A KANGAROO has been saved from a long and painful death after wildlife rescuers removed a plastic jar stuck on his head on Tuesday afternoon.
A member of the public tracked the kangaroo down this afternoon after seeing social media posts about the animal.
A darter was able to sneak up on the kangaroo in bushland behind Bowles Road in Epsom and land a perfect shot despite windy conditions.
Wildlife rescuer Vicki Fox said the darter made a very difficult job look easy.
"I am just so relieved," the Wildlife Rescue Information Network volunteer said.
"It was definitely dehydrated and underweight but its gums were still nice and pink, so I don't know how long it had the jar on its head."
Darter Ian Slattery said that the kangaroo was probably a few days away from being in serious trouble.
"He was originally sighted three days ago and he would not have had any food or water in that time," he said.
Ms Fox suspected the jar was once used for rabbit or guinea pig food and that it was likely the kangaroo's head had become stuck when he was looking for something to eat.
"The lesson to be learned out of all of this is to please, please put your rubbish in the bin," she said.
Mr Slattery said the overwhelming majority of rescues he was called to were caused by some sort of human intervention.
"We have quite a lot of animals that have barbed wire twisted around their legs, which would have been lying on the ground," he said.
We also get a lot of animals injured in fencing - particularly barbed wire fencing. They often need medical intervention, so it is a real nightmare for the animals."
Mr Slattery was acting on Wildlife Victoria's behalf during the rescue, though he volunteers for a range of groups.
"We are all volunteers with high levels of training, which we pay for ourselves," he said.
The rescue involved four volunteers from three different rescue services, including the Wildlife Rescue Emergency Service.
The kangaroo was released back into the wild a short time ago.
People in the Epsom and White Hills areas are being urged to check their yards for a kangaroo spotted with its head stuck inside what appeared to be a plastic jar.
The animal was last seen on Sunday, when it was photographed by a resident.
Wildlife rescue volunteer Vicki Fox spent Tuesday morning searching an area between Watson, St Killian, Backhaus and Buckland Streets.
She said she had dropped notes in letter boxes urging people to keep an eye out for the kangaroo.
Anyone who saw the animal could contact Wildlife Victoria on 8400 7300, the Wildlife Rescue Information Network on 0419 356 433, or the Wildlife Rescue Emergency Service on 0427 301 401.
"Do not approach it, but keep eyes on it and phone for help," she said.
Ms Fox said the animal was in danger if the plastic remained on its head.
"It's going to either starve or die of dehydration, if it doesn't suffocate first," she said.
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