Four kangaroos have been rescued after they were trapped five metres down an abandoned mine shaft in central Victoria.
Manfred Zabinskas, from Five Freedoms Animal Rescue, said the kangaroos were spotted by some hikers on November 22 in the goldfields near Trentham. They found the animals after one had poked its head over the top of the mine shaft.
When they walked across to investigate, the hikers found a joey and its mother, as well as two male kangaroos stuck down the mine.
The large male had apparently been trying to claw and bounce its way up the crumbling five-metre tunnel to try and get out.
"It was an absolute fluke that they saw them and found them," he said.
"We don't know how long they were down there for but they were showing sings that it was at least a couple of days."
Mr Zabinskas said he had come across snakes, echidnas and kangaroos stuck down mine shafts before but had never seen so many animals in the one spot.
After sedating the kangaroos with a syringe on a long pole, Mr Zabinskas abseiled down the mine shaft to lift them out with some bags and ropes.
He said the largest male weighed at least 70kg, making it a tricky rescue.
The kangaroos had various injuries, including scratches, punctures and broken bones.
The mother had to be euthanised because of its injuries, Mr Zabinskas said.
The joey, nicknamed Foxglove after the plant the hikers tried to feed the kangaroos while they were trapped, has since undergone two hours of surgery at Hepburn Wildlife Shelter.
“We had real concerns about her as she was struggling to recover from her wounds,” Mr Zabinskas said. “But her prognosis is encouraging now.”
The smaller male is also in the care of the wildlife shelter but still had a battle ahead, Mr Zabinskas said.
The larger male has been released back into the wild in what Mr Zabinskas said could not have been a more perfect release.
The statewide number for Wildlife Victoria’s Emergency Response Service is 13 000 WILDLIFE (13 000 94 535).