The second of five short films on Australia that I co-produced and hosted for Lonely Planet: Kangaroo Island. How surreal to see these wild animals up close—like a safari park, but without fences, people or cars. Incredible.
Kangaroos and wallabies are nocturnal. So many roam this island, and hop across the road at nighttime, that occasionally one gets hit by a car. But here’s the thing that distinguishes locals as good stewards of nature: custom dictates that the driver get out of the car to check the animal; if it’s a female with a baby ‘roo in the pouch—a joey, they’re called—it’s the drivers responsibility to take the joey home, raise it until it’s too big to live any longer as a pet, then turn it back to the wild.
I had the pleasure of holding one such joey in my arms. It kicked and squirmed and tried to get away, until I began humming “Brahm’s Lullaby” and rocking it like a baby. The ‘roo quieted right down, and even laid its head against my chest, a moment I’ll never forget.