, who regularly attends car shows with his 1973 Holden Torana he built from scratch, Mr Robertson is appealing to other motorists to take better care when driving at night.
He regularly delights in watching the local mob of kangaroos that live on farmland near his home. He often sees them hop across the quiet street in front of his home without incident.
“If I knew the driver I'd go and confront him myself,” he added. “You can see the truck in the footage, but not his (number) plates, unfortunately. He slowed down for a moment. He couldn’t have stopped for more than half and second, and then he just continued on. He (appears to have) had no empathy for (the kangaroo).”
Mr Robertson’s plea for drivers to take responsibility when they hit animals is echoed by the wildlife rescuer who attended to the kangaroo, Kyrsti Severi.
“He was a really sweet little roo. They’re all sweet, but some deaths hit you more than others,” she said. “They don’t deserve this sort of cruelty. (Getting help) means just making a phone call and it doesn't cost them anything.”
Ms Severi said she often hears the words, “It’s just a f***ing kangaroo, what’s one less?” But this attitude often means animals are left to slowly die by the roadside, or if they’re lucky they get treated or humanely euthanised.
“Kangaroos don’t wake up in the morning and think, I can’t deal with life anymore, I’m going to jump in front of a car,” she said. “They don’t understand that road plus car equals death. They don’t understand that; and I think people are more stupid for thinking they should. People can be so selfish.”
In Victoria, VicRoads advises motorists should stop to assist wildlife in a controlled manner when it is safe to do so. If the animal has been hurt Wildlife Victoria can be contacted on (03) 8400 7300.
Donations to support Ms Severi's voluntary wildlife work can be made via Facebook.
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